Tigran Mkrtchyan, head of the FDC "Vista" project, gave an interview to our club's official website.
- Tigran Samvelovich, the first question is related to the most recent news from the club. The departure of the head coach to the Danish football club "Fremad Amager". Artur Hovhannisyan has been working at FDC "Vista" since the opening of the project two and a half years ago. How would you assess this period of work?
- Firstly, I would like to express my joy that not only the players, but also the staff are leaving our club for promotion to Europe. In particular, we are talking about our head coach now. And secondly, of course, I express my enormous gratitude to Artur Araevich for the tremendous job he has done since the opening of our academy. From the first day we took on a big job. He was directly involved in the selection work, we selected staff, personnel, coaching staff together. During those two and a half years, the project has made great progress, as a lot of players have left us for both European clubs and Russian ones. They have reached the professional level. Therefore, the evaluation of this period is only positive. And this is confirmed not only by verbal statements, but also by concrete facts. Our team trained players who have already managed to break into big clubs. For example, Samson Tijani, who moved to RB "Salzburg" in Austria. Another player is Sanusi who plays for Montreal in "MLS". We also had Aglassime Ba, now at "Olympiacos". And, of course, there is a whole group of guys who left for Denmark. It so happened that "Fremad Amager" saw us at the training camp in Turkey, we played a closed friendly, after which we established close contacts. And so far almost ten people have already gone there.
We are pleased that we are interested in such serious clubs. The project, which is essentially a charity, is working effectively. We bring together students from all over the world, they get a chance to get from amateur football to the highest professional level. And the fact that in two and a half years a half dozen players have reached this level indicates the great success of the project. The footballers should also thank Artur Araevich Hovhannisyan for these achievements. I wish Artur Araevich good luck in his new job, it is a step forward in his career and I hope that he will have many victories in working with our players, who are already in "Fremad".
- The main aim of the academy is to develop the individual qualities of the players. But any coach always wants to achieve team success. To what extent do you think Artur Hovhannisyan's coaching talent has manifested itself in this aspect during his work at FDC "Vista" and how will it manifest itself in work with another team?
- To begin with, our team's playing style is already known to a fairly wide range of people. The young academy is known all over Russia, European countries, as well as Africa and South America, because most of our players are from those continents. And everybody can see the team's playing style. These are the fruits of Artur Araevich's work. As for his future work, only time will show how his ability to direct the team game will prove on the new field. You have to understand that he is changing the environment, going to another country where he will change the players, there will be a different level of resistance. But I believe that he will be able to reorganize properly and quickly understand the differences in the work that lie ahead of him.
As far as sports results are concerned, it should be noted first of all that this year we started playing in an official tournament. I would like to thank the Krasnodar Regional Football Federation for giving us the opportunity to play in the regional championship. And also to thank our partners, Kuban State University, where most of the foreign footballers come from. Only thanks to those two organisations our participation in the competitions was possible. And this participation allows us to make further steps forward. Speaking of results, I can note that at the time when we had many Kuban State University students who are now playing for European clubs, we were showing high quality football under Artur Arayevich and achieved many meaningful victories in the matches against high-level rivals. Now the issue has become more complicated because of the pandemic. It has dealt a big blow to our project. New students have not been coming to Russia for two years now, which means we can't replenish our squad with foreign players either. So we had to retrain a bit and turn our sights to local academies. We try to find those guys who do not get what they would like to develop in their teams. And we give them those chances. This situation has led to a slump in athletic results. But, as you mentioned in your question, the main goal of our work is to develop the individual qualities of players. Of course, the team result is important, and we hope that with the arrival of new students it will be high again and we will win as often as before.
- As you mentioned, the team has started to play in official competitions. Where did this idea come from, because it's no secret that when a team plays only friendly matches, everyone at the club - from the players to the staff - can work psychologically much easier without the responsibility for the result?
- This idea came after our first boys moved from amateur to professional level. Many of our European partners then said that the level of readiness of the boys was quite high, but their main problem was their lack of competitive experience. And the lack of such experience makes it difficult for them to adapt quickly to the new requirements at the professional level. But the responsibility for the result and the stress and pressure, which they feel when taking part in competitions, will help them perform effectively in those games where the points and the scoreline are on the line. Now our boys are getting that experience. In the near future, two more players will leave us and it should be easier for them to prove themselves among professionals from their first days.
- How has the transition from friendlies to the official tournament been organised for the club?
- Yes, this transition has been quite difficult. First of all, we received confirmation rather late that we would be able to participate in an official tournament. We had a short preparation period. Secondly, we are different from other teams because we have internationals in our squad. Before we did not have to deal with a lot of paperwork that would enable foreigners to play in the World Cup. We had to work closely with the Russian Football Union, with the federations of many countries to obtain the international transfer certificates. We had to do a huge amount of organizational work for the first game against Pioneer. In the end, it turned out that some of the players we picked up for that game were, roughly speaking, almost off the street. At that time, many players in our first team we simply did not have time to declare them in accordance with all the regulations. Therefore I want to express my gratitude to the International Transitions Department of RFU that helped us make foreigners available for the regional championship as soon as possible. However, even so, we still have guys who can't take part in official matches to this day. We are waiting for them to have the opportunity to get on the pitch and be of use to the team.
- By the way, speaking of the players who are currently in the squad. How close are they to becoming professionals in the near future?
