Published on Friday, 23 January 2015

news 20150123_2Mirlan ESHENOV: "Changes in my life are so quick that sometimes I can’t believe it myself".

Team Kyrgyzstan U-21 head coach Mirlan Eshenov can be congratulated still before the Commonwealth Cup has finished. His team not only entered the best six of the tournament (and may get in the first five if wins team Russia on Sunday) but also presented a pleasant surprise with its playing. Special attention drew the coach himself. It was not just because of his young age – it's far ahead that Eshenov will be at least 30! – but also because of his emphasized composure in the coaches' area.

– When I still was starting my work in FC Abdysh-Ata in our national Championship I tried to interact much with coaches from Holland and Brazil who came to Kyrgyzstan. It was an excellent school for me – not only in sense of playing but also in sense of football perception. I was extremely nervous at first when my team performed bad and lost. I couldn't sleep after such matches. But the Dutches and Brazilians were taking the defeats much easier. "Mirlan, be calmer," – they taught me. – "When you've lost you should analyze the defeat to understand your mistakes, draw the right conclusions and drive forward. When you start mourning your hair gets whiter and your life shorter. Do you really need it?" eshenov 01And this motto – "drive forward" – became my principal in life. I teach to coach, put in life what I've learnt and gradually, step by step, drive forward.

– What was your first coaching step like?

– I worked in a kindergarten, coaching the most junior team. (smiling) It was very useful to watch the children, to assess their psychomotor qualities. And now I've grown into the national team head coach at a top tournament! Sometimes I myself can't believe such changes in my life are real, so quick they were.

– You were a famous football player in Kyrgyzstan but stopped playing amazingly early. And voluntarily at that...

– I wouldn't name myself even a professional sportsman. I really played football in my youth at the position of the attacking midfielder. But I soon abandoned the field and moved to the indoor pitch. I played some 2-3 matches for indoor soccer team of Kyrgyzstan and, to tell the truth, I finally realized that I won't be a good player. But I was lucky to become a professional coach. I travelled a lot around the Europe and studied a lot. In Thailand I attended a lecturing course by German, Swiss, and Brazilian specialists. Then my colleagues and I passed very hard examinations, and we stayed 12 coaches out of 27 – but all, who had passed, deserved a reward from the AFC – and can you imagine, we were sent to Spain for studies in the best five local FCs! eshenov 02We were in FC Barcelona and in FC Real, and Mourinho explained us the structure and philosophy of the top club. I've got plenty of emotions from that trip. I'm trying to take all the best from what I've seen and heard and bring it into my work, make use of it to the benefit of my own football philosophy. And, you know, it starts working! We are in the very beginning of the way but we already have some success.

– I've read that before the New Year you, such a young coach, were named the coach of 2014 in Kyrgyzstan? You won by 47% of votes, leaving the rivals long behind. Who was carrying out this voting?

– The official web-site of Kyrgyzstan Championship top league. I wasn't following the voting, I only saw the results – and I don't conceal that I was very pleased. I came here, to this wonderful Petersburg tournament, in a splendid mood which still improved during the competitions. But the main thing – such a faith from the part of the supporters gave me a strong motivation for working and showing my best.

– In what circumstances have you headed recently the national team of Kyrgyzstan, though not for long?

– It happened so that our national team showed a poor performance at the Challenge Cup which was the qualifying stage for the Asian Cup. There were three opponents in the group: Palestine, Laos and the Maldives – and it was only Laos which we managed to win. The points we gained were not sufficient to get in the two first which we should have entered. And they recommended me for the national team. The most amazing thing was that I then faced training camp with the Olympic team. As a result, there were 40 players training at the Issyk Kul Lake – the both teams! You know,eshenov 03 I had heard many times before it: "Mirlan, in some ten years you will surely get an opportunity to head the national team..." And here suddenly I am appointed to coach the national team right now! I thought for a while and agreed. Not because I was so much work-hungry or too greedy and desired everything at once... No, you should understand me right: I just wanted to feel, to taste it well – what it is like to be the head coach of the motherland's national team!

– I can imagine the critics which the young coach Eshenov encountered after the 1:7 defeat from Kazakhstan!

– Right, I got under such a pressure... But I managed to cope with it all, to raise my head and go on working. It's good that after my return from Astana I at once plunged in work with the Olympic team. I went with them to the Olympic Games in Korea. In the first round we managed to play draw with the strong team Iran – 1:1. And then we qualified the group for the first time in the history of our football!

– Mirlan, St. Petersburg supporters like your team. We wish you good luck in your work – in the team and in the club. By the way, would you tell us a little about the Kyrgyzstan Championship, for we don't have much information about it...

eshenov 04– Our top league where best clubs of Kyrgyzstan play is very small. It includes only 8 clubs. Dordoi is the leader, then the silver medalist of the past Championship Abdysh-Ata – the team I'm coaching. Then there go Alai, Osh and Alga, Bishkek. These 4 clubs are stronger than the other four. I feel it very comfortable to work with the team of Abdysh-Ata. Their president treats me like a son, and he keeps repeating: "Don't be afraid of making mistakes and losing! I am always there to support you, so keep calm and work!" And I'm working. (smiling)


Interviewed by Alexander Kuzmin.


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