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Blokhin back in charge of Ukraine

Published: Thursday 21 April 2011, 16.19CET
Reappointed Ukraine's national coach, Oleh Blokhin is aiming high with the co-hosts, setting the team a minimum target of group qualification and a maximum one of EURO glory.
Blokhin back in charge of Ukraine
Oleh Blokhin has returned for a second stint in charge of Ukraine ©Oleksandr Zadiraka
 
Published: Thursday 21 April 2011, 16.19CET

Blokhin back in charge of Ukraine

Reappointed Ukraine's national coach, Oleh Blokhin is aiming high with the co-hosts, setting the team a minimum target of group qualification and a maximum one of EURO glory.

Oleh Blokhin will take charge of Ukraine's national team for a second time after being unveiled as the UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts' new coach.

Blokhin, who enjoyed a successful first spell in the post between 2003 and 2007, beat off stiff competition for the role, including prospective candidates Yuriy Kalitvintsev, the caretaker coach, and the man at the helm of the Ukrainian Under-21 side, Pavlo Yakovenko.

The 58-year-old former Ballon d'Or winner, who won 18 from a possible 27 votes in the election held by the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) executive committee, guided Ukraine to the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals – their highest achievement – before stepping down after failing to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008.

"We thank Yuriy Kalitvintsev for his good work and hope Oleh Blokhin can surpass the achievements of his first spell in charge of Ukraine," said FFU president Grygoriy Surkis

"We have limited time and the players need to prove they deserve to play for the national team in every game," said former USSR and FC Dynamo Kyiv forward Blokhin. "Our job is to win the EURO but we should remember that there will be at least ten other very strong contenders. Apart from Brazil and Argentina, the strongest national teams in world football are all in Europe, which is why we should first focus on our basic task of qualifying from the group."

The ex-PAOK FC, AEK Athens FC, Olympiacos FC and FC Moskva coach added: "We have many talented players, but the youngsters often lack consistency at the top level. I think we need a balanced team with a proper mix of young and experienced players."

Blokhin's first assignment will be his side's forthcoming friendly against Uzbekistan in Kiev on 1 June, with France their next opponents at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk five days later.

Last updated: 22/04/11 9.50CET

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