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Ivan Odessa's swift rise

Hailing from the village of Nerubayskoe, Ivan Odessa AMA were only formed in 1998 but are now representing Ukraine in the UEFA Regions' Cup.

Hailing from the village of Nerubayskoe - famous for it's underground catacombs - in the Odessa region, Ivan Odessa AMA were founded in 1998 to take part in the regional cup and league, winning both at the first attempt. They moved on to compete in the Odessa city championship, finishing as runners-up in 2003 and losing in the local cup final.

Upwardly mobile
Moving up to play in Ukraine's national amateur league, the team - comprised mainly of local youngsters and students - did well in their first two seasons before winning the title outright in 2005 to qualify for the UEFA Regions' Cup. They then overcame opposition from Belgium, Slovenia and Liechtenstein to win Group 5 and qualify for the finals in Bulgaria.

Serious coach
Player-coach Serhiy Sukhoruchenko was the man behind Ivan's qualification for the finals but he will be concentrating solely on his playing duties in Bulgaria with well-known Ukrainian coach Aleksandr Golokolosov - who was previously in charge of top-flight teams FC Chornomorets Odesa and FC Zakarpattya Uzhgorod - taking command.

'Good omen'
With some of their top players having turned professional, Ivan have been making changes, but club president Mykhaylo Mykhaylov has nonetheless charged his side to win the tournament. "I am of Bulgarian origin which has to be a good omen," he said. "The guys are traveling to the country of my ancestors and I hope they will give their all not to let their president down."

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