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29 Jun 2017
Belarus set to host second Friendship Cup
New coach Nico sees his side face Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Turkey this week in Vitebsk.
The Friendship Cup returns to Vitebsk, Belarus, for its second edition this week, with the action getting underway on Friday afternoon.
Iran claimed the inaugural title two years ago but, in their absence, there will be a new name on the trophy this time around with hosts Belarus taking on Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Turkey over three days.
The Friendship Cup will mark the first outing for Belarus under the tutelage of new coach, and former Spain international, Nicholas Alvarado or ‘Nico’.
Nico boasts a hugely successful career on the sand with Spain as well as a host of international clubs, and will hope to carry that experience into his first coaching role as he replaces former coach Marco Octavio.
Belarus begin their Euro Beach Soccer League campaign in Moscow next month while Friendship Cup rivals Azerbaijan will also look to enjoy a positive preparation for the continental competition, which begins for them in Siofok in August.
Rufat Gasanov, Azerbaijan coach, told Beach Soccer Belarus: “We want to see the connections and improve the movement of the squad, because only through games can you achieve a deep interaction between the players.
“All the teams and the fans hope to see a good game on the Vitebsk sand and a wonderful atmosphere in the stands. All the guys understand how important it is to perform well at such an international tournament, and to represent Azerbaijan with dignity.”
Turkey - who finished fourth at this event in 2015 - also kick off the Euro Beach Soccer League in Moscow while Lithuania start proceedings in Warnamunde, Germany, with the sides meeting in the penultimate match of the weekend on Sunday.
Fixtures, results and standings are available on the Friendship Cup event page.