- I would not like to speak personally right now, but of course we have guys who are ready to play at the professional level even now. When they come of age, they will have the opportunity to move to good clubs. At least six or seven people who are likely to move to these clubs in six months. There is interest in them, there are talks and offers. Given that they are now playing in official competitions, this interest is growing every day. At the end of the season we will decide who of them will go where. The main thing is for them to concentrate on their development and not to stop there.
- You said that the team is waiting for additions as soon as the formal opportunities for this are open. What work is being done in this direction?
- Our selection work does not stop for a single day. First of all, we monitor all the students who are available in the Krasnodar region. Plus, a trip to Africa is planned for the near future. We would like to visit a few countries and see those kids who are now playing, roughly speaking, just on the street. I am not talking about the pupils of some big academies; I am talking about those who can play football but do not have the opportunities. When we find such children, we prepare recommendations for them to institutions of higher education in Kazan. After they have been given this opportunity, we will invite them to join our team and work on their sports development.
- Can you tell us about the subtleties of the selection work of the club's scouts? What qualities do experts pay attention to when reviewing players?
- We look comprehensively at all qualities. But modern demands say that a football player should have more physical development possibilities. Without natural strength and speed, it is difficult to prove oneself in big football nowadays. And it is our task to work with them on technique and tactics.
- There is a stereotype that after a change of head coach, a team gets new emotions. This is likely to be the case with FDC Vista. But when it comes to purely sporting aspects, what do you expect in terms of football from the new head coach?
- It should be noted that we did not make any personnel revolutions and appointed Patrick Papyan, who worked as Artur Araevich's assistant, as the head coach. We are pleased with how he has proved himself during his work at the club. He has also received recommendations from the former mentor. And with the season in full swing, there is no point in making any global rearrangements. Our staff should get a chance for a new step in their career. Patrick Georgievich will get maximum support from us and he will work at least till the end of the season. We will try to bring him new quality players to achieve good results. As for the style of play, I hope that we will not lose our trademark style. That said, all coaching decisions will remain with Patrick Georgievich. We will listen to his opinion in matters that will help us become better and stronger. In the near future, we will hold a meeting with the head coach to discuss concrete steps on all pressing issues.
- Going back to the Championship performances, what other problems can you say about given the results so far?
- Frankly speaking, our current results are certainly below what we deserve. Once again, I recall our European partners, who initially said that most of our guys are not yet ready for competitive challenges. Lack of experience is still hampering our results in some games. In all games our team excelled their opponents in many aspects. There is not a single opponent to which we were inferior in terms of quality of play. Even in the first game against Pioneer, where we had no line-up, we had chances to the last, but in the end the opponent's experience affected and we lost. We had a bad first 30 minutes because the boys had to get used to the natural pitch. But then we seized the initiative, scored one goal, then failed a penalty, created many chances and in general, according to all statistics, we had an advantage. But still, we lost. In the game with Traktor, we had an inexplicable tragedy. For 88 minutes we played great football, never giving the opponents a chance, but within two minutes we gave away two goals from set-pieces and were left without points. But that's football! It's precisely our young lads who need to gain experience through matches like this to be prepared for different events in their professional careers.
To sum up, we are not satisfied with the current result, because we can do more. And just at the meeting with the head coach we will discuss, among other things, those issues that will help us change the results for the better.
- There is a paradox. When the team played friendly matches against opponents of the highest level: Tambov, SKA-Khabarovsk, Akron, it seemed that against opponents of the regional Championship level, it would be easier to act. But in fact, it turns out that the tournament is not that easy. What is your opinion of the Regional Championship?
- Yes, I have also noticed that sometimes the matches against professional teams are better for us. These opponents play themselves and they let us play. This is because amateur football is different. Older players play here and we give them a lot of credit for the effort they put in at this level. They take to the field as if it were their last time and due to their desire, commitment, experience, strength, and somewhere even their grit, they achieve results. But for our young boys this football is new. It is psychologically difficult for them to get used to the pressure of those who have nothing to lose. Some teams try to play good football, some try to play as simple as possible, counting on standards or some accidents. We need to adapt to this state of affairs and learn to score points in games against all opponents. Hopefully, the experience of this championship will allow us to prepare better for next season, in which we also plan to play in the Regional Championship.
- Since you mentioned next season, it makes sense to ask about both the club's immediate plans and future prospects ...
- We want to continue the work we have started and also take part in the regional championships next season. We see that a lot of things are working out and that people like what we do. There is already a big resonance from our activities in the regional football. We hope that our participation in the competitions will somehow help other teams in Kuban. As for internal work, everything is going according to plan. So there are thoughts to try ourselves at the new level and try to enter professional football. Some work has already been done in this direction. We keep an eye on what is happening in professional leagues, what changes are taking place in the RAF. We have plans to discuss with investors the possibility of creating a second team that will play at a professional level by the end of this year.
- Based on the bright prospects you reported, is it safe to conclude that both the project management and the investors are satisfied with what the club has achieved in the two and a half years of its existence?
- There is always room for growth. And you should always be able to admit the mistakes that are made, and they are made by everyone who is not sitting still. We will strive to reduce the number of these mistakes, but on the whole I can say that we are satisfied with the way we have worked these two and a half years. I can call all the staff at the club big heroes. Many of them are new to football, but in a short period of time they have become professionals in their field. I thank everyone for the fact that we are living the same idea and each of us gives of himself for the benefit of our useful project.