Vitebsk used to victories

WFC Univetsitet Vitebsk have only existed since 1995 but since reaching the Belarussian top flight a decade later have dominated the league.

With the second qualifying round of the UEFA Women's Cup starting next month, uefa.com is taking a detailed look at each of the 16 clubs looking to progress to the quarter-finals and beyond. Today, Belarussian champions WFC Univetsitet Vitebsk.

WFC Univetsitet Vitebsk have only existed since 1995 but since reaching the Belarussian top flight a decade later have dominated domestic football in their nation. As their name suggests, the team is based in one of Belarussia's leading universities, and indeed most of the players are students there. The city of Vitebsk itself has a fine sporting tradition and has produced many Olympic medalists, including three in the 2004 games in Athens.

Swift rise
The women's football team worked their way up the national ranks until in 2003 they won promotion to the top division in Belarus. In their very first season at the highest level they ended the long reign of champions FC Bobruichanka and made their UEFA Women's Cup debut, finishing second in their first qualifying round group behind AC Sparta Praha. They were then in the midst of defending their league title in 2005, and indeed completing the domestic double by winning the Belarussian Women's Cup. This August they went one better in Europe by topping first qualifying round Group 5 with a match to spare to progress to a pool including holders 1. FFC Frankfurt, though they took just one point against HJK Helsinki. Still, having retained their domestic title they sailed past the 2007/08 first qualifying round with three wins and scoring 12 goals without reply.

Teamwork
Vitebsk are coached by 43-year-old Viktar Navumau, a former player with FC Lokomotiv Vitebsk and FC Dnepr Mogilev who scored 34 goals in 136 top-flight matches before retiring in 1997. Two years later he became Lokomotiv coach before taking over the Vitebsk female team in 2001 and masterminding their rise. "Our football is based on collective effort and on flawless defending," he explains.

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