The scourge of FC Kairat Almaty seven seasons ago, Vladimír Weiss has caused a stir by returning to take charge of a club he feels are "at the beginning of a great journey".
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FC Kairat Almaty's appointment of Vladimír Weiss has grabbed the attention of Kazakh football – never before has such a renowned coach plied his trade in the country.
Weiss is the first trainer to take the helm of a club in Kazakhstan having previously been in charge of a national team. The former Slovakia coach led his own nation to unprecedented success when steering them to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but failed to secure their qualification for UEFA EURO 2012 and subsequently left the post.
Turning the clock further back, Weiss guided FC Artmedia Petržalka to the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage – a feat the Kairat hierarchy are hoping he can emulate in the next three years. "I've chosen Kairat as it is a new challenge for me," Weiss, 48, told UEFA.com. "I had offers from Russia, Poland and Asia. I had an option to take charge of FC Mordovia Saransk but it wasn't of interest to me. Working in Russia would be too similar to what I've done before.
"Kairat, on the other hand, are at the beginning of a great journey. I don't mean any disrespect to other Kazakhstani clubs, but internationally there is only one club that is well known and that is Kairat." Having failed to win the domestic title since 2004, Kairat have gone through six coaches in under three years. "It is bad when there is no consistency," continued Weiss, whose predecessor, Spaniard José Pérez Serer, lasted less than six months in Almaty. "But from what I've understood there were reasons to take those decisions. The fact I am here, means I am not worried about it. I was offered a five-year contract but decided three years is enough to start with."
Weiss had previous first-hand knowledge of Kairat, whom his Petržalka side eliminated in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round en route to that group stage appearance seven seasons ago. "I will always remember those battles against Kairat," said the manager. "We lost the first match 2-0 and the return fixture went to extra time [Petržalka eventually winning it 4-1]. It was an extremely nervous time.
"The upcoming season is important in terms of building a new team. We need a good basis of players who will compete with other top Kazakh clubs. We need to work hard every day to achieve what we want. If everything works like it should then we will achieve our goals."