During more than a decade of history, youth teams of Belarus have raised the bar of Belarusians' expectations pretty high. The teams led by coaches Puntus, Kurnenin and Kondratiev attracted fans' attention and people started to really enjoy their play. The best result of Belarus U21 is the bronze of the U21 European Championship in Denmark, which gave the nation the right to take part in the London Olympic Games. This is the only top tournament in which any Belarusian national football team took part. But it is too early to live only memories. The current head coach - Igor Kovalevich - is also expected a decent result. And not just this.
Nikita Korzun, Belarus U21:
Of course, we want to repeat the same thing and become the pride of the country and take prize-winning places in Europe.
IGOR KOVALEVICH'S WORK
Igor Kovalevich has led the team since 2013. We all know that a high level of this specialist. Igor's professionalism is evidenced by the following fact: while working with Belarus U21 Kovalevich called over 50 various players. And these were players not only from the Highest League, but also from the First League and even the Second League. All in all, he worked with almost all players in the country born in 1994 and younger.
Igor is assisted by well-known personalities in Belarusian football world. They are Andrei Skorobogatko, Oleg Radushko, and goalkeeping coach Aleksandr Sulima, who is just beginning his coaching career.
Igor Kovalevich, head coach of Belarus U21:
I like the attitude of the guys. And I think that first of all we will be strong as a team.
Once Sulima and Vasilyuchek competed for a place in the first team of FC Neman but now the young veteran is training his ex-teammate.
Belarus can be sure of the quality of its goalkeepers: Gareth Southgate, the head coach of the England U21 is one of those who praised the work of Vasilyuchek. This praise is worth something.
While last year Belarus had real problems with strikers (the top scorer was the player who netted only twice) now Belarus U21 has someone to count on in the attacking third. Savitsky, Rassadkin and Yanchenko are those whose aim is to score goals instead of wasting time.
Pavel Savitsky, striker of Belarus U21:
The whole team is a single organism. If someone falls out of it, we will certainly support this player. Younger guys also support us. After all, everyone in the team is equal.
The center is also safe: the duo of Korzun and Yablonsky is very promising.
One of the key features of this edition of Belarus U21 is that almost all the players are getting match practice in their clubs. In the Belarusian Highest League, FC Gomel and FC Neman are the "youngest" teams: both these teams have created 22 footballers whose age is suitable for the U21 team.
BELARUS U21: EURO 2017 OBJECTIVE
On the eve of the start of the Euro 2017 qualification, Mr Kovalevich reassured the audience that the country will not be ashamed about the team's performance. The Belarusian Football Federation noted that Belarus U21's task is to enter the Euro 2017 Finals."
Alexander Khatskevich, Belarus senior national football team's manager:
Our U21 team proved that we can play with everybody, win and progress to the Finals and look decent there. And even qualify for the Olympics. So in this respect, we can only wish success to the team of Igor Kovalevich. Good luck!