Former head coach of the Armenian national football Vardan Minasyan started working in Kazakhstan as Tobol head coach in spring 2014. After the end of the season, he arrived in Yerevan and spoke about his team, professional growth, return to the national team and friendly relations with national team football players in his exclusive interview to Mediamax Sport.
- You have been living and working in Kazakhstan for already half a year. What has changed in your life over this period?
- Before working and living in a foreign country, one should understand the mindset of locals to communicate and work with them more easily. In terms of work, it was huge experience for me. The club football allows working on a daily basis and I feel many changes took place. I also sense changes in professional growth as well.
- Are you happy with the results of Tobol?
- I am pragmatic and try to assess the situation and opportunities realistically. The team’s result is in line with its potential in terms of the budget and players’ choice. Though we could be among the top 6, many players got injuries all at once which didn’t let us manage it.
- Leaving the national team, you said that you would like to try your hand at club football. Do you like the work?
- I needed work on a daily basis that’s why I left the national team. I should have started from something and I should confess my choice was right. When you work every day you have time for correcting errors and seeking for right solutions. Also, you can try novelties.
- How did you manage to settle in Kazakhstan and start working?
- Of course, it’s hard to live far away from the family, friends, hometown, but it’s my job, my chosen path and I don’t have a reason to complain about it. To get accustomed to anything, one should first of all respect the traditions of the country he lives in and where people treat him well. One should accept some things. Though there is this notion of national mindset, football has a single language and there is one answer to all the questions.
- What are the similarities and differences in organization and management of football in Armenia and Kazakhstan?
- In terms of finances, there are more opportunities in Kazakhstan: one can invite good players and coaches from abroad. The local specialists have also considerably grown. The level of the national championship in Kazakhstan is higher than in Armenia. The football clubs manage to pass several rounds in the Champions’ League and Europe League. At the same time, Armenia is in more advantageous position as far as infrastructures are concerned. We have football academies meeting European standards which Kazakhstan doesn’t have yet.
- You have a valid contract with Tobol. We would like to know if you had received invitations from other clubs.
- My contract is valid till November 2015. There are teams which take interest in me, I even got two offers. But as of now, I don’t even consider them as I am focused on working in Tobol.
- We can’t pass by the topic of the Armenian national team. You have been holding the post of the head coach of the team longer than anyone else and perhaps, you keep track of how our guys play. What could you say about the current qualifying round?
- I can say the football the team plays is very disciplined and organized. It has huge potential. There were just many injuries at the period, and there are players who don’t have much practice on the field. If all these issues are settled they will have more chances to pass to Euro 2016.
- When we interviewed you a year ago, you said you already missed the national team. What will you say now when quite a long period of time has passed? Do you miss the football players and fans of the national team?
- If one spends his best years - and I think for me it was the period when I worked with the national team - the answer is obvious: of course, I do miss. I should be honest: the results of the work in the team allowed me to get the current status and work. I am thankful to everyone and keep in touch with the guys. I can’t forget the wonderful days we spent together.
- The fans want to see you the head coach of the national team up to now. Is it possible for you to return to the national team one day?
- Everything is possible. One always wants to go back to the place he was once happy and successful. But currently I have a valid contract and I train my team with pleasure.
- What are your plans for near future?
- I will spend the upcoming month in Armenia and then Tobol will begin the trainings before Kazakhstan championship. We will try to strengthen the team as much as possible not to face the same problems we had this year.
Hasmik Babayan and Gohar Nalbandyan talked to Vardan Minasyan.
Photos by Mariam Loretsyan.