herald

Friday 18 January 2019

Georgians get ready

GEORGIA manager Temuri Ketsbaia says his side are determined to get off to a positive start in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign at home to Ireland next Sunday.

The Georgians finished second from bottom in their qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup, just one point ahead of bottom side Belarus. But their home record was good: they beat Belarus in Tbilisi, held France to a 0-0 draw and had narrow 1-0 defeats at home to Spain and Finland, Spain scoring their only goal four minutes from time.

"We will prepare well to make sure we have a good start to the campaign," says Ketsbaia (above), the ex-Newcastle United man in charge of Georgia.

Ketsbaia has assembled his home-based players involved with the national team at a training camp in Georgia over the last week and he was announce the final squad, adding in the foreign-based players, later today once he assesses their fitness.

"Ireland have good players but so do we, we will know a lot more after Sunday's game."

The Dutch league was uppermost in his mind yesterday, Ketsbaia keeping a close eye on Vitesse Arnhem's game against PSV as key defender and national team captain Guram Kashia and forward Valeri Kazaishvili were in action.

He also faces a nervous wait as No. 1 keeper Giorgo Loria plays for his club in Greece tonight before linking up with the squad. So far this year the Georgians have played three senior friendly games, beating Liechtenstein and Saudi Arabia while losing to the UAE.

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