Pioneers of the national team of Ukraine: the fate of participants in the historic match

We are talking about the players who opened the first page of the history of the national team of Ukraine.

April 29 marks the 28th anniversary of the first match of the national team of Ukraine. Then in Uzhgorod at the stadium "Vanguard" our team lost to Hungary - 1: 3. Let's try to understand who and how the fate in the future…

The starting lineup

Igor KUTEPOV (Dynamo, in the national team of Ukraine - 4 matches)

After the first match he did not play for the national team of Ukraine for more than a year, in October 1993 he played three more matches during the American tour with a captain's armband, which put an end to the career of the national team goalkeeper. In 1994 he went from Kyiv to Russia, played in Tyumen, Moscow (CSKA), Rostov and Shcholkov. In 2000, he hung his shoes on a nail. For several years he worked as a goalkeeping coach at CSKA Moscow. In 2003 he returned to his native Kharkiv, became the director of the Metalist school, and in 2011 he became the club's academy. He worked as a goalkeeping coach in the youth national team of Ukraine (2012-2015), implements projects in the field of children's and youth football.

Oleg LUZHNYI (Dynamo, in the national team of Ukraine - 52 matches)

He achieved the greatest success in the first team of the national team of Ukraine. In 1989-1990 he managed to play eight matches for the USSR national team and had good experience. Over time, he became captain of the blue and yellow, led the team on the field in this status 39 times. He participated in five qualifying tournaments - the European Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2004, the World Championships in 1998 and 2002. In 1999, the 31-year-old Luzhny transferred to London's Arsenal, with whom he became the English champion, two-time FA Cup winner, UEFA Cup finalist. He started his coaching career in Latvia, in 2006-2012 he worked at the headquarters of Dynamo Kyiv, and several times took over the leadership of the team. He independently headed Tavriya (2012-2013), in 2016 he held a somewhat strange position of head coach of the whole club in the Carpathians. From the summer of 2017 to August 2019, he again worked as an assistant to the head coach of Dynamo, but, unlike Maxim Shatsky, he did not go with Alexander Hatskevich to the Russian Rotor.

Yuriy NIKIFOROV (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 3 matches)

In 1987 he became the world champion among 17-year-olds and received the prize for the best scorer, but gradually retrained as a defender. In 1992 he played four matches for the CIS national team and three for the Ukrainian national team, and in September 1993 he made his debut in the Russian national team, where he got from Spartak Moscow. He attended the 1994 World Cup, Euro 1996 and the 2002 World Cup. From "Spartak" in 1996 he moved to the Spanish "Sporting", played in the Netherlands and Japan. In 2005 he left football, played for the Russian beach team, did business in Spain, played for veterans of the club from Gijon. In 2014 he studied at the school of coaches, worked in Kazakhstan, Kuban, in 2017-2019 - assistant head coach of Moscow "Dynamo-2" and "Dynamo". He has been living in Gijon since October 2019.

Serhiy BEZHENAR (Dnipro) in the national team of Ukraine - 23 matches, 1 goal)

In his youth, he was considered a star along with his peers Nikiforov, but from the very beginning he played in the center of defense. He was famous for a powerful shot, a good long pass. He played three matches for the national team with a captain's armband. In the winter of 1995 he moved from Dnipro to Dynamo, being one of the strongest defenders in Ukraine. Until the end of 1997 he played in the "base" of the national team, played two cycles - Euro-1996 and World Cup-1998. In 1998, Vorskla, CSKA Kyiv, Turkey, Russia, and Kazakhstan began to roam the world. In 2004 he finished his career in the club of the second league "Fakel" (Ivano-Frankivsk). Works at the academy of Kyiv "Dynamo" (with breaks), in the season 2019/2020 - with the U-17 team (boys born in 2003).

Serhiy TRETYAK (Chornomorets, in the national team of Ukraine - 2 matches)

The native of Kherson was the oldest member of the national team - 28 years old. In the second match he was the captain. But he did not stay long in the team, emigrating to Israel in the summer of 1992, of which he is now a citizen. Until 2000, he played for Beitar from Jerusalem, becoming one of the legendary players in the history of the club. He won the Israeli championship three times as a footballer - in 1993, 1997 and 1998, then twice - as an assistant to the head coach of "Beitar" (2007, 2008). He also worked with young people. But the leadership of the club changed, and Tretyak was fired.

