Oleh Blokhin has returned to the club where he made his name, FC Dynamo Kyiv, after being appointed as their new coach but will remain in charge of Ukraine for next month’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Montenegro.
Kyiv-born Blokhin, 59, has signed a four-year contract to replace Yuri Semin, who was dismissed along with his coaching team on Monday following a 4-1 Ukrainian Cup exit to FC Shakhtar Donetsk. According to Dynamo's agreement with the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), Blokhin will only give up his national team role after facing Moldova on 12 October and Montenegro four days later, having drawn their opening Group H qualifier 1-1 in England.
"Last night I had almost no sleep," said Blokhin, who will be assisted by Oleksiy Mykhailychenko, previously the club's sporting director, Serhiy Rebrov and Andrei Bal. "Dynamo's president gave me quite a late call, and I had to think about everything. This is a huge responsibility. I know what is to work with the club. It's not a national team, you have to be at the training base every day, sometimes even for 24 hours, trying to return Dynamo to their former glory."
Dynamo, who lost their UEFA Champions League Group A opener 4-1 at Paris Saint-Germain FC last week, welcome GNK Dinamo Zagreb on 3 October and lie third in the Ukrainian Premier League, six points behind Shakhtar. They last won the national title in 2008/09.
Blokhin, who starred as a striker at Dynamo in the 1970s and 1980s, said: "We have tough matches ahead of us: against Zorya Luhansk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Metalist Kharkiv in the league, as well as home tie versus Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League. The team has to wake up. We can't just suffer one 4-1 defeat after another – it's too much for our club."
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