Algarve welcomes international football stars

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

Earlier this month, the Algarve played host to a number of international football teams with former Chelsea player Andrey Shevshenko taking to the pitch for several matches with his team  Dynamo Kiev at the Oceânico Group’s Amendoeira Sports Club.

Prior to the friendly match on February 12, Burnley FC manager, Brian Law,s took a few moments to speak to the Algarve Resident about his team’s four day stay in the region.

“Our team arrived on Wednesday for a mini break, as it’s the FA Cup coming up soon, it’s the ideal time to come to what we hoped was a warmer climate to train our new players,” he said, adding: “We have been training at Barrington’s in Vale do Lobo and this is our first time at the Amendoeira Sports Club, but we’ve been told that the pitch is one of the best around.”

According to Brian Laws, who was appointed manager of Burnley FC last month following a post at Sheffield Wednesday, the team have used their time in the Algarve to integrate six new players as well as new staff.

Burnley FC manager, Brian Laws
Burnley FC manager, Brian Laws

“Exercise and quality training in between is important for team bonding. We’re looking forward to this game today against Dynamo Kiev. It’s an ideal friendly game and they are top quality opposition.”

Following the match and Dynamo Kiev’s 2-1 win against the British team, former Chelsea player Andrey Shevshenko spoke to the Algarve Resident about the opposition, his first visit to the Algarve and his career.

“As my team are in the Algarve for 12 days of winter training, it has been great to play against Burnley. They are a good team and in the Premier League, so it was very good for us,” he said, adding: “This is my first time in the Algarve, it’s very nice and I have heard that it has many excellent golf courses.”

Off the pitch, Andrey Shevshenko said that he enjoys golf, playing to a handicap of five, but due to the busy daily training schedule, he would not be indulging in his hobby while in the Algarve this time around.

Having started his career at Dynamo Kiev, prior to his transfers to Milan and Chelsea which gave him his international stardom, Andrey said that he is very pleased to be back with the team.

“Dynamo Kiev is my team and it is where I will finish my football career,” he said, adding: “In 2012 the Ukraine will be hosting the Euro Cup with Poland and I hope to play in the tournament. It will be a very important event for my country.”

During their stay in the Algarve, Dynamo Kiev also beat their first local opponents, Portimonense 3-1 on February 10 as well as top Polish team Wisla Krakow 3-2 on February 14.

Meanwhile, England’s Under 17 men’s football team came out victorious in the Algarve Tournament for the second time in three years, following a 0-0 draw with Portugal on Tuesday.

During the tournament, which was hosted at the Parque Desportivo de Nora in Ferreiras, Albufeira, England also beat the Ukraine 3-0 and drew 1-1 with France.

This success sets England up for their ensuing European Championship Elite Round qualifying campaign which starts on March 27. Burton Albion FC and Northampton Town FC will host England’s matches against Sweden, Malta and Slovakia. The nation finishing top of this group will qualify for the Euro Finals which are to be staged in Liechtenstein in May.