Since the below is about the next championship :
by Kestutis Gimbutas
Eduard Malofeev's appointment as the new coach of deposed Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas has been the big news of the winter so far as clubs look forward to the 2006 season.
The Belarussian, now 63 years old, had coached his national team and FC Dinamo Minsk before leaving his most recent job as head of the youth academy at FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk. MTZ-RIPO and Kaunas are owned by the same man - Vladimir Romanov, who also holds a controlling stake in Scottish club Heart of Midlothian FC.
Kaunas, who have signed Nerijus Radžius from Russian side FC Volgar-Gazprom Astrahan, will be competing in the Commonwealth Cup - the competition which brings together all of the champions of the former Soviet republics - in place of FK Ekranas, who chose not to compete.
Another veteran coach has been put in charge at FK Vetra. A Russian with dual German citizenship, Edgar Gess briefly coached FC Alania Vladikavkaz last season but made his name by winning the 1979 Soviet title as coach of FC Spartak Moskva. His sporting director at Vetra will be Olympic champion goalkeeper Aleksei Prudnikov.
Vetra have signalled their intention to battle for the title this season after founder and club president Romas Stašauskas struck a deal with Russian sponsors Gorodets, also one of the partners of FC Lokomotiv Moskva. Žalgiris are feeling similarly optimistic after being taken over by Lithuania's biggest metal merchants.
Arminas Narbekovas, voted Lithuania's player of the century, has become the new club president at Žalgiris while the club have welcomed back former player Igoris Pankratjevas, who led Klaipeda-based FK Atlantas for most of last season, as their new coach.
The transfer market has thus far been reasonably quiet with champions FK Ekranas signing 30-year-old Latvian midfielder Ruslans Mihalcuks after a year at FK Ventspils. Experienced striker Egidijus Varnas has joined the club from A Lyga rivals KFK Šiauliai.
Meanwhile, former Žalgiris players Tomas Mikuckis and Karolis Jasaitis have joined Marijampole-based FK Suduva and eight players from the Czech Republic and Brazil have headed to FK Vilnius on trial as they prepare for the start of the new campaign in April.
However, how many teams will be involved is still a mystery. There were ten teams in last season's competition, but with second division champions FK Alytis having withdrawn after failing to meet the criteria for top-flight sides and FK Nevežis facing financial troubles, there may be fewer in 2006.