Alexey Stukalov: Agalarov works at 101% and listens to the tips of the coaches


Ufa head coach Alexei Stukalov talks about working with young people, breeding policy, motivating players and creating an atmosphere in the team.

A unique international online conference for football coaches CoachConf took place on Thursday. It was attended by such strong and experienced specialists as the coach of the Chinese Football Association Fredi Martin, a famous scout working mainly with Italian clubs, Alex Velikikh, technical coordinator of the Barça Academy (Europe and America) Pau Casassa Busquets, director of Real Madrid camps in the USA Valery Pishchik, assistant coach of the Qatar national team Albert Fernandez, director of Cruyff Football Albert Capeyas, head coach of Akhmat Yuri Nagaytsev and many others.

The conference went on all day and turned out to be very eventful (speakers spoke in parallel in two halls at once) and interesting, and its organizers admitted that they plan to hold such events for coaches not only in football, but also in other sports. Their goal is to give participants not only specific knowledge, but also an opportunity for self-development and create an international coaching community, within which specialists will exchange opinions and ideas and outside of conferences.

Within the framework of CoachConf, Alexey Stukalov, the youngest RPL coach heading Ufa, gave an interview. During an hour’s conversation, he answered questions of interest to everyone about his work.


How do you feel in the status of the youngest RPL coach? And how is adaptation to such a high level going?

– I feel comfortable, because it took a long time to get to this position, so there is no adaptation. This is what I have become accustomed to doing over the years.

– You are known for working well with young footballers. What’s the secret?

– Football players do not look at their passports, but in general the trust of young people is a modern trend. This is normal practice in Europe. And the German specialist Sandro Schwartz came to the RPL and immediately began to trust the young.

What is the reason for this trend? Football has become more intense, compact and energy-consuming, with an abundance of martial arts. Younger players find it easier to carry loads and recover faster. In addition, Sokol and Veles, which I coached, are low-budget teams, so we had to look for little-known footballers with good inclinations. Developing them, we developed with them.

I will also note that last season with Veles I worked in the FNL, and there was a very tough schedule of games, and the young guys could handle the load more easily.

– On the other hand, the team has aged Oleg Ivanov and Boyan Jokic, who are almost your peers. Does this leave an imprint on communication?

– No. I am a coach, they are players on professional contracts. Of course, in the team they are also my assistants, because they have a lot of experience behind them. In some things I can consult with them. This is a normal workflow built by the coaching staff. In our team, everyone is equal. There is no such thing that one can do something, and the other cannot. This is a collective law.

Football players always feel how the coach is devoted to work and what ideas he brings. If this also gives a result, there are no questions at all.


– Should the coach or sports director have the last word when buying a footballer?

– Veles had a unique situation for our football. There I dealt with all issues in general – the selection of players, communication with their representatives and with themselves. I think this is wrong, because the coach should train directly and be immersed in his work. The rest is taking too long. It’s just that Veles is still a young club, we did not have a selection service and the position of a sports director. We dealt with all the issues ourselves.

Ufa has a general manager in the person of Shamil Gazizov. They make selection decisions together with the head coach. I indicate the positions that we need to strengthen, and Shamil Kamilovich gives candidates from whom I choose the players. In our model, the last word is still with the head coach, because I am responsible for the result. I think this model is correct.

When a player is brought to you and you have to work with him, the situation is uncomfortable for the coach, because different coaches look at the players with different eyes. One footballer fits the model of the game, the other does not. At the very least, there should be a discussion.

– “Ufa” is famous for the fact that it makes money on the sale of football players. Are you faced with the task of promoting players in order to make money on it?

– This approach is relevant not only for Ufa. There is a result in the standings, but there is a result of the individual development of the players. It is very important that young promising footballers, getting into the team, understand that here they will receive further development. This is one of my tasks at Ufa and at Veles. Ufa lives on the money it earns, so this is a very important point.

– Under your leadership, the top scorer of the RPL, Hamid Agalarov, is not yet known to the general public six months ago. What terms led to its disclosure?

– For this to happen, a combination of factors must converge. The player himself must have crazy dedication in the training process and in games, motivation, personal and team work. Hamid is now working at 101%. He is a player who knows how to listen to what tips the coaching staff gives – where is the best to be, how to find a position correctly. Plus, he has a scoring flair, which is one of the most important aspects for a striker. I will also note that the club’s management supports him, shielding him from all this hype around his person.



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