UEFA Youth League Preview: Krasnodar U19 – Real Madrid U19

Krasnodar’s UEFA Youth League game against Real Madrid this Wednesday is of huge importance for the club from southern Russia. Obviously, winning this game is necessary in order to move on to the quarterfinals of the tournament. However, this game holds a significance beyond the scope of this competition. Krasnodar is a club founded on the idea of building a world-class youth academy and getting youth team players to the first team. This project is still in its early phases. In fact, the club … [Read more...]

Where are they now? Russia’s U17 European Champions

11 years ago, in the summer of 2006, the Russian U17 national team took over Europe in a storm as it won the European Championship. The players were born in in 1989, meaning they are 28 now, and should all be established professionals. This is certainly the case with many of the other participants from the tournament such as Axel Witsel and Toby Alderweireld from Belgium, Toni Kroos from Germany, Miralem Pjanic from Luxembourg (who now plays for Bosnia & Herzegovina), Stevan Jovetic from … [Read more...]

Krasnodar Academy and the Russian Youth Cup

Russia’s annual U18 tournament is undoubtedly the most intriguing and important youth tournament in the country. Each year, regional playoffs take place throughout the country in order to select the top 16 teams, which then play in the national tournament. The prestige of winning a national tournament aside, this competition is significant in one special way: as Russia’s domestic champion, the winner gets the right to play in the UEFA Youth Champion’s League, and the opportunity to play against … [Read more...]

Editorial: Structural Problems are the Reasons for Russia’s Early Exit

Three games, one victory and a quick exit. That was the result of Russia’s first major tournament on home soil, the Confederations Cup. The quick exit naturally let to discussions about who was to blame for the failure of once again not making it out the group stage, but head coach of Sbornaya, Stanislav Cherchesov, was quick to end these discussions. “This is my mistake,” he said in the press conference after the final game against Mexico, which was lost 2-1, and continued: “I will take it upon … [Read more...]

Khodzhaniyazov Is Out In the Danish Cold

For several years Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov was considered one of Russia’s most promising defenders. In 2013, at the age of 17, he made his debut for Zenit St. Petersburg, and two years later he helped the Russian U19 national team reach the Euro final, which they eventually lost to Spain. However, despite the early promises he never broke through in the Russian Football Premier League, and in 2015, he moved to Danish Superliga side AGF on a three-year-contract. There, he became part of a … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Abdoul Gafar

Biography Name: Abdoul Gafar Sirima (Gafar) DOB/Age: 30/12/1998 - 18 years old Club: Baltika Kaliningrad Positions: Striker Nationality: Burkina Faso Career to Date A common trend nowadays in Russia is for young players from Africa to appear on trial. Spartak and CSKA Moscow have taken a number of Nigerians and Ghanaians in 2016, though none were signed, while Tom Tomsk took two Libyans on trial. So, when CSKA revealed they had a triallist simply named “Jafar”, it was no real surprise. … [Read more...]

Denis Davydov: The Russian Messi, or just another False Dawn?

Denis Davydov made his debut for Spartak almost four years ago at the tender age of eighteen after a string of impressive performances for Yevgeni Bushmanov's Spartak-2 side. However, whether operating in his preferred position as a centre-forward or on the wing for the first team, the Moscow-born striker has not managed to live up to his early hype, and the "Russian Messi" tag attributed to him by Spartak Moscow owner Leonid Fedun has slowly diminished. Prior to this season, fans of Spartak … [Read more...]