Dinamo Minsk surprised at poor roads and high profile police presence

Dinamo Minsk at the Brandywell on Thursday.
Dinamo Minsk at the Brandywell on Thursday.

Dinamo Minsk expressed surprise at the poor quality of the roads between Derry and Belfast and the omnipresence of police when they travelled to the city to take on Derry City F.C. in the Europa League on the 'Twelfth' last week.

In a statement issued on the club's official website, Dinamo, who famously won the Soviet Union title in 1982, declared that the north's infrastructure did not compare favourably with that enjoyed in Aleksandr Lukashenko's Eastern European republic.

Referring to the squad's arrival in Belfast, the club remarked: "The airport in this Irish town is very modest. We had to wait for some time in the plane until we got our turn to be taken by one of two available buses.

"Well, we had to wait only 10 or so minutes, so no problem. While we have been waiting passengers from the nearby planes were with interest making pictures of our branded Belavia Embraer [the club's aircraft]."

The below-par quality of the road connection between Derry and Belfast raised further eyebrows with the club stating that they felt they were still on minor suburban roads in the Belarussian capital when they travelled up the A6 last Wednesday.

"A hundred kilometres trip by bus from Belfast to Derry was normal but still a bit surprising. There is no direct road between the cities and we had to use suburban roads.

"Sometimes it seemed that we are still at home, somewhere in Minsk suburbs, if only not signs with distance in miles and a left side drive. Only 15 miles to Derry we switched to the usual four lanes highway."

The Dinamo travelling contingent were taken aback with the tensions associated with the 'Twelfth' in Derry and the high profile presence of the PSNI on the streets.

"Have you ever heard about the Orange march, which annually takes place in Ireland on July 12? Orange marches in Belfast and Ulster - it is always a confrontation between Catholics and Protestants and a headache for local police.

"We understood this quite soon when we saw a burned down truck in Derry....the police was everywhere in the streets," the club said.