The formal reason for saying goodbye to the 56-year-old specialist is the expiration of the contract.

The President of the Handball Federation of Russia, Sergey Shishkarev announced the decision not to renew the contract with the head coach of the country's women's national team, Alexey Alekseev, who led our team to the silver medals of the Tokyo Olympics. After the end of the main tournament of the year, Shishkarev took a break, but eventually came to the conclusion that the team needed a new mentor.  Alekseev has worked in this position since February 2021, and during the Olympic tournament was severely criticized by Shishkarev.

We are looking for a "lighter", a Russian coach

- On August 31, Alekseev's contract ended, - Shishkarev explained the incident to journalists.  - We have notified the coach that he will not continue to work with the national team. The team will be seriously rejuvenated, it will be renewed by two-thirds. Therefore, we want to invite a younger specialist who is inclined to apply modern techniques to interact with a complex scientific group. We are looking for a "lighter"! There are several candidates, including foreigners. But I would like to see a Russian coach in this post. The deadline for the decision is September 29 when the executive committee of the HFR will take place. Then we will announce both the expanded squad and the name of the head coach.  But if suddenly we do not have time to finally agree, the qualifying matches of the European Championship and, possibly, the World Championship will be played by the team with the acting one.  Now, this option cannot be ruled out.

Alexey Alekseev joined the coaching staff of the Russian national team in the fall of 2016. He helped Evgeny Trefilov and Ambros Martin, becoming the silver medalist of Euro 2018 and the bronze medalist of the 2019 World Championship.  In December 2020, during the European Championship, Alekseev, after the emergency resignation of the Spanish specialist, was appointed acting head coach and in the new status won the match for fifth place. In February 2021, the executive committee of the HFR approved Alekseev in this post until the end of the Olympic cycle. In March 2021, the Russian women's team won three matches out of three in qualifying in Hungary and won a ticket to the Olympic Games. In Tokyo, after a draw with Brazil and defeat from Sweden, our team won five victories in a row, including over the strongest national team of Norway, and reached the final, where it lost to the French team.

“On behalf of the Russian Handball Federation, I would like to thank Alexey Alekseev for his work,” stressed the head of the HFR.  - He headed the national team when there was almost no time left before the Olympic qualification. Taking on such a responsibility is worth a lot, even since Alekseev has been a member of the coaching staff for several years. This is a strong male act. And the coach coped with the task. There were many nuances, a difficult path, but the result will remain in history - the silver medals of the Olympic Games. The great team confirmed its status and did it under the leadership of Alekseev. So, I am very grateful to him.

It is necessary for the strong to support the weak.

 After the defeat in the Olympic final, some of our handball players complained about excessive physical exertion during the preparatory camp. It was clearly a stone in the head coach's garden. However, Sergey Shishkarev immediately stood up for the mentor and criticized the athletes.

- All those who fulfilled the requirements and worked in good faith at the pre-season training camp in Sochi and Novogorsk played great at the Olympics, - said Shishkarev.  - And he did not spit into the past, did not throw a stone back and did not reproach that someone was tortured by 25-kilometer races. There were no such races, this is a fiction, a fiction. Moreover, I will call it a slander. They didn’t run more than 13 kilometers a day during training. And Evgeny Vasilyevich Trefilov confirmed that the training load is one and a half to two times higher than the playing one - this is normal.”

 At the same time, the head of the federation believes that the psychological state of the national team at the Olympics left much to be desired.

“The team was not as friendly and united as in Rio 2016 due to a huge number of factors. One of them is that the players should not be accommodated according to the principle of "girlfriend with girlfriend", especially at the training camp. We need to settle them so that other communications are born, so that the strong support the weak, so that they have human support, so that they share their experience,” - TASS quotes Shishkarev.

Only a month left

However, the key claim against Alekseev may lie in the words about the search for the "lighter".  In Tokyo, this role was played by Trefilov, who was appointed as a team consultant and cheered the handball players from the stands.  Alekseev himself behaved quite unemotionally, even in those moments when, after the match with the Spaniards, he was harshly criticized by Shishkarev. The head of the FGR then promised to give the mentor "brains" for the fact that the head coach used the reservists poorly.

“It was a well-deserved criticism,” -  Alekseev said after the Olympics in an interview with SE.  - And to be honest, there was nothing to praise for. We must be understanding, everything is fine. Our job is to listen and do our job further.  There have never been any grievances and there is no. There were many words of support - many thanks for that. Fans and acquaintances worried about us, said that everything was fine. It is normal for Russians. First, create difficulties for yourself, and then heroically overcome them.

However, the style and result of overcoming these difficulties probably did not suit the leadership of our handball.  And now another specialist will deal with the correction of the shortcomings.  He's running out of time.  The Russian women's national team will play the next match exactly one month later - on October 6. In qualifying for Euro 2022, our team in Moscow at the Dynamo volleyball arena will host the Swiss national team. On October 9, our handball players will play at a party with Lithuania. In December 2021, the Russian national team will go with a new coach to the World Championship in Spain.

Source – Sport-Express. 07.09.2021