Belarus have yet to experience major success at an international competition, though they have developed dramatically in recent years. Following their best-ever EHF EURO result of eighth in 1994, the team did not qualify again until 2008, when they finished 15th.
Another break of six years followed before Belarus qualified for the final EURO tournament again, but now they have done so three editions in a row. At both the 2014 and 2016 events, Belarus made it to the main round. At the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark they ranked 12th, and improved their result to 10th in 2016 with convincing performances that caught attention.
A stand-out in Belarus’ game at the EURO 2016 was the age of their players. Led by captain and centre back Barys Pukhouski, rising talents such as 21-year-old left back Uladzislau Kulesh and 23-year-old goalkeeper Viachaslau Saldatsenka showed they are players to watch – and that their national side is also.
The squad for the World Championship 2017, where Belarus qualified for the round of 16 in their fourth participation at the event, had an average age of 26 – with nine out of 16 players aged 25 or under in January 2017.
Centre back Barys Pukhouski plays a key role in the national team, for which he has been a captain since 2016. He has played 165 matches and scored 723 goals for Belarus, which is the best all-time result in the national team.
The centre back is also a crucial player for his club side, VELUX EHF Champions League team HC Motor Zaporozhye, with whom he won the Ukrainian Supercup and the Ukrainian Cup in 2015/16, as well as the Ukrainian championship in 2015/16 and 2016/17. He was elected the Most Valuable Player of the Ukrainian Handball Championship in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Prior to joining Motor, Pukhouski played at the same club coach Chevtsov once did – SKA Minsk, from 2002 to 2013, competing in the EHF Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. He won the Belarusian Cup in 2006 with SKA, followed by the Challenge Cup in 2013.
Right back Siarhei Shylovich has played 122 matches for Belarus, tallying 388 goals. As the national team have yet to win a medal at a major international tournament, his biggest successes have been on a club level.
Playing for Dinamo Minsk, Shylovich won the Belarusian Cup in 2010 and claimed the Belarusian championship title three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He raised the Challenge Cup in 2013 with SKA Minsk, alongside national team captain Pukhouski.
Shylovich transferred to HC Meshkov Brest in 2014, with whom he gained further VELUX EHF Champions League experience after playing his first matches in Europe’s premier competition for Dinamo. With Meshkov Brest, he won the Belarusian Cup four years in a row, from 2014 to 2017, and claimed the domestic championship title every season from 2013/14 to 2016/17.
Iouri Chevtsov has been Belarus head coach since 2009, after his own successful playing career for SKA (1977-1991) and one season in Germany with Blau-Weiss Spandau. It was in Germany that Chevtsov started his coaching career, working with the likes of TUSEM and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
While playing for the USSR, Chevtsov became world champion in 1982 and won Olympic gold in 1988. As a player, he was champion of the USSR six times from 1981 to 1989, three-time winner of the European Champions Cup (1987, 1989, 1990), two-time winner of the Cup Winners’ Cup (1983, 1988), and 1989 Supercup champion.
As a coach of German clubs, he claimed the national title and the German Cup in 1997, along with the EHF Cup 2005.
Chevtsov has led Belarus at three World Championships, achieving their second-best ranking of 11th at the most recent edition in January 2017, after finishing ninth in 1995. He was also at the helm at the EHF EURO 2014 and 2016, where Belarus placed 12th and 10th, respectively.
Past Performance at EHF EURO events