Gennadiy Lisenchuk is one of the most recognisable coaches at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. It is not only his animated gesturing on the sidelines that make him stand out, but also his dapper dress sense. Since making his debut as Ukraine coach 19 years ago, his distinctive clothing has been his trademark and, as if to underline that point, in Bangkok we found him dressed him a striking beige suit and white shoes.
“In hot countries like Thailand I like to wear warm tones,” a smiling Lisenchuk told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview. “In my opinion, coaches represent their team. We should always look good and be well dressed. In my time as national team coach I’ve won 11 medals at World Cups and EUROs. But whether wearing a suit is a lucky charm is anyone’s guess.”
Learning from mistakes
However, luck did not appear to be on Ukraine’s side in their opening game at Thailand 2012. Despite dominating much of the encounter, they were forced to settle for a 3-3 draw against Paraguay.
On Lisenchuk's part, he felt his players’ poor finishing was to blame. “Our forwards created plenty of chances but only scored three," said the 64-year-old. "I’m not happy with that. But we’ll learn from our mistakes and be more clinical in our next matches.”
At the Indoor Stadium Huamark on Saturday, the eastern Europeans face a Thailand side buoyed by a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica in their opening fixture. Lisenchuk, who led his country to fourth place at Spain 1996 and guided the youth team to world championship glory three times, is full of respect for the hosts, who are coached by his close friend Victor Hermans.
“We watched the match between Thailand and Costa Rica and were very impressed," was his verdict. "Our upcoming opponents are very fast, good on the ball and tactically well-drilled. It won’t be easy for us to beat them, but we’ll do our best.”
The Kiev native will prepare his team in typically meticulous style for the game. Defeat to the current Group A leaders would be a major setback for the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 quarter-finalists, who have set their sights on the latter stages of the tournament once more.
“In my opinion we’re one of the best teams in the world, which is why we’ve set ourselves three objectives for this World Cup," he explained. "We want to get past the group stage and our minimum aim is to reach the quarter-finals. If everything goes to plan, we could be playing for a medal. We know it won’t be easy but we’ll give everything to make it happen.”
If Ukraine do make it on to the podium, Lisenchuk and his charges can expect a rapturous reception upon returning to their homeland later this month. Yet a change of wardrobe would be necessary for the fashionable coach, as warm tones would be decidedly out of place in the harsh Kiev winter.