Serhiy KOVALETS (Dynamo, in the national team of Ukraine - 10 matches)

Paradoxically, one of the brightest playmakers of Ukraine in the 1990s in the national team played not so many matches (10) and took part in only one qualifying tournament - Euro-1996. Once he led the team to the field with a captain's armband. In his club career he repeatedly changed his residence permit, in the Ukrainian championship he played in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Zaporizhia, Lutsk and Boryspil. In Boryspil in 2005 he moved to the position of coach, the same year he became an assistant to Myron Markevich in "Metalist". Since 2008 he has been working independently. He headed Lviv, Oleksandriya, Obolon, Slovakia's Tatran, Zaporizhia's Metalurh, and Ukraine's youth team. In 2016-2017 he coached the Lithuanian "Trakai", in 2017-2018 - again "Tatran", in 2018-2019 - "Obolon-Brovar".

Ilya Tsymbalar (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 3 matches)

In early 1993, he moved to Spartak Moscow and decided to play for the Russian national team, with which he attended the 1994 World Cup and Euro 1996. The best Russian footballer was courted in the top clubs of Europe in 1995, but in Spartak he reached the age of 30, in 2000 he joined Lokomotiv, and in 2002 he ended his career in Anzhi. From 2003 to 2011 he worked as a coach in Russian clubs, independently led teams from Ryazan and Nizhny Novgorod. Then he played for veterans. He died on December 28, 2013 in Odessa.

Yuriy SHELEPNYTSKY (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 1 match)

The first captain in the history of the national team of Ukraine no longer played for her, although he was at a very productive age - 27 years. In the summer of 1992 he went to Turkey. There Shelepnytsky played for "Trabzonspor" (became a bronze medalist of the championship), "Altai" and "Denizlispor" until 1998, and then returned to his homeland - to "Bukovina", which he gave another six years of career. He worked there as a coach, in 2015 he headed the amateur "Lighthouse", coaches children in "Bukovina", and in March 2016 he was elected president of the Children's and Youth Football League (Chernivtsi region).

Oleg SALENKO (Dynamo, in the national team of Ukraine - 1 match)

The Leningrad-born footballer played one match for the Ukrainian national team, and in 1993, having moved from Dynamo Kyiv to Logrones, Spain, he made his debut for the Russian national team. The peak of his career came at the 1994 World Cup, where the 25-year-old striker scored five goals in a match against Cameroon (World Cup record). In total, he scored six goals in that tournament and won the Golden Boot, and then moved to Valencia. But then it began to decline. In 1995, Salenko moved to Scotland, played in Turkey and Poland, had knee problems, and hung his shoes on a nail early. He lives in Kyiv. He coached the national team of Ukraine in beach soccer, amateur club "Tiger" from Brovary district of Kyiv region, acts as an expert, plays for the team of football stars of Ukraine.

Serhiy POGODIN (Shakhtar, in the national team of Ukraine - 1 match)

He turned 24 on the day of the match with Hungary, but such symbolism did not help him stay in the national team of Ukraine. After Shakhtar, the promising footballer (he was taken from Zorya to Dynamo Kyiv in the late 1980s) played in the Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Israel. He played three matches in the Primera Division for Merida and scored one goal. In 1998 he came to his homeland to end his career. In 2002 he joined the amateurs, in 2007 he became the playing coach of the second league team "Titan" (Donetsk) for two seasons. Then he played again in the championships of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In the summer of 2016, he presented prizes to participants of the Come on, Play project as a veteran of Shakhtar. In 2019, he played for Shakhtar veterans in various exhibition matches.

