Together with Evgeny Kaleshin in early September, his permanent assistants Shalva Kerashvili and Mikhail Semyonov moved to Akron – we are getting to know the specialists better.
The first to tell his football story is Shalva Givievich, who has been working in Togliatti for a long time.
– Tell us about how you connected your life with football.
– My father Givi Kerashvili is a football player. He played at a high level in Spartak from Ordzhonikidze (note – now Vladikavkaz), then he was a coach at a children’s school, worked at Avtodor, which he then brought to the first league. I didn’t have much choice. My father played football all his life and took me everywhere with him. I studied at the football school “Youth” in Vladikavkaz. At the age of 17, he got into Avtodor, then moved to another club of the second league – Iriston. A small stage of my career was spent in Spartak Anapa, where I got a knee injury and returned home to recover. I ended up at Avtodor again for a while, but then my father and I sat down and decided that there were no great prospects playing in the second league. So I had to end my playing career.
– You are from North Ossetia. Is that emotionality and to some extent football adventurism inherent in your mentality?
– I am friends with Spartak Gogniev, if you mean him. We played with him on the same team. Spartak built and raised Alania from the second league with players that no one knew before. They progressed under Gogniev due to attacking football, the coach instilled confidence in the guys. For the progress of any team you need to play attacking football. I think Alania will continue to play in the same vein. Now I watch a lot of their games, Zaur Tedeev also does a good job. In Vladikavkaz, they have always played, are playing and will continue to play bold and aggressive football.
– The start of your coaching career is closely intertwined with the Konoplev Academy. How did it happen, how long and with whom did you work there? What did that experience give you?
– I loved football very much, and my father advised me to try my hand at coaching. At that time, the director of Yunost was Nodar Papelishvili, a famous football player who used to play with my father. I was given the opportunity to recruit a team born in 1994 – many players played at a good level (David Khubaev, Igor Khaimanov, Rustam Sosranov, Aslanbek Sikoev, David Karaev, Batradz Kokoev). I worked at this school for six years – paired with Igor Osinkin, who had a huge influence on me. I learned a lot from him. The team gathered well, we won various tournaments, took first place in the southern zone of the Russian Cup, which allowed us to play in the final tournament. The guys took second place in Russia, however, already without me. After that, seven players of my team were invited to the Konoplev Academy: Vitaly Gudiev, Alan Khabalov, Dmitry Korobov, Zaurbek Olisaev, the Kalmanov brothers Aslan and Soslan, David Mildzikhov.
One of the tournaments was held in Sochi, after which Igor Vitalievich, who at that time was already working in Tolyatti, called me and offered to move to the Konoplev Academy. For me, this was a big step and an opportunity for further progress. Of course, I accepted this offer and so ended up at that time in the best academy in the country. Out of 4.5 years of work in Togliatti, he helped Igor Osinkin in a professional team for four seasons. Incredibly useful time, many interesting coaches, each of whom could emphasize something: these are Igor Osinkin, and Vladimir Shcherbak, and Mikhail Semernya, and Stanislav Korotaev, and Denis Malkov, and Igor Rodkin, and Alexey Antonyuk, and Sergey Zagidullin – you can’t count everyone. I am also grateful to the Academy for the fact that coaches were constantly sent for training to improve their qualifications, and they organized internships abroad. There are many good things to say about this time.
– Did Akron’s entry into the structure of the Konoplev Academy play any role in choosing the option to continue your coaching career?
– Perhaps it’s better to look at everything as a whole. This is a very big step for the team and, of course, for the Academy. If a system is built there, if the coaches are allowed to work correctly and systematically, without focusing on the result, they will support them, then after some time very interesting players will appear in the main team.
– Last weekend you visited the Academy for the first time since that time?
– It has been 10 years since the last time I was at the Academy. We visited the UFL-1 game with the coaching staff. The sensations were very pleasant. Of course, there are few coaches and workers left from those times, but I was glad to see everyone who caught the school’s heyday.
