The President of the Handball Federation of Russia (HFR) came to the editorial office of the “Sport Express” and told about the failure of the men’s team in Euro-2018 qualification, television broadcasts and, of course, the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Sergey Shishkarev came with a gift – a beautiful memorable book about the victory of the women’s team at the Olympic Games in Rio. But the conversation was started not with handball, but with football – the matches of the Confederations Cup didn’t allow the Head of the HFR to stay indifferent.

Mr. Shishkarev shared his impressions of the match Russia – Portugal:

As a real fan, I received the Fan ID, then walked 50 minutes to my place on the sector. I took a run, got limbered up, and arrived just in time before the start.

Remained dissatisfied with the game?

Consider, there were 42,579 fans at the stadium – I remembered the figure specially; I bought the tickets for a pretty money, believe me, it’s not 300 rubles, as we have on handball, and in the end, I should see such a game! In the first half, our team played as a men’s handball team played in the second half of the match with Montenegro. There was no passion, no sense of responsibility. I know, many people consider Confederation Cups a strange competition, but it is not for Russian fans. They come to this holiday, they want to see the reviving national team, they want to see the men who struggle, fight, prove something… Here, Ronaldo has spent one of the best seasons in his career, he is one of the favorites in the fight for the “Golden Ball”; he wants to go home to his new-born children, just wants to rest, but he has come, works hard and scores. No one will persuade me: if you lose, then do it with blood, bruises and grazes. It’s this what I can’t forgive my boys. We will have a separate analysis on this matter – you can lose, but do it in such a way that you’re not ashamed of it.


Is the lack of passion in the eyes concerned only the last match with the Montenegrins?

No, the general mood. There were positive glimpses when we played with Slovenia at the World Championship. There they got worked up, but the judges worked “excellent”., obviously, it’s our fault, mine and the coach, in what happened. Perhaps, the guys are still in some way children who have not received the lessons of morality and patriotism. Probably, it should be done methodically, in a calm atmosphere.

“But nothing boded troubles …”

Exactly. Everything was in our favor: 5 goals in the first half, a four-minute away in the opponent team in the end, an adequate refereeing. I regret only one thing: I would have to get off the balcony in violation of all the rules and norms, stand next to Dmitry Torgovanov and cheer up the team. Besides, there was silence in the hall – a vacuum, although the fans filled the stands of the hall.

Did you expect another atmosphere?

I was asked why we did not hold a match in Astrakhan, where we could gather seven thousand spectators, or in Krasnodar. We wanted the guys had a full day of rest after the match with Slovakia in the base camp in Novogorsk, to which they got used. On the other hand, maybe the number of spectators was not enough for the drive. I remember how we went to the Champions League match between “Vardar” and “Flensburg” at the invitation of the owner of the Macedonian club Sergei Samsonenko. In the last 10 minutes of the match, the whole 8,000-seat hall stand up and cheered on. Timur Dibirov told me afterwards: “Do you think it’s possible to play half-heartedly with such a support?”

But there is one more thing that I did not mention before. Before the game I got a call from Dmitry Torgovanov and was asked not to go to the locker room.


He answered me: “After talk with you, their legs always become padded. We have many young players.” I was surprised: “Dmitry Nikolaevich, what’s the problem? Who of the players does not know me?!” And it turns out, it’s also my fault that I listened to him. I had a good school of oratory, I had to speak in more difficult situations – when planes fell, for example. So, could not I inspire the guys?!

At least you could motivate them with a promise of bonuses.

And this factor must also be taken into account. It’s one thing when a coach says that Sergey Nikolaevich will not forget you. And it’s completely different when I promise something personally. I said to the girls: “If there is a margin of ten or more balls in the play-offs of the World Cup with Poland, I’ll give you 150 percent of the bonus.” And the girls made a break in exactly 15 balls! Unfortunately, I did not tell the guys the same … Although if don’t take into account experienced players, then, for example, for Shkurinsky or Karlov it is a significant bonus to get ten thousand conventional units before vacation.

Alas, the problem is not only in a single match.

– Let’s remember the match with Slovakia – that is, when the fall of Carthage began. And it began with strange experiments of the coach. A minute before the end of the match we are playing in the minority, but we are up by two goals and for some reason we replace the goalkeeper by the player, thereby leaving our goal empty. Why???

What did you think about at the moment?

I thought it was an incomprehensible decision. I even shouted to the coach from the stand: “Why?!”

Did you ask then Torgovanov, why he did it?

