The 37-year-old Shota Arveladze retired in 2008 having scored nearly 300 league goals as well as a record 26 for Georgia. He went straight from the playing field to the bench at AZ Alkmaar, where he worked as one of Louis van Gaal's assistants prior to the Dutchman's move to FC Bayern München and continued his apprenticeship under Ronald Koeman and Dick Advocaat last season.
As a player Arveladze enjoyed an Indian summer with AZ on the pitch, then won the title in his first season on the bench there. He remains grateful for his time at the Alkmaar club. "I spent four unforgettable seasons there," he told UEFA.com. "At first, I felt the warmth there as a player and then a little later I was allowed to make my first steps as a coach at AZ. I have Van Gaal and the whole club board to thank for that."
Arveladze has now left that familiar environment to head back to Turkey, where he enjoyed several great seasons at Trabzonspor under the club's current coach Şenol Güneş, winning the 1995 Turkish Cup and the 1995/96 league top-scorer prize. "It will be exciting to play them," Arveladze said. "I will give Şenol Güneş a call. I am very much obliged to him. Being rivals will not harm our relationship."
The Trabzonspor connection helped Arveladze to get the top job at Kayserispor, who finished eighth in Turkey last season. "Sporting director Süleyman Hurma has known me for quite a while because he was at Trabzonspor when I played there," explained Arveladze. "I also played with Kayserispor's last coach, Tolunay Kafkas, there and when he left for Gaziantepspor, he recommended me as his replacement."
Having negotiated terms with Kayserispor, including the appointment of another of Van Gaal's old back-room boys, Gerard van der Lem, as his assistant, Arveladze's first battle will be to fashion a new side in his own image. "Six players have already left the club, and last season's Turkish top scorer Ariza Makukula is one of them," he said. "It will definitely be a new team next season."
Arveladze helped secure Temuri Ketsbaia's appointment as Georgia coach, and hoped his old international team-mate could help his nation to begin to fulfil their footballing potential. "It is the first step towards qualifying for a EURO or a World Cup one day," said Arveladze. "We don't have the resources of some more advanced countries; there only 20,000 players in Georgia, most of them amateurs."
The two coaches both served their footballing apprenticeship in the Georgian leagues, and while top local talents tend to be snapped up by foreign clubs very early, Arveladze believes Ketsbaia will still have his ear close to the ground. "Players from the domestic league are not generally up to the standard of the national team, but if such a player appears, Ketsbaia will be happy to give him a chance," he said.