– What impression did the game of the team born in 2005 leave on you?авила игра команды 2005 г.р.?
– I liked the game. Our guys looked better than Spartak. I was surprised, because before Spartak always kept a very high level, but this time our guys played nicer.
– How did your career develop after the closure of the professional team of the Academy in 2013? How and under what circumstances did you meet Yevgeny Kaleshin, with whom you then went shoulder to shoulder together?
– It so happened that Valery Gazzaev invited me to return to Alania – to the youth team. As a boy in Vladikavkaz, everyone dreams of playing in Alania. Even working in the structure of this club was an event for me. Well, I wanted to go home to my family. Stage in “Alania” did not last long. Then Igor Osinkin and I moved to the youth team of Kuban, where I went through all the stages: I captured both a small segment in the Premier League and the First League. It so happened that Evgeny Igorevich was supposed to lead the second team – Kuban-2. Igor Osinkin left Krasnodar, I could not leave my family, and at that moment Evgeny Kaleshin offered me to become his assistant. Kuban-2, the main team in the first league, half a year in Harvest, three years in Baltika, half a year in Tver and now Akron – a long stretch, but the time flew by quickly.
– Tell us a story that vividly characterizes Evgeny Igorevich?
– You can remember and talk a lot. I was lucky to help such coaches (note – Osinkin and Kaleshin). I have never seen more fanatical specialists in my life. Football 24/7, super professional, very high quality coach.
– Describe Yevgeny Kaleshin in three words?
– Fair, passionate about his work and very demanding.
– You have been working at Akron for a month already: how would you rate the unbeaten streak, the level of acceptance by the players of the new requirements and the process of changing the pattern of the game?
– Эту серию можно оценивать как положительно, так и отрицательно. Конечно, хотелось – This series can be assessed both positively and negatively. Of course, we would like to win more. And we could do it – there were moments. But here, I think psychology plays a big role. At the beginning of the season, the team didn’t go the way they wanted, they were at the bottom of the standings – it’s psychologically difficult for the guys. Now we want to protect our goal more. It seems to me that we do not have enough freedom and courage ahead, so that we can attack and sharpen more boldly. Perhaps a large number of draws are connected with this.
In the course of the season, it is more difficult to change something in the organization of the game – we need training camps. But we decided to immediately change the style and add one more player to the attack. Of course, I would like everything to turn out faster, but it takes time for the guys to accept all the requirements. It is always more difficult to build an attacking game.
– What range of responsibilities are assigned to you in the coaching staff?
– I take part in all processes, like other colleagues. We must always be close to Evgeny Igorevich, help in compiling exercises for training sessions, in preparation for the opponent. If we talk directly about the training itself, then, probably, together with Evgeny Igorevich, I am more responsible for working with the attacking group. During the game, we watch the game moments online and already during the break we show the guys where and how to play correctly, what to fix and improve.
– What do you, first of all, pay attention to as a coach of a professional team – regarding the player’s actions on the field, his compliance with your principles?
– I look more at attacking actions. I like the game to be properly built. Sometimes there are situations when a defender can give a pass to a midfielder, but he gives a cross, although he can play forward. If the midfielder can give a penetrating pass, but gives it across, we slow down the attack. It hooks me. I would like us to develop attacks correctly and make more sharpening passes in the final third.
– Do you have free time and how do you spend it?
– I don’t have any hobbies. If possible, I watch football on TV or download matches. To switch, I can go for a walk. When I am at home, of course, I am busy with family affairs. My wife and three children remained in Krasnodar. Now it’s a little more difficult without them.
– The coach with whom you worked side by side for a long time now heads the Wings of the Soviets. The interaction between the headquarters of Akron and Wings is now closer, because you work in the same region?
– I am always in touch with Igor Vitalievich. It is clear that now I do not distract him much, he is very busy. We always call Mikhail Ivanovich Semernya. I worry and root for their headquarters. Arsen Papikyan also works there, with whom I also had a chance to work. I wish them good luck.