Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League, Part Two: The Universal Solution

The Football National League is the biggest football league in the world according to geographic area, covering over 4,500 miles as-the-crow-flies and even crosses eight time zones. Due to the size of the league and other problems synonymous with Russian football such as fiscal instability, political corruption and systemic mismanagement, many clubs - as previously explored - do not face a race to thrive, but a battle to survive. READ PART ONE: Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football … [Read more...]

Zinchenko’s Italian Renaissance?

Reports in both England and Italy have emerged over the weekend that ex-FC Ufa star Oleksandr Zinchenko is close to joining SSC Napoli. Rumours of the switch were first broken last week by ESPN and La Gazzetta dello Sport but the financial aspects of the deal have now been leaked. It is rumoured to be a full season loan for a reported fee of €500,000 which will become a permanent €6 million deal if he makes 25 appearances of 45 minutes or more. Zinchenko was Guardiola's fourth Manchester City … [Read more...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ufa

Last season, FC Ufa achieved the highest league finish in the club’s history, as they surprised everyone to finish 7th place. A club with modest resources and a small squad, excellent management from two top young coaches, Viktor Goncharenko and Sergey Semak was key to their achievement. Operating with a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1, they were often a thorn in the side of the larger teams, using their excellent defensive co-oridination and lightning quick counter attacks, spearheaded by Kehinde Fatai, to … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 3

Terek Grozny Terek had perhaps one of the quietest windows in the whole league. However, they did some business, and the first move raised eyebrows everywhere, as they struck early to sign Kosovan winger Bernard Berisha from Anzhi. While it was thought he would be leaving Anzhi in the window, many, including us at RFN, think very highly of Berisha, and to see Terek seal his signing was a huge shock, as a move to one of the larger sides would not have been a surprise considering his clear … [Read more...]

Sergey Semak and the Bashkortostan Challenge

Going into the winter break in 8th place in the RFPL, just three points behind Terek Grozny in 4th, FC Ufa could be very satisfied with the first half of the season. The team from Bashkortostan managed to defeat both Spartak and Lokomotiv in Moscow, while also holding Zenit St. Petersburg to a 0-0 draw at the beginning of the season, and they are no longer the pushovers we have seen in the previous two seasons, where they finished just above the relegation line. A fact that becomes even more … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: FC Ufa

Introduction After claiming their RFPL status on the final day of last season with a win against Spartak Moscow, Ufa went into this season with a new manager, young Belarussian Viktor Goncharenko. They had also lost bright talent Oleksandr Zinchenko to Manchester City, and the money from that did allow for some re-investment in the squad. After a dodgy start, it looked as though the new adjustments to the squad were not going to help too much, however a run of games against the top 6 clubs … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Igor Bezdenezhnykh

Biography Name: Igor Bezdenezhnykh DOB/Age: 08/08/1996 – 20 years old Club: FC Ufa Position: Central midfield Nationality: Russia Career so far Igor Bezdenezhnykh has spent his entire career in his home city of Ufa, graduating through several youth teams before joining his cities biggest club, FC Ufa. As a 17 year old, Bezdenezhnykh made Ufa’s match day squad numerous times in their promotion season from the FNL, although he failed to make an appearance. His reward for impressive … [Read more...]

The Evolution of the 5 Man Defence in Russian Football

One of the most common opinions about the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) – rightly or wrongly – is that the style of football and tactical approach applied to the games is somewhat straggling behind the rest of Europe. Common observations from pundits and football fans alike include that the RFPL is one dimensional, the football in Russia is slow, the football is old fashioned and the players are thugs. Many of these opinions will be drawn from the showing of Russian clubs in European … [Read more...]

The Return of Emmanuel Frimpong

Before the international break Russian football welcomed back one of its more colourful characters as Emmanuel Frimpong made his debut for Arsenal Tula in the closing stages of their 1-1 draw away to Ural. Although his late cameo was brief as the predominantly direct style mostly bypassed him, he wasted no time in making headlines upon his return to the Russian Premier League, although thankfully this time is was not at the centre of a disgusting case of racist chanting from opposition … [Read more...]