World Cup 2022 Qualifiers is about to begin next month and some teams whose managers have stepped down or been sacked after EURO last summer such as Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine have to find the successor immediately before the next fixtures start. After Netherlands and Russia picked Van Gaal and Valery Karpin, it is now Switzerland's and Ukraine's turn to appoint the new in charge of the team.
La Nati have fully put their trust in their former captain in late 1990s and early 2000s who turned manager, Murat Yakin. The brother of another Swiss international, Hakan Yakin, is taking over the post Vladimir Petkovic left last month as the Bosnian boss decided to take the offer from Bordeaux. Murat is the former Schaffhausen, FC Basel, Spartak Moscow and FC Thun boss who had his fairly notable spell in Basel and FC Thun. In Basel, he brought the team win two domestic titles plus reach semifinal in Europa League 2013. Meanwhile, in FC Thun, the 46-year old manager guided them to climb to the top flight in 2010 and snatched one spot for Europa League in the following season.
The former VFB Stuttgart and Fenerbahce man earned 49 caps from 1994 to 2004 scored only four goals while he was a player. He was named only in one major international tournament, EURO 2004. Murat will start his reign by leading Switzerland in a friendly match against Greece on September, 1, followed by the hardest fixture, playing host to the EURO champion, Italy on the 5th before traveling to Belfast to take on Northern Ireland on the road three days later. Murat is on a mission to pick up a better form for securing one automatic berth in the world cup next year. The new boss seems quite confident with their chance to progress to the final round.
"I’m convinced that we will qualify for the World Cup with this great team and celebrate further successes," Murat stated.
If La Nati have been confident with their new boss, Ukraine is entirely different. After Andrey Shevchenko stepped down after his contract expired, Ukraine Football Association (UAF) seems to still undecided with the situation. They would really like to have Shevchenko's former duet in Dynamo Kiev and national team back then in late 1990s till mid 2000s, Serhiy Rebrov to take up the job. Yet, the situation with his current club, Al-Ain of UEA becomes an issue for him since he just signed a contract with them last June. It remains unknown how he would be fully committed to the national team as it is still unclear if his newly signed contract can be terminated on mutual agreement.
As the time is ticking and the national team needs to get ready to prepare for the next fixtures in September, UAF decided to name Olexander Petrakov as the coach in interim until Rebrov is available for the position. It was reported that Petrakov would prepare the national team for further matches in the 2022 World Cup qualification as acting head coach. Interestingly, there has been no clarity on the financial and duration deal yet, which means that UAF still expects Rebrov to be at the helm of the Andrey Yarmolenko and Co.
Olexander Petrakov is more well-known as the U-21 manager. The 64-year old boss is the man behind the unlikely success of Ukraine U-21 team when they won FIFA World Cup U-20 in 2019 after beating Italy and South Korea in the semi final and final.
Meanwhile, Serhy Rebrov has had more notable experience in the club. He was in charge of the Dynamo Kiev from 2014 to 2017 with two domestic titles, plus guided them to the round of 16 in UCL 2016 and the quarter final in Europa League 2017. He also led Ferencvaros to reach the UCL group stage 2020/21 for the first time in 25 years.
Petrakov will be in command of the team on September, 1st by travelling to Nursultan to face Kazakhstan and hosting France on the 4th in Kiev. Unless Rebrov can work out on his contract termination, the former Dynamo Kiev U-21 have a clear chance to prove his quality so that UAF could be providing him a contract for a full time position instead of a temporary one.