Serhiy SHCHERBAKOV (Shakhtar), in the national team of Ukraine - 2 matches)

The youngest football player in that team finished his career earlier than anyone else. Although the best scorer of the 1991 World Cup predicted a very bright future. PSV was interested in him, but the 21-year-old Shakhtar striker found himself in Portuguese Sporting, where he played alongside Figo and Balakov. On December 14, 1993, after the farewell feast of English coach Bobby Robson, a tragedy occurred. Scherbakov was involved in a serious accident in which he received a fracture of the spine and paralysis of both legs. He moved to a wheelchair, underwent many operations. In 1998 he was hired by the selection department of the Moscow "Locomotive".


Yuriy SAK (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 10 matches, 1 goal)

Unlike Nikiforov and Tsimbalar, after joining Spartak Moscow in 1994, he did not betray Ukraine and continued to play for our national team. The only goal was scored in June 1994 by the Bulgarian team (1: 1) in the final sparring of the future semifinalist of the World Cup in the United States on the eve of the final tournament. Stoichkov, Lechkov, Balakov, Ivanov, Sirakov and other stars played for the Bulgarians. In 2002 he finished his playing career. For 15 years he worked as a coach in 10 clubs (eight professional, two - amateur). The last professional team is the first-league Miner-Sport (Horishni Plavni). Then he worked in youth football ("Athletic" Odessa).

Ivan HETSKO (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 4 matches, 1 goal)

Author of the first goal in the history of the national team of Ukraine. Paradoxically, in the USSR national team in 1990 alone he played more matches (5) than in the Ukrainian national team in a few years (4). He scored 150 goals for clubs in Ukraine, Israel and Russia. More - only six forwards of domestic football (Ponomarev, Blokhin, Protasov, Shevchenko, Rebrov and Sparrow). But the ball in Uzhgorod remained the only one for him for the national team. He may have been influenced by his departure abroad, but even after his return he played only two matches in 1997. In 2001 he was involved in a car accident, after which he was unable to return to the previous level. The coaching career at the professional level has not developed, but he succeeds in the role of an expert. He also coaches children at the Athletic school in Odessa.

Serhiy HUSYEV (Chornomorets), in the national team of Ukraine - 5 matches)

In 1992 he returned to his native Odessa on lease in Tiraspol, where he scored 25 goals for Tiligul during the season, and established himself in the "base" of "Chernomorets". Until 1993 inclusive, he was invited to the national team of Ukraine, but failed to show his scoring skills. Although he became the best sniper of the second championship of Ukraine (17 goals in the 1992/1993 season). Since 1993 he has visited Turkey, Israel, Russia, and returned to Ukraine. Until recently, he was a coach at Chornomorets Sports School.

Remained in stock

Victor GRISHKO (Chornomorets)

He never played for the national team of Ukraine. The most experienced in the application of that team - 30 years at the time of the match. In the summer of 1992 he went to Trabzonspor, in 1996 he returned. He played for "Nikolaev", then - for teams of Odessa region. In 1999, he even returned to the "Chernomorets", which made its way back to the major leagues. In 2001, he began his coaching career at Ovidiopol's Dniester, where he ended his playing career. Then he returned to Chornomorets, where he held many different positions - including director of SDYUSHOR and coach. In 2014 he was re-elected for the third term chairman of the Football Federation of Odessa.

Yevhen DRAHUNOV (Shakhtar, in the national team of Ukraine - 2 matches)

An experienced defender, Shakhtar captain, in whose main squad he has played since 1985. He made his national team debut on June 27, 1992. In 1993 he moved to Tavriya, in 1994 he left Ukraine - he played in Russia (Lada, Kuban, Shinnik) and Germany (Rot-Weiss Erfurt, Spandauer, Ludwigsfelder) . In 2000 he returned to Ukraine, played one match for Zorya in the second league. Died September 10, 2001 - stroke. He was only 37…

Andrii ANNENKOV (Dynamo), in the national team of Ukraine - 1 match)

He made his debut in the national team of Ukraine on August 26, 1992, no longer played in it. In 1990 he managed to become the champion of the USSR, after the departure of Dynamo stars abroad until 1992 he was one of the most experienced in the ranks of Kiev. In 1996 he left Dynamo, changed many clubs in Ukraine (Dnipro, Kryvbas, CSKA, Borisfen), played in Russia (Uralan) and Kazakhstan (Irtysh). He worked as an assistant head coach in "Borisfen", "Metallurg" D, "Prince". He coached the youth team at Kyiv's Arsenal, and when the club was revived in 2014, he led the first team. In the fall of 2016, he transferred to the Dynamo School named after Valery Lobanovsky, coaches players born in 2001. In 2019, he became the U-20 world champion as a member of the Ukrainian national team, helping Oleksandr Petrakov as an assistant.

