Vyacheslav DUSMANOV, Team Latvia coach: “A band” of competing goalkeepers in Dynamo was pretty outstanding: Uvarov, Kharin, Ovchinnikov, Smetanin… You try to break through!”

Each year Valentin Granatkin Memorial, besides the unique value of the January football tournament under the cozy roof of St. Petersburg SCC, presents us a rare opportunity to communicate with players who were famous one day. Those who stayed in big football, but are out of sight of the Russian supporters now because they work in former Soviet countries.

For instance, while looking through the application list of Valentin Granatkin Memorial-2016 U-18 participants from Latvia, the media centre staff discovered a familiar name – Vyacheslav Dusmanov, a coach of goalkeepers… Is it that Dusmanov, a promising player from Dynamo Moscow of the 1990s? And so it was, indeed.

“It’s been more than twenty five years since I got to Dynamo Moscow! Well, I’m pleased that St. Petersburg journalists remember those times, - said Vyacheslav with a smile right after the second day match Latvia – Azerbaijan.”

– You were so young when you got into the Dynamo lineup for the USSR Championship – a pretty strong one!..

– “Pretty strong” are the wrong words. I got to Dynamo when I was 16, and it was the second round of the USSR Championship 1989. And now imagine the list of goalkeepers of that team: Uvarov, Kharin, Ovchinnikov and Smetanin! The first two played in the USSR national team!

– Well, and neither the other two need any further introduction… To be honest, I find it difficult to imagine such a brilliant “band” of goalkeepers in one team!

– Do you know what kind of diagnosis you can confidently give to a young goalkeeper entering such a “band”? “You’ve got no chance, dude!” (laughing)

– Wasn’t there the notorious “harassment” in Dynamo goals with such leaders?

– Not even close. On the contrary, older players were always friendly and patronizing the younger. Atmosphere in Dynamo was very warm and I always think back of it with great pleasure. The legendary Nikolay Gontar – goalkeepers coach… Valery Gazzaev who’d been Dynamo leader during many years and then became its head coach… Oh, I may have been way too careless with a decision to leave Dynamo! I left Moscow for Lada, Tolyatti before the season of 1994. But my spirit was significantly damaged by the previous season when I was a permanent white-blue number two already and – can you imagine – did not come on the pitch for the entire year! (Valery Kleymenov was playing in Dynamo goals those days). And I wanted to play badly. That’s why I took the proposal from Lada. But I wish I had waited for my chance in Moscow. Anyway, there’s nothing to talk about now…

– After the season in Lada you travelled much all over former Soviet Union countries, playing in Siberia, in Belarus, in Latvia, didn’t you?

– Yes. I was looking for my goalkeeper’s chance. I played for Metallurg, Novokuznetsk, for Chkalovets, Novosibirsk, for Gomel in Belarus, and for Dinaburg in Latvia. In Gomel, in 2002 we won the Belarusian Cup. And yet, I finished my career as a player quite early for a footballer – being only 32.

– The injuries forced you?

– Not the injuries… Well, I did have my nose and arms broken on the pitch, but what do these injuries mean for a goalkeeper? It’s common. I just decided one day – and quite a quick decision it was – to finish playing and to try a coaching work. Both happened in Latvian Dinaburg FC.

– Born in Izhevsk, how long have you been living and working in Latvia?

– 17 years with short interruptions… My family and I live in the city of Daugavpils where we have a flat. I work with goalkeepers in BFC Daugavpils and in Latvian teams U-18 and U-19.

– Do you have Latvian citizenship?

– No, I’ve got a permanent residence card. That’s very comfortable, for you are free to move all over the world. Now, for example, the destiny has brought me to St. Petersburg, and I am very happy about it. It’s a great tournament here! It’s my first time here, and I have the most pleasant impressions of these first days, for everything is organized perfectly. It’s wonderful for the very young players to participate in such a tournament.

– Could you introduce us to your players in Team Latvia?

– You’ve just seen our number one Nils Purins in action. He helped us much in the end of the game. He’s a promising guy, quiet, and able to read the play. Deniss Perkons, his backup, is also quite prospective. Though the number one is still Nils.

– Vyacheslav, a traditional “goalkeeper question” for you in the conclusion: whom would you call today “the number one” in world football?

– I will not be original, it’s Neuer. Though, of course, he sometimes runs too far leaving the penalty area. But it’s his coach who demands it! You see the trends of modern football here. And now and then these trends lead to us, the goalkeepers, having the ball sent just in the back of the neck…

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