Sunday, 7 October 2012
Ukraine ‘Shocked’ By Blokhin Resignation
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s football supremo expressed shock over the resignation of Oleh Blokhin as national manager but said agreement had been reached for him to take charge of the squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers. Dynamo Kiev last week appointed the former Soviet striker as their coach, ending his tenure at the national team which he oversaw during their campaign at Euro 2012 that Ukraine co-hosted this summer. “The news that Oleh Blokhin was taking over at Dynamo Kiev and leaving the national team was unexpected and shocked us,” Ukraine’s football federation president Anatoliy Konkov told reporters. “All our efforts were aimed at creating the best conditions for the national side. And this development surprised and upset us.” Konkov said he had agreed with the manager that Blokhin would take charge of Ukraine in their next World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Montenegro in October and it was premature to talk about a successor. The departure of Blokhin is a major headache for Ukraine as it contends with a tricky World Cup group that also includes England and Poland. The squad also no longer has talismanic striker Andriy Shevchenko who has hung up his boots to work in politics. The circumstances around Blokhin’s resignation appear chaotic, with Konkov insisting he had still not officially resigned. “He wrote down his resignation statement. But it was written down in the wrong format. “This means de-facto that there is no resignation statement today and Oleg Blokhin is still the national team coach,” he said. Blokhin himself confirmed that he would take charge of the Moldova and Montenegro matches and had already announced his 22-man squad for the games. The 59-year-old -the 1975 European footballer of the year – has agreed a four year contract with Dynamo to replace Yury Semin who was dismissed on Monday. Blokhin – who played in two World Cups – was in his second spell as Ukraine coach having guided them to the 2006 World Cup finals before returning for this year’s Euro finals. Although they went out in the first round of Euro 2012, Ukraine had made a solid start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, drawing 1-1 away with England at Wembley.