Serhiy ZAYETS (Dynamo)

He never played for the national team of Ukraine. He was considered a very promising football player, played in the youth national team of the USSR, in 1989 at the age of 20 confidently entered the "base" of "Dynamo", which still played the legends of the mid-1980s, but quickly went out of orbit. In 1993 he found himself in Vinnytsia's Niva, and in 1994 in Uralmash. At the age of 26 he ended his career due to injuries. There is little information about him - it is known that until recently he worked as a children's coach in Kyiv. In 2017-2018, he led the Canadian team of the Ukrainian diaspora - "Vorkuta", which in 2018 became the champion of the Canadian Football League.

Yuriy MOROZ (Dynamo, in the national team of Ukraine - 1 match)

He made his national team debut on June 27, 1992. In 1993, he played for Veres, from where he soon went to Israel. In 1997 he found himself in Russia, in 2001 he returned to Ukraine, where he ended his career at Vorskla. Since 2004 he has worked with various youth national teams of Ukraine. He helped Yuri Kalitvintsev with the team born in 1990, which in 2009 became the European U-19 champion. Since 2014 he has been a coach in the Dynamo youth system. In recent seasons - the head coach of Dynamo U-21.

Yuriy DUDNYK (Metalurh C, in the national team of Ukraine - 2 matches)

During his rich career he changed a large number of clubs. In 1993 he found himself in CSKA Moscow, with whom he played in the Champions League, then returned to Zaporozhye. After that he changed the club 12 more times, some of which he returned to. He played for Banants in Armenia and hung his shoes on a nail only in 2007, when he was 39 years old. He worked as a coach at Cherkasy Dnipro, then returned to his native Zora, where until recently he led the U-19 team. Now he is a club selector.

Head Coach

Viktor PROKOPENKO (in the national team of Ukraine - 3 matches)

In the first match at the head of the national team, the head coach of Chornomorets openly preferred well-known wards from Odessa, but in the following matches the geography of the club's representation expanded significantly. Of the three matches under his leadership, the team did not win any (a draw and two defeats). But at the club level, things were better for him. "Chernomorets" twice, in 1992 and 1994, won the Cup of Ukraine, and Volgograd "Rotor" became a bronze (1996) and silver (1997) winner of the Russian championship. In 2000, Prokopenko headed Shakhtar, with whom he almost became the champion of Ukraine in 2001, after which he was finally recognized as the best among the others. He worked for Dynamo Moscow, returned to Shakhtar in 2003 as sports director, and introduced Mircea Lucescu to the case in May 2004. In March 2006 he became a People's Deputy of Ukraine, and on August 18, 2007 he died in Odesa - a blood clot broke off. 

In the photo, top row (from left to right): Oleg Luzhny, Serhiy Pogodin, Serhiy Bezhenar, Yuriy Nikiforov, Serhiy Shcherbakov, Ihor Kutepov, Yuriy Shelepnytsky, bottom row: Serhiy Tretyak, Serhiy Kovalets, Ilya Tsymbalar, Oleh Salenko.

24.03.2023 10:15

Oleksandr Pikhalyonok: "All that remains is to transfer all that we have worked on to the football field"

Midfielder of the Ukrainian national team Oleksandr Pikhalyonok spoke about the emotions of the...

23.03.2023 21:03

On the eve of the start of the Euro-2024 qualifiers, the Ukrainian national team defeated the English "Brentford B" in a sparring match

On Thursday, March 23, the national team of Ukraine held a sparring match with England...

23.03.2023 11:02

Georgy Sudakov: "We don't expect the English to be tired after the match with Italy"

Midfielder of the Ukrainian national team Heorhiy Sudakov talked about the work of the teams...

Subscribe to news