Of course, because in the end we made two mistakes, and lost the victory. The answer was: “There was not enough time to prepare for the game. The team did not have time to achieve good team-work.” Then, the end of the match with Montenegro in Moscow. We won in full, and the result was again a draw. And we talk about things that are learned in advance: how to play in the minority, majority, with tight defense of the opponent and so on … When the team stays in the majority for four minutes and does not know what to do, it surprises me. Drawing an analogy with football, it’s a standard position. That is, an absolutely standard situation with a limited set of decisions that occurs in almost every match. And you do not take a tablet and draw something at this moment – the players don’t hear the coach. Such things should be practiced until it becomes automatic.


In your opinion, is the reason the excessive emotionality of players or lack of qualifications?

On the contrary, there was not enough emotion here. Take, for example, our captain Daniel Shishkarev: what a gorgeous match he played with Slovakia, and how he played here in the second half … Threw from the zero corner, where it is almost impossible to score, and that’s all. He walked on the playground with his head down. I shouted from the stand: “Daniel, wake up, you’re supposed to be the captain!” I do not know how to explain it. Maybe he was tired or wanted to go home to his child…

Are you going to change the coach now?

I can’t answer this question yet. I do not want to make a decision alone. The executive committee and the head of the coaching commission Drachev should express their opinion on this issue. I will invite personally our honored coach, Olympic champion Vladimir Salmanovich Maximov to this meeting. It’s not a secret that our relations are complicated, but I think if we both love handball, then it’s time to talk about it. We need to understand two moments to make a decision. First, whether we understand correctly what happened to the team, and whether we make the same diagnosis. Secondly, where to go next. If he wants to stay, Torgovanov should not self-chastise or apologize, but offer a clear plan to work further. I think we won’t make any decision on June 28 at the executive committee. Thank God, we have time to think about, to announce a contest for the best program.

I assure you that the situation is not absolutely hopeless.

Unfortunately, we can’t still beat the teams of Slovakia and Montenegro …

Yes. I will watch our national teams U21, U19 at the championships in Algeria and Georgia and send specialists there. We have potential. In each team, there are 3 – 5 players who can make up the backbone of the Olympic team. It’s our task. For sure, we are talking about increasing the number of trainings; we need new video equipment, equipment for the work with players, new medical equipment. I am ready to provide all this, but only to the person and the team who will give an understandable and effective program.

Are you sure that you did your best?

Of course not. I paid little attention to the men’s Championship, more – to the women’s one. Concentrated on the successes of “Rostov-Don” … I really wanted the Rostov team to win the EHF Cup, to see an interesting fight in the final of the Russian Championship, so that “Rostov-Don” medals are for good reason. Somehow, I follow the development and potential of women handball players. If you ask to name 33 players of the national team, then I will name female players without hesitation, and with the guys I will stop on the 20th surname.


  But this is not your task.

Truth be told, I should have people responsible for that: who wasn’t called, where the emotions are, what’s up with Dibirov. Probably, I should have helped to clear up the situation among Dibirov, Igropulo and Torgovanov. Play a part of chief-in-command. Nobody knows for sure if Konstantin would strengthen the game or not but I did hear the opinion that he could help the team to get to EURO. Instead of practicing the skill of discussion, we should have held 2-3 trainings and objectively see the situation of field – not on emotional level.

For some reason Timur said in one of the interviews that no one congratulated him on the victory in the Champions League. As a way of saying that handball is not popular in Russia, as well as in the Federation itself. I didn’t take offence but I cannot agree with that. The official website of the HFR published two pieces on “Vardar” victory in the Champions League, congratulating our players. Moreover, my personal communications with Sergey Samsonenko, calls and messages of Torgovanov. Unfortunatelly, I couldn’t arrange a telegram from Russian President – Vladimir Putin doesn’t follow Vardar’s (smiles). But Macedonian top officials welcomed them.

Such minor trivia grow into conflicts but they need to be solved, not hushed up. We are not a football team of Germany that has a line-up of Tonis Krooses. Dibirov is Dibirov, but he is also wrong sometimes. We didn’t hold a proper assessment work, we trusted the coaches who sometimes can be ruled by personal ambitions, resentment and discussions.

Did you get a feeling that you should have changed the head coach at the previous meeting of the Executive Commission?

I think that every coach should complete the qualification cycle of a large tournament and to be judged afterwards. It’s not like that we have 20 candidates for this position and we can pick and choose.

“I cheer for “Real”, for Ronaldo. I respect Messi, Grizmann and Fernando Torres but Christiano is an example of professionalism.”

There are always options, including foreign coaches.

We’re not sure that a foreigner will grasp the mentality of our players. We lost not because of lack of skill or professionalism, although I’m saying that the “standards” should be kept. We should have understood that we defend the honor of Russia, of our motherland. No foreign coach will explain it in a key moment.

What does Torgovanov say about it?

