Almas Kulshinbaev: 'Both mentally and skilfully our players outperformed their rivals'
- You have already had some experience, last year you worked with the Kazakhstan U21 team. From this year you have been training the Kazakhstan U17 team. Is there any difference in the preparation of football players in these age categories?
- Yes, definitely, there is. Both in physical and psychological preparation. There is not enough time to improve physical condition, so we focus on technique and tactics, conducting theories during training. There is also a difference in perception. For the players of the U21 team, the Premier and First Leagues, it takes less time to comprehend information about a particular exercise or tactic than for the players who are under-17 years old.
- What can you say about the selection for the youth team? What tournaments do you attend?
- First of all, in February I got some recommendations from the coaches. Then, the two stages of the tournament Zhastar took place in Shymkent. All the teams from the Football Centers of Kazakhstan, born in 2003 took part in that tournament. Following the results of the games I saw, I conducted a selection in order to gather players for the first training. Recently I have been to Pavlodar to watch the games of one of the stages of the championship among youth teams. Until November, I plan to attend the remaining stages of the championship. We will carry out the selection until the beginning of the qualifying games.
- What can you say about the UEFA Development Cup?
- The first pre-season training lasted 3-4 days, in Talgar. Then that squad took part at the UEFA Development Cup. We had quite good rivals. The national team of Belarus is a strong team, there are also fit players in the national team of Moldova and Solomon Islands. In fact, it turned out that the Solomon Islands team was a year older and participated at the U-18 World Cup. Despite this, we managed to show good football.
In the match with Belarus, we failed the first half, we had penalties conceded, from the penalty area and set-piece goals conceded. In the second half, we showed a completely different football.
In the match with the Moldovans, our team had a great advantage; they had to be beaten, unfortunately, there were problems with the goals scored. We generally had a problem with the central strikers. We beat Moldova team in the penalty shootout, although we had to do it in the main time.
In the last match - against the Solomon Islands - the players with less game practice took the field because according to the tournament regulations every player must play at least 80 minutes. We led 1-0, after because of our mistakes missed the advantage, conceding two goals, but finally played well.
In general, we failed only the first half of the first match, the next two games played well, had more luck in the penalty shootout.
- What are the conclusions about the tournament?
- Both mentally and skilfully our players outperformed their rivals, also we had a good tactic. The physical condition of our players is not good enough. It was the first training, some players adapted quickly, someone needed more time. We will also recall some new players. For us, this tournament was very useful.