Having crushed FC Naftan from Novopolotsk, BATE claim their 11th championship title ahead of time (their 9th in succession)
Belarusian football is an intimate sport, comprising a small number of clubs and players. Like neighbours, everyone knows each other, has quarrelled and been reconciled, visited, drank and fought: repeatedly over the years. Meanwhile, the international football scene is huge.
BATE footballers celebrate their 11th championship titleDespite its modest scale, football’s popularity is steady in Belarus, with clubs each having firm ambitions to make their name known beyond the country’s borders. However, BATE leads in having made such dreams reality, having held the national title since 2006. Many Borisov veteran players are now fathers to their own children, sending them for football coaching. Yet, BATE remains at the top.
When remembering November 2006 we can’t but are amazed at how many ‘cobwebs’ life prepares for us. The fate of the championship was decided in the last round. Back in November 2006, it was snowing on the day that BATE took the title. BATE sent two balls into Soligorsk Shakhtyor’s net in the first half (with one scored by current Dinamo Minsk player Igor Stasevich) yet finally lost — 2:3 — almost falling to pieces after halftime. However, BATE won due to major rival Dinamo Minsk having an away draw against Dinamo Brest (0:0).
All was the same this year, with Dinamo on BATE’s heels, at a reasonably safe distance. The Minsk team came undone at the hands of Zhodino Torpedo-BelAZ, under Igor Kriushenko’s coaching (who, in 2006, headed BATE, and, in recent years, has even worked with Dinamo). BATE’s strength is its consistency. Following Kriushenko, Goncharenko coached the team, and Yermakovich now has the honour: all are native Belarusians and Yermakovich played in 20 matches for the squad in 2006. BATE’s line-up includes veterans Likhtarovich, Rodionov, Filipenko and Khagush. During the season, Krivets went to France, while Baga and Fedorovich have remained on the coaching staff.
Dinamo’s situation is rather different, with only Sergey Kontsevoy remaining from the 2006 line-up. He joined the club nine years ago, but appeared on the field only four times that season. He has seen 13 coaches and is soon set to train under another. Sadly, the Minsk squad failed to do well in the group stage of the Europa League.
Congratulations to BATE on its 9th successive victory and for its 11th championship win over all. It is rich in medals and seems only to be going from strength to strength.