Russian Premier-Liga side FC Amkar Perm have signed Belarus Under-21 captain Mikhail Afanasiev on a four-year contract from FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk.
The 21-year-old midfielder scored five goals in 25 games in Belarus's top flight last term and will be expected to make his mark with Amkar. His new side kick off the Russian season at FC Khimki on 15 March. Afanasiev has also caught the eye with the Belarus U21s, whom he leads in both appearances, 31, and goals, ten. Belarus are first in qualifying Group 8 for the 2009 UEFA European U21 Championship. They will confirm their place in the play-offs should they win their final match, in Latvia on 10 September.
Afanasiev and company drew 1-1 with Russia in a friendly on Wednesday, leaving coach Yuri Kurnenin satisfied. "I was happy with the game and with our training camp in Turkey," he said. "We did the necessary technical and tactical work, trying out defending and attacking systems. We will continue to prepare for the Latvia game in our next match, a friendly against Lithuania on 25 March."
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