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We have a salary ceiling, so everyone is leaving. Belarusian journalist

Why Max Ebong is the best player in Belarus, what are the strengths of Astana newcomer Artem Rakhmanov and what awaits the Kazakhstan team in the 2022/23 Nations League. Nikolai Khodasevich, a well-known journalist from Belarus, answered these and other questions in an interview with

- Nikolai, you named Max Ebong the best Belarusian player, while the ambitions of his club are declining every year. At the moment, is there a demand for Ebong from foreign clubs, and do you think he is comfortable playing in Kazakhstan?

- Indeed, I called Ebong the best Belarusian player in 2021, but this is rather conditional, because over the past 5-6 years in Belarus it is difficult to choose the best player who would play in a top club or European championship - the choice is small.

If you analyze, Vitaliy Lisakovich mostly came on as a substitute in the Moscow "Lokomotiv", Ilya Shkurin did not always play in the Kiev "Dynamo", but Max Ebong stood out here - he was a base player in "Astana", which fought for the championship. This is where our prominent foreign players end and only those who play in the Belarusian championship remain, but I am a little skeptical about the level of our league in recent years.

Ebong is a really talented football player, he has a good future - it can be connected both with the top clubs of the championship of Kazakhstan, and with moving to the European championship. He is quite young, there are data, character - although I personally do not know him, but he could potentially play in the clubs of Belgium, Denmark, Sweden. I admit, and in more status European leagues. But so far I see more prospects in him than in Lisakovich and Shkurin.

- Defender Artem Rakhmanov moved to Astana. Could you tell us more about him, what are his strengths and weaknesses? Why was he only recently (although he is 31 years old) played for the national team of Belarus?

- Regarding the national team of Belarus - there have been a variety of experiments and transformations in recent years, it is quite difficult to logically explain how players are invited there. About 60 players have been featured in the national team over the past couple of years. I don’t see any regularity in the formation of the composition, and I don’t even try to look for a meaning.

Rakhmanov was called up in a situation where there were many injuries to those players who were called up earlier, and other candidates were written off long ago. And then such players appeared in 30 years, like Rakhmanov, Yudenkov, Sadovnichiy (by the way, he also played in Kazakhstan). To some extent, their challenge is a coincidence.

If we talk about Artyom's qualities, this is a gaming experience, first of all, plus he makes a positive impression as a person. In terms of playing qualities - discipline, positioning and, probably, the ability to play in a formation with three central defenders, this is the most optimal combination for him. I judge by the matches of the Brest Rukh, first of all. I would not like to describe the negative aspects, I just wish Artem good luck.

- Alexander Sednev will most likely leave Ordabasy. Will he return to Belarus or try again to find a job in the championship of Kazakhstan?

- Alexander Sednev is well acquainted with the championship of Kazakhstan, his strengths have already been appreciated there. I think he will try to stay in Kazakhstan, because there are no teams in Belarus that would suit Sednev. There is a period of reforms in Belarusian football, one of them is extremely painful for the clubs, the formation of squads - a salary cap has been introduced for coaches and football players. For players, the ceiling is 16,000 Belarusian rubles (that's about 6,000 dollars), and this is for those who have played at least 50 percent of the matches for the Belarusian national team over the past two years, plus three legionnaires can get that much. For all the rest, the salary is no more than eight thousand Belarusian rubles, and the team ceiling for salaries per month is no more than 150 thousand Belarusian rubles. It is certainly unattractive for those who meet the level to earn more. So now almost everyone is leaving. So from these positions, it is unlikely that Alexander Sednev would want to assemble a team from the bottom of the barrel under such modest conditions. Yes, and if the person of the coach was mentioned, then only as an option for BATE, but they have already decided on a new head coach.

- There was information that Denis Polyakov would move from Kairat to Astana. Is this another fact that high-quality Belarusian football players prefer to play in the championship of Kazakhstan because of higher funding?

- Yes. There is no talk about returning to the Belarusian championship, at the moment there are three or four teams that can set goals for themselves. But even they have their difficulties. It is possible that Shakhtar Soligorsk will have financial problems due to European sanctions against the main sponsor - Belaruskali. So far, the situation with the staffing of Dynamo Minsk is not entirely clear. BATE loses more in the offseason than it is ready to sign someone. In general, at the moment there is simply nowhere to return.- If Kazakhstan remains in Division C of the League of Nations, then it will have to play with Belarus in the same group. How do you assess the current balance of power between these teams? And what do you think, are there any chances for Kazakhstan or Belarus to get ahead of the group favorite - the Slovakian team?

- It will be problematic for Kazakhstan and Belarus to beat the Slovakian team - frankly speaking, I don't believe in it, based on the latest results shown by both teams. This cycle of the League of Nations can be entered as a tournament where someone will try to surprise, to score the maximum number of points. In June there will be a very busy schedule of the League of Nations games - it will be difficult for the Belarusian national team to withstand such a schedule.

As for the potential confrontation between the national teams of Belarus and Kazakhstan, these are two comparable teams in terms of class, development, tight matches are expected, where everything can be decided by one mistake. Six months before these meetings, I would not single out a favorite, we will wait for the matches.

We have a salary ceiling, so everyone is leaving. Belarusian journalist