The Academy of the Russian football club Zenit on December 1 will open a branch in Abkhazia with affiliates in Sukhum and Novy Afon.

The famous children and youth football school, Gazprom-Academy of FC Zenit from St. Petersburg will open its branch in Abkhazia with branches in Sukhum and Novy Afon on December 1. The head of the Center for Advanced Training of Coaches of FC Zenit, a member of the technical committee of the Russian Football Union Sergey Morozov informed the WAC information portal about it.

The branch will begin to work in December, and the grand opening will take place in March 2021. It is also planned to open other branches of the Zenit Academy branch next spring, in particular, in Gagra and Gudauta. The decision to open the affiliates of the branch will be made based on the results of the first two.

"In this (spring - ed.) period we plan to bring our players to the training camp. The general director of FC Zenit Alexander Medvedev will also come," said Sergey Morozov, adding that the Abkhazian leadership is also expected to attend the opening ceremony in the spring.

The manager of the FC Zenit Academy told about the general principle of admission to those wishing to enter a football school.

"The main criterion for selecting children for our schools is the desire to improve their skills. There are no restrictions. Everything will be free of charge. The most talented children will be invited to see the Academy in St. Petersburg, which will open up great opportunities for the players," said Morozov.

The Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress Mussa Ekzekov thanked the management of Zenit for the decision to open a branch of the Football Club Academy in Abkhazia.

"We see in practice how compatriots living outside Abkhazia create new opportunities for personal and professional growth for its residents. The friendly relations of businessman Boris Dzhergeniya with the staff of the Zenit Academy ultimately led to the opening of a branch of the excellent football school in Abkhazia, which is an unprecedented help and opportunity for Abkhazian football, which the people of Abkhazia will definitely use. I am convinced that together with the State Committee for Youth Affairs and Sports of the Republic of Abkhazia and other competent structures, it will be possible to create an effective system for identifying young talents and their further professional growth in the Abkhazian, Russian and world arenas, and we will be watching with great pleasure and pride the numerous rising football stars from Abkhazia," said the head of the WAC SC.

The first run-through of young footballers have already taken place at the FC Zenit Academy in St. Petersburg.  A group of four athletes, in particular, was accompanied by the coach of the children's football team from Novy Afon Armen Kapikyan, who was appointed by the order of the General Director of FC Zenit as the head of the Abkhazian branch. The names of the coaches of the Sukhum branch will be announced soon, they will be selected from among the coaches who were trained at the Center for Advanced Studies of FC Zenith in September this year.

According to him, there are many talented athletes in Abkhazia, but it is necessary to develop an approach to football, to improve the material and technical base.

"Of course, I was worried that our children would not be able to compete (with the football players of the Academy of FC Zenit - ed.), however, fortunately, my worries have not been met. Our children showed themselves very well," the coach said.

All four guys said that they would very much like to get to Zenit school.

"Here, of course, the level of training is higher. We really like it. By the way, some of our guys in Abkhazia play no worse," the young footballer Anri Lazba said.

The FC Zenit Academy is a children's and youth football school affiliated with the renowned Zenit football club from the Russian northern capital of St. Petersburg. The goal of the Academy is to educate football players worthy to play for the club's main team. The school has its own philosophy, which is that its graduates become not only good football players, but also good, educated people.  The Academy teams "preach aggressive and spectacular football". In this case, the principle of "preparation of the player, not the team" applies.  All classes in the school are divided into three categories: technical-tactical, theoretical and psychological, there is also physical training.