Saransk is an unfortunate town. The smallest city represented in Premier League, and despite the fact that Mordovia is a republic, the city is not important. The importance of sport there was best seen in the first home matches held in Saransk. So it was predictable that no serious foreign players could move there, no matter, with Scherbachenko or with Munteanu.
Despite this, there’s a number of foreigners (here they are called “legioneers”).
Remark: I wouldn’t count midfielder Pavel Stepanets as a foreigner. He’s Ukrainian, but plays in Russia for too long and has a Russian passport.
This is the second in a series on foreigners in the RPL.
Let’s take a look at the foreigners in this relegated (just about eliminated to go down) club. Only those who are currently in the squad count.
15th place: Mordovia Saransk
7 foreigners – more than a quarter of the 25-man team.
Vladimir Bozovic (DEF), 31 years
Former club: Rapid Bucharest (Romania)
As Munteanu became a coach of the republican team, he took just four players to Saransk. Bozovic was the most known of them. 30 international caps, stable place at Rapid, but still, that was a player from Romania, apparently not the best league in the world.
He became a starting player in Mordovia as well, playing 7 matches and receiving 2 yellow and 1 red card. His performance was stunning as well (at least, for Mordovia-like team) and, even though his contract ends in 2015, he could be wanted by other Premier League sides.
Milan Perendija (DEF), 27 years
Former club: Otelul Galati (Romania)
One more man from Romania, which Munteanu knows very well, and, probably, in Romania the Serbian was worth signing. But again, the level of Romanian league compared to Russian is very discussable.
His debut was brilliant though – he took an important part in sensational win 2-0 against Anzhi, scoring his first RPL goal on the 3rd minute. And, as it looks like, being good in defense as well.
He, however, hasn’t become a clear starting eleven player, lately dropping off the squad. His five full matches and a red card will probably give him a reason to stay with the team, even if they’ll get relegated.
Akaki Hubutia (DEF), 27 years
Former club: Gaz Metan Medias (Romania)
There were tons of laughs a his combo (name Akaki is considered funny here, he’s Georgian, and Gaz Metan in Russian means, you’d wonder, the metan gas), and everyone was sure that he’s nothing special.
But that was him who played 9 full matches. Although that was him who screwed up one of the most important games with Volga, provoking a penalty and making a brilliant pass back to the goalkeeper which was re-taken but Artur Sarkisov and became a goal seconds after. Him to blame? A good question. Nevertheless, he was good in some moments. So, it should be better for him to stay as his mentor Munteanu is going to stay and Mordovia will be seeking the way back to PL.
Igor Shitov (Ihar Shitau in national alphabet) (DEF), 26 years
Former club: Dinamo Moscow (Russia)
As Scherbachenko’s side by the time was looking for good defenders, they’ve loaned this former BATE Borisov player. Playing very little time in Silkin’s Dinamo, Shitov was rather happy to try and prove his quality.
His team conceded 43 goals in first 19 matches – one of the best things to say about his job. He, however, was the bright point of it. And kept doing the same in the second part of season. 18 appearances, 3 assists. Due to his loan end, he will get his last chance from Dan Petrescu, I believe.
Tomislav Dujmovic (MID), 32 years
Former club: Dinamo Moscow (Russia, technically)/Real Zaragoza (Spain, practically, on loan)
As the Croatian international took part in an wondering save from relegation at Zaragoza (and probably received a permanent offer), it was hard to imagine such a man in Saransk. He has only agreed on a one-year deal, but was maybe the best signing of Scherbachenko.
Even though Dujmovic was accused of playing fixed matches by his former coach, he was unreplacable and 24 matches is the fourth best result in the whole team – and the best for a foreigner.
His contract ends, and i can’t imagine him in FNL. Sides kind of Volga or Rostov (where he could be welcome by his explorer Miodrag Bozovic) surely will chase him. As he seems to be a good personality too, the man would be welcome anywhere.
Daniel Ionut Oprita (FWD), 31 year
Former club: Petrolul Ploesti (Romania)
I know him as a big talent in FIFA Manager 06. Others know him as a man who hasn’t managed to become a starting 11 palyer in Azerbaijan. Not a top striker, nothing like that. Even at his best time. So, again, there was completely nothing to expect.
Being an another Munteanu acquiration, he scored just two goals in nine matches, but one of those happened to be important – the winning strike into Spartak net.
As his contract ends in June too, his future is unpredictable. He can either stay, go back to Romania or try to become a decent player abroad again.
Dalibor Volas (FWD), 26 years
Former club: Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova)
It didn’t make sense when happened. Signing a player from Moldova, who played for Bonifica (and, yes, i’ve written it right), Koper, Nafta and Maribor in Slovenia and was a high-flyer of amazing Moldovian league, was apparently doubtful. There was again nothing to expect. He was not even young.
And doubts were reasonable. 6 appearances, none in starting 11, and outstanding 81 minutes on the pitch. That’s what you’ve been looking for, Dalibor?
His contract ends in 2014. And he can make an impact in FNL (the division down). I believe he’ll stay. What else?
The conclusion: despite the fact that both Scherbachenko and Munteanu brought a couple of decent foreigners, commonly they have been as unstable as the whole Mordovia. Some of the players, though, could stay with the team – there’s nothing lethal for them to happen.
Author: Pavel Borisov
Born and raised in Nizhny Novgorod, but live in Vancouver most of the time. Supported CSKA as a youngster, lost interest in football, and started supporting Spartak when I found it again. Hate the national team, however it sounds like. More about the surrounding stuff than football itself.