Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko has been appointed coach of Ukraine, replacing his former team-mate Oleh Blokhin on a contract until after the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the option of another two years.
Mykhaylychenko steps up from his role as the country's Under-21 coach following Blokhin's decision to resign last month. The 44-year-old was a success in his previous position, steering a talented crop of players to the final of the 2006 UEFA European U21 Championship in Portugal. He will work again with the likes of Artem Milevskiy, Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Andriy Pyatov in World Cup qualifying.
"I was very flattered to get such an offer," Mykhaylychenko said. "I accept it together with the responsibility that comes with being Ukraine coach. Our ultimate task is to qualify for the World Cup and we will do our best to achieve that as well as preparing for the UEFA EURO 2012™ finals that Ukraine will host with Poland." Blokhin ended his four-year reign in December, having led Ukraine to the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup, on their first appearance at a major tournament, before failing to reach UEFA EURO 2008™.
Having enjoyed a fine playing career with FC Dynamo Kyiv, UC Sampdoria and Rangers FC, Mykhaylychenko began coaching under Dynamo great Valeriy Lobanovskiy in 1997, remaining his assistant for five years. He took temporary charge following the master's death before assuming full control going into the 2002/03 campaign. Mykhaylychenko guided Dynamo to two league titles and the 2003 Ukrainian Cup but was sacked in August 2004. As a player, he also won the 1988 Olympic football gold with the USSR, having earlier played in the EURO '88 final. Ukraine meet Croatia, England, Belarus, Andorra and Kazakhstan in 2010 qualifying Group 6. The fixture schedule will be decided at a meeting in Zagreb on Monday.
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