Eduard Malofeev has resigned as Belarus coach after a run of five defeats in six UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying games.
Malofeev stepped down today after the Belarus Football Federation (BFF) finally agreed to his request to be released from his contract. The Russian-born coach had handed in his resignation last Monday, five days after Belarus lost 5-0 in Austria in a EURO 2004™ Group 3 qualifier on 11 June.
Dereliction of duty
That result ended the country's hopes of reaching next summer's finals, and according to a BFF official, Malofeev felt he had "failed to carry out his duty". Before the qualifying campaign began, the 61-year-old former FC Dinamo Minsk and Soviet national team coach had targeted a place in Portugal.
Belarus team manager Leonid Garay had little sympathy for the outgoing trainer, however, when he said: "It is difficult to explain what went on in the game against Austria. But while the players played below themselves, I am not going to take responsibility away from the coaching staff. When the results don't come, they must take the responsibility." Malofeev had been in charge since replacing Sergey Borovski at the start of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The BFF will announce either a short list of candidates, or the identity of Malofeev's successor, on 15 July. The new coach will lead the team in their final two qualifiers - at home against the Czech Republic on 6 September, and away to Moldova four days later.
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