Tue 08 February 2011 07:32 GMT | 11:32 Local Time
News.Az interviews Farid Novruzi, president of the Beach Soccer Federation of Azerbaijan.
What is the purpose of your visit to the Emirates?
Dubai is a popular centre not only for association football but for beach soccer too. I have come here to hold negotiations on the participation of the Azerbaijani team in a number of friendly matches or tournaments. We may play the Russian and Ukrainian teams in March.
What's the current state of our team?
Changes started in the Azerbaijani team since late last year. Ninety per cent of the squad has changed. We have worked on selection and chosen promising players, who excelled in the matches of the Azerbaijani championship. There are many young footballers among them. Almost all of them are from the Absheron Peninsula, including Sumgayit. They have been training since November last year, with the stress on physical training, since our games have shown that this is a weakness for the Azerbaijani team.
The question of the head coach is now being settled. We are considering several candidates. Our contract with Emil Jabbarov has not expired yet.
Would he like to continue working with the national team?
Yes, but we are thinking it over. There is the option of a coach from Brazil. There is also a coach from Turkey. We are taking care over our selection, since we do not want to make a mistake.
Emil Jabbarov has been in the job for a while now. What can you say about his work?
He is, undoubtedly, a professional, but the team has not done as well as we expected. On the whole, we are satisfied with Jabbarov’s work, but we already want to do better.
Foreign players were brought into the futsal team to boost standards. Do you have similar plans?
From the very beginning we decided that the beach team should consist of local futsalers. I think we will be able to get good results and prove that the services of foreign sportsmen are not always needed.
Beach soccer is gaining in popularity. How about in Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan has always played beach soccer. Nature has given us fine conditions for this. But infrastructure and space are needed for it to develop. Many footballers want to play at our Dalga stadium and we give them the ground for free. Popularity has also grown thanks to the achievements of our team and TV broadcasting. Now when we announce the championship of the country, at least 50 teams want to take part. These are amateur teams. We also want to have professional clubs. It would be good if our football clubs created beach soccer teams. Association football players would also benefit from training on the sand. It is no secret that this training in Brazil and Portugal helps footballers develop special technique.
Azerbaijan has only one complex for beach soccer now. It is obviously not enough.
We are negotiating the construction of another pitch at one of the sports complexes in Baku. The pitch in Sumgayit where the city championship was held was built with AFFA’s support last year. There is also a stadium in Lenkoran, which meets standards.
And the last question: what is your prediction for tomorrow's football friendly between Azerbaijan and Hungary?
Hungary is not the strongest team in Europe. I think we have a chance of playing well and a 1:0 win for Azerbaijan is realistic.
News.Az - Azerbaijan looks to local players to develop beach soccer