Kharkiv “locomotive” is considered the most successful men’s volleyball club in Ukraine. Over the years of our independence, Kharkiv 17 time Champions of the country, four have won silver medal and 1 time bronze. 13 times “the locomotive” has won the Cup of Ukraine. Unfortunately, in recent years the Kharkiv club is experiencing serious difficulties, primarily in the financial plan. This led to the fact that the railroad even had one down year in the big leagues. However, before last season, Metalist returned to the Superleague, as the team’s head coach was her Libero perennial winner of the European top teams Cup master of sports of international class Sergey Kisel, who, incidentally, finished his playing career at the age of 43 years in the other of the Kharkov club “Yurakademiya”.
– Sergey Viktorovich, let’s go back to the offseason. When You received an offer to lead the “locomotive” and who was its initiator?
– Talk about how to become a coach of the Kharkov “Locomotive”, I had with the club President Eugene V. Shcherbina in spring 2019. And, despite the fact that not clear was the issue of funding, I immediately agreed. After all, this team, for me, is always considered to be native, here I was doing really the first steps in the big volleyball and that it has achieved its most brilliant victories. So it is always ready to help your club in any way I can and consider it an honor to be the head coach of the team.
– How did you prepare for the season? As I recall, you then gathered a fairly strong team and Lokomotiv even had the intention to play in one of the European tournaments?
– Yes, You are right, the intention to perform in Europe we really were, but they, alas, remained unfulfilled. As for composition, his equipment took place with my participation and first charges was approached by a lot of experienced and young guys, many of whom are our alumni. If we were able to save them, I am sure that could easily compete for the top spots. However, towards the beginning of the championship, it became clear that the anticipated financing of the club will not, and the boys began to look for other clubs to have a decent wage and support their families. Therefore, of those with whom we started to work, have only experienced the outside hitter Evgeny Kapaev, binder Dmitry Kozlovsky and middle blocker Denis Walecki. Together with Cyril Bogdan, Vladimir Starikovym and leased from Vinnitsa diagonal Evgeny Politico and Libero Artem Antonenko they made up the backbone of the team in the season. However, even in such a combination we have not managed to finish the championship, as during the season Kozlovsky and Antonenko left our group. As for the other players that, basically, it was either quite young volleyball players, the recent juniors (Artem Troyanovsky, Alexander Novokhatski, Stanislav Zalisko, Maxim Donets, Boris Yakovlev, Daniel Pashchenko), or players who in a very short time appeared in the team in anticipation of new contracts Nevadomski Stanislav, Pavel Lyashenko and others.
– How difficult was it to lead players, when continuously held such change in the composition?
To be honest, it is very difficult. Because of the constant changes we have even in training sometimes did not get enough number of players, not to mention the trips to the matches in other cities. Besides, some guys still played for our youth team in the first division, headed by Anatoly Valeryevich Janosik. So, we have my assistant Igor Komissarov by Zyablitseva essentially there have been ample opportunities to rotate in Cup matches using replacement to enhance the game. Of course, we tried to change something and released to the Playground very young children, but in their actions there was clearly no stability. And if to it to add more diseases and injuries of some players, it is about reliable interchangeability can not speak. Because of this we lost a lot of points. But, on the other hand, young players tried very hard, gained experience and I am grateful to the whole team for what we managed in the end to gain a foothold in 6th place. I think that in this situation, this place was acceptable to us.
– I should note that the “Locomotive” very good turned out to start the matches. You are just in a bitter struggle lost “Barcomb-Kazani”, and then twice won the “Petrel-shvsm” managed to win in the winery over the club “the Heart of Podillia”. Did you feel at the moment that could aim for more?
I really looked at the situation. The matches You mentioned, we had fairly good because, first, we have had some players who were preparing us for the season and then left, and, second, not all contenders have received the required form. Then we began to have serious problems with the squad selection for the upcoming game, which was reflected in the results, and the position of teams in the standings.
Given this situation, what tasks were set before the team in the championship?
– Some specific tasks before us was not raised. Our leadership understood that in such a situation it will be difficult to fight for a place in the best four. Therefore, it was important to score points, especially with those teams that were about the same level with us. Basically, with this we did several times and even took points in games with some of the leaders of the championship. In particular, managed once to win with the Vinnitsa club “the Heart of Podillia” away, which You mentioned earlier, and “MHP Vinnitsa” in Kharkov. By the way, if we are talking about home games, I especially want to thank our fans who have always tried to support the team when we played at the sports complex “locomotive”. Their support helped us a lot. We felt when we played the final two matches of the 14th round without spectators.
– How did You react to the decision of Federation of volleyball of Ukraine about the fact that the championship is stopped and will not be finished?
– I think this is the right decision. I can only imagine what would we be doing right now in quarantine and how to be prepared for the coming games, if the League break was delayed. After all, even today we do not know when it will end the quarantine and when to resume training.
– The team is already on vacation?
– Yes, we are all children sent home, giving them homework on how to keep in shape. Wait for the end of quarantine to determine the timing of preparation for the new season.
– I hope that Kharkiv “locomotive” is again able to be on top of the tournament table of the Ukrainian Superleague?
Not only hope, but I will try to do everything possible so that the club with such a rich history has returned to the top. I am sure that there are certainly people who will help Lokomotiv to solve the existing financial issues. And the players will not be – Kharkiv volleyball players have often proved it. And now, almost every super League team can meet the students of our school. So, sure, the fans of the Kharkov “Locomotive” there will be opportunities to enjoy his new honours.
Interviewed by Igor ZARZYCKI