He wrote me four days after the match. I can’t wait that long – I called the General Director of the Handball Federation of Russia Lev Voronin who used to help Torgovanov in coaching of the national team and asked him, “Do you think it’s properly?” I wasn’t asking for repentance, just man-to-man explanation. He said they were sitting all night analyzing mistakes. I think that’s wrong. On the other hand, this should be a cut-off point for new work.


Why do you come to Sport-Express editorial office after the defeat when normally executives avoid mass-media?

I should to present a book for Maksim Maksimov (chief editor of Sport-Express) (smiles). Talking seriously, such conversations are much more important than the victorious ones. Victory has many “fathers”, and the defeat has none. In this specific case, I’m the “father” of this failure and I need to tell you what went wrong. It is just a sport result that we got at this stage. Now the most important thing is to prepare for the Olympics, to repeat the girl’s success or at least get in the top-3. Only after talking it off, hearing your questions, criticism and evaluation that we can form a correct problem-solving approach. Otherwise, it will stew inside of me.

Let’s talk about a positive thing – the performance of our girls.

I will quote Anna Sen, “Dear Mr. Shishkarev! We have reached a goal set in front of us – we are in the championship. That is why you’ll be the first one to know that I am three-weeks pregnant!” I replied, “Dear Annie! Thank you very much, you did a great job. I wish you all the luck and the best, you have fully deserved it”. I also want to congratulate Vlada Bobrovnikova, since the girls announced it publicly. So, the key result of the season – our girls went on maternity leave. A range of weddings is coming: Olya Chernoivanenko got married, Ksenia Makeeva is getting married on the 7th of July, Ludmila Postnova is getting married to Georgiy Zaikin – we witness the start of the handball dynasty.

“I will insist on penalties and removals for foul language, incorrect behavior towards women on field, appeals to referees and cross-talk between coaches”.

The number of celebrations make the sport part faded.

The women’s handball season was great indeed, no matter what they say. I don’t see the performance at the European Championship as a failure, we didn’t expect a triumph. There were only eight players of the Olympic squad in the team, absolutely new team. Let’s take the example of Daria Samokhina – the way she played in the European Championship and in the Qualification for the World Championship 2017 against Poland – is two different things. Evgeniy Trefilov is not a miracle worker. He can create a well-functioning handball machine out of good details. But the “machine” needs “brains”, needs time to learn how to work.

Were there any worries before the game with Poland?

Absolutely none. That’s why I told about the bonus pay for the 10-balls difference. The women’s team has a great potential. Moreover, we expect an even more interesting tournament in the next season. “Rostov-Don” is strengthening for the Champions League, “Astrakhanochka” buys new players, “Kuban” will have a new squad. 5 teams will fight for medals for sure. Believe me, it won’t be so easy for “Rostov-Don” to keep the title.



What new developments should we expect in the new season?

The main thing is strict abidance by the Championship Regulations. We will try to enhance the financial discipline of the clubs, demand the matches to be held in proper conditions, good halls, although we do understand that it is not done in a blink of an eye. We also want to tighten regulations for Internet broadcasting of games so it wouldn’t be just a common camera standing next to the fans. One of the new developments is correcting the ethics of behavior during the championship. I will strongly stand for imposing penalties and removals for foul language, incorrect behavior towards women on field, appeals to referees and cross-talk between coaches. We need more discipline.

Won’t Mr. Trefilov go bankrupt?

He’s not a top-breaker in this sense. There are plenty of other coaches’ examples. There are a lot of things I can understand but it’s beyond the bounds when foul language comes out at a press-conference. We should be civilized.

Will there be a pause in the National Championship before the December World Championship? Trefilov often complains about the lack of training time for the large tournament.

He already talks about that! We have talked for four hours recently, I was noting all requests and afterwards he gives me a pile of papers saying, “You’ve written everything down and here’s something extra from me”. As far  the preparations for the World Championship are concerned, we will traditionally participate in “Golden League” Tournament.

“I know more about the development and potential of women handball players. If you ask me to name 33 players of the women’s national team, I’ll name them fluently, when it comes to the guys, I’ll stop after 20th name”.

Will you continue organizing the combined men’s and women’s handball events?

We have an idea to hold Super Cups on one day. It would be great to hold them in Krasnodar but firstly I would like to see the regional authorities interest in that. They go telling about the first in 17 years victory of “Kuban” in the National Championship but don’t even respond to congratulations. As soon as they reply, we’ll come out with a proposition. Besides, I might add that currently we’re holding very productive talks with the football club “Kuban”. It is a painful subject, no one returned the money yet but I have recently met Deputy Governor Andrey Korobka who supervises football and we’ve reached an agreement promising some progress soon.

How did it happen that the spectators didn’t see the game Russia-Montenegro on “Match-TV”? As far as we know the Federation took over all financial and organizing matters.

