An unsuccessful start to the domestic football season cost Dmitry Khokhlov, who was appointed to it last spring, the coaching post in Sochi. Instead, the club will be led by Alexander Tochilin, who several years ago brought it to the Russian Premier League (RPL), and recently worked at the Sochi headquarters. He became the fourth coach of the Sochi team in a little over a year since Vladimir Fedotov left for CSKA: under him, this team made the main takeoff in its history, winning silver in the domestic championship in 2022.
Sochi announced the termination of cooperation “by mutual consent” of the parties with head coach Dmitry Khokhlov. This is the fourth coaching resignation that has occurred in the Russian Premier League during the current Russian championship. Before Khokhlov, Akhmat, Orenburg and Fakel parted with the mentors who started him - Sergei Tashuev, Jiri Yarosik and Vadim Evseev.
In all cases, personnel decisions of the club management were easily explained by unsuccessful results at the start of the season. The story with Dmitry Khokhlov does not fall out of this series. His dismissal took place the day after Sochi played an away match of the eighth round of the national championship with Spartak. In it, the visitors actually almost took a point, conceding the only goal in stoppage time of the second half. But the overall context is important. The defeat from Spartak was the third in a row for Sochi and the sixth in total in the championship. With only six points to their name, the team is deep in the basement of the standings. In the Russian Cup, Sochi’s results are also quite mediocre. He opened his performance at the group stage of the “RPL Path” with a win against “Fakel”, but then made two misfires, “purely”, losing in regulation time to “Orenburg” and in the penalty shootout to CSKA.
The resignation of Dmitry Khokhlov continued the grandiose coaching leapfrog at Sochi, which lasted just over a year. In the season before last, the club, which was not very highly rated, made a very impressive and very unexpected rise, winning silver in the Russian Championship. He achieved success under the leadership of Vladimir Fedotov. After the breakthrough, the Sochi team suffered losses due to interest in their key figures from the giants. CSKA lured Fedotov, with whom the army team also finished second in the championship in the previous season, and also took the national Cup, the flagship of Russian football, Zenit, the best defender Rodrigao and the best forward Mateo Cassierra.
The Sochi leadership tried to maintain the level with the help of a rather extraordinary appointment. The vacant position was filled by Vadim Garanin, who came from the second-highest ranking division and, due to the lack of a license of the highest category, even received the formal status of a senior coach. However, already in November 2022, Sochi fired Garanin amid failures in both domestic tournaments. In the championship, the club went to the winter break in ninth position, and in the Cup it found itself in the bottom, fourth line in the table of its group and prematurely lost its chances of continuing the fight in the playoffs.
Garanin's replacement turned out to be, on the contrary, a specialist with an excellent track record - Kurban Berdyev, who with Rubin Kazan twice, in 2008 and 2009, won gold in the Russian championship, won the Russian Cup in 2012, and once managed to play away in the Champions League beat Barcelona. But he also had the opportunity to work in Sochi for only a short time. In the Russian Championship after its restart, the Sochi team under Berdyev played only five matches. Their results came out strange. Sochi defeated two strong Moscow clubs - CSKA and Dynamo, but hopelessly, 0:4 and 0:3, lost to the middle peasants - Orenburg and Fakel, and then failed to cope with Wings of the Soviets. The veteran was fired, and his place in April went to Dmitry Khokhlov, a coach with a modest track record compared to Berdyev and yet at least much more experienced and famous than Vadim Garanin. With Khokhlov, the Sochi team finished modestly in the last championship, but managed to get into the top ten. The indicators of the current season hint that repeating such an outcome will not be an easy task for them now.
The decision was entrusted to 49-year-old Alexander Tochilin, whose coaching biography is closely connected with Sochi. It was Tochilin who led the club to the RPL in 2019, but such an achievement did not provide him with a bright continuation of his career in the form of a key post in some notable team. Tochilin worked in the lower divisions and constantly returned to the Sochi headquarters. He was, in fact, the right hand of both Vadim Garanin, for some time after his dismissal, while the club negotiated with Berdyev, leading the team in an acting capacity, and Dmitry Khokhlov.