Damn these Belorussian-Russian-Polish spelling rules. So far I thought the city was called Borisov, and now I found out, it is actually Barysaw, but please, don't ask me to write it here with Belorussian Cyrillic characters as well.
Even the trip itself wasn't smooth. The plane to Minsk was to leave at 10:20 from the Belgrade airport, instead it left at 12:30. Never mind, the Boeing 737 was big, modern, comfortable, and even this 2-hour-long delay couldn't break down the boys' high spirit.
Then they arrived in Minsk and the torture began.
Even almost 2 hours after the arrival the team could not leave the airport. Not just the players and trainers, but also all those who travelled together with Partizan: journalists, family members and others who accompanied them.
The first 10 passengers of the plane could go through the passport control with no problem. Afterwards the local officers told all the others that withouth health insurance they are not able to stay in the country.
Nobody has informed the team about it. Nobody ever mentioned any obligatory health insurance. Partizan had gotten in touch with Bate Borisov earlier and this health insurance didn’t even come into question. Why would anybody need any extra health insurance beside the big bunch of signatures of sports physicians? Even the Belorussian embassy ensured Partizan that they would need only their passports, not even visa would be needed.
After all this an officer appeared and Partizan was informed with a demure smile that they can buy this health insurance at the airport, for 2 euros (!) per person. There wasn’t any other solution, so everyone had to pay 2 euros to be able to go through the passport control - and to stand there while all the bureaucracy was done.
Interesting that Balažic, Bojinov and Bandalovski could allegedly get through all controls and officers without any extra insurance. I have a shrewd guess that their nice, crispy passport with the European Union-emblem had a deep impression at the officers.
After all this the team stayed in Minsk for training, while head coach Zoran Milinković and Nikola Trujić travelled to Borisov, a city 50 km to the northeast for a press conference.
The match against Bate Borisov starts tomorrow at 20:45. ArenaSport 3 broadcasts it live.
(Unmarked photos: Facebook/Fudbalski klub Partizan)