Yes, no one gave us anything for free. However, when the channel was just opened up I thought that they will help us to popularize handball by showing more of it. I didn’t even doubt that after the victory at the Olympic Games.

Our relations with Dmitry Granov and Tina Kandelaki are very respectful and I guess it wasn’t her decision to take the match off the air. Firstly, it is unprofessional in any case and there are severe penalties for that in the West. Secondly, it is not correct ethically or gentlemanly – we publish the information for fans, they turn on the TV at the set time…and there’s nothing of handball.

You have mentioned the victory at the Olympics. Were you able to get something out of it? Are the more kids who wish to play handball?

Yes, there are, along with this we see that we do not have sufficient resources to take care of all the children – not enough coaches and infrastructure. The victories inspire interest to the sport indeed, they help motivate the kids. Our big success is that handball can be chosen for the third gym class at schools. We prepare handball ambassadors who can travel all over the country with master classes. Right now, I’m more concerned with the question of coaches training, even more than with infrastructure. You can play handball in the school yard of you like. Dmitry Rogozin likes saying, you can play handball even with the goal painted on the school wall. But we vitally need specialists. That’s why we need to prepare the coaching staff, coaching seminars is just a part of the implementing development program. I also have some personal initiatives.


Like what?

I decided to create a professional team in Novorossiysk where currently we’re looking for a place to construct a hall for 3-4 thousand spectators. I have a vacant place for 2 football fields in Abrau-Durceau, one of them will be used for construction of full-scale handball training facilities with two halls and a hotel. There is a beautiful view on a lake. It will be a sequel of the project “School of Brazilian Football”. I have already set tasks on architectural and composition – what where should be placed. Thank God, I own it and it will be easier to work with your own asset. Future club will be called “Chernomoskiye Capitany”.

The name – is it your idea?

Yes, it’s always like that.

“Talking about football, I wish this kind of sport shared a bit with handball. There are great models that work in “Porto”, “Benfica”, “PSG” and “Barcelona”. It would be great if we saw the handball “Zenit”, “Krasnodar” and “Spartak”.

What else you have planned for the nearest future?

The next year is full of events: elections of the President in Russia, FIFA World Cup, 25th anniversary of my Delo Group, 50th anniversary of Sergey Shishkarev (smiles). I decided to combine the last two events and will celebrate it not on my birthday – it coincides with the 75th anniversary of Stalingrad battle, separately. Of course, handball will be somehow present at the celebrations, it is a big part of my life. To say the least, I was awarded for handball achievments.

Could you please tell us more about that?

The Decree of the President of 18th of May 2017. First of all, I’m happy about honoring the coaches Evgeny Trefilov and Levon Akopyan, our doctor Siyat Almyashev and coach Mikhail Seregin. I am grateful to the President that no one was left unnoted.


Now a little bit about football. You have watched the final of Champions League with Leonid Slutsky, what are your impressions?

It is totally different level of the game, different emotions and perception. And getting his comments is priceless. He doesn’t just explain what’s happening on field, he foresees in advance what’s going to happen.

Who did you cheer for?

I cheer for “Real”, I cheer for Ronaldo. I respect Messi, Grizmann and Fernando Torres but Christiano is an example of professionalism. The man knows how to make money on his name – all honor to him.

Would he make it in handball?

Without a doubt. He is tall, his moves are unpredictable. If Anna Vyakhireva is compared to Messi, Ekaterina Illyina can be compared to Ronalro.

Maybe we should give him citizenship and put him in Russia’s national team?

I’m afraid that the state’s budget won’t be enough for that. Maybe we can ever manage to drag him to handball match. We met face-to face at the final of the Champions League in Moscow: we had a small talk in Portuguese, he was very surprised I know the language, we shook hands. I reminded him of that story on vacation and he smiled.

You play football yourself, don’t you?

Yes, we were colleagues with Dmitry Alenichev at the Parliament football  team. I’ve scored many goals with his assists. Once I had to stand as a goalkeeper, he hit the ball so hard that my hands hurt for 2 weeks afterwards. Talking about football, I wish this kind of sport shared a bit with handball. I would like to talk about it with Sergey Galitsky and Sergey Fursenko. There are great models that work in “Porto”, “Benfica”, “PSG” and “Barcelona”. There are handball teams in the structure of a club. It would be great if we saw the handball “Zenit”, “Krasnodar” and “Spartak”. And the fans would visit the games of both clubs. For example, when the Russian men’s team had a match against Sweden in St. Petersburg I came out with the idea of creation of the handball “Zenit” to the city’s authorities. It would be great if the city had such handball club that could be built on the basis of “Universitet-Neva”. This match showed that the Northern capital has a special interest for men’s handball and good prospects.

Source Sport Express