Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pakhtakor (Tashkent) should have been presented before the Ukrainians by right: they won the Second Division. However, Shakhtyor were to play bigger role in Soviet football in the next years. Besides, Pakhtakor never played big role in Soviet football – the club from the capital of then Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan usually dwelled near the bottom of the First Division, a prime candidate for relegation. And relegation they often experienced… followed by quick return.
Second Division champions in 1972:
Front, left to right: V. Hadzipanagis, V. Varyukhin, A. Govorov, L. Morozov, A. Ivankov, M. An, Yu. Ivanov.
Top: V. D. Solovyov – coach, V. I. Kanevsky – assistant coach, A. Lisakovsky, B. Abduraimov – captain, R. Turgunov, V. Shtern, B. Ishtenko, Yu. Basov, V. Fedorov, B. Ibragimov, Yu. Pshenichnikov, V. Kuzmin, H. T. Rakhmatullaev – assistant coach, D. I. Shegay – director of the team.
In some aspects, more interesting team than Shakhtyor – the Ukrainians were… well, Ukrainians. Pakhtakor hardly had any Uzbek players and there was good reason for that: Tashkent was a city where various ‘undesirable’ Soviet citizens were settled. The citizens had no say in the matter… and not only Soviet citizens – foreign Communists taking refuge in USSR often ended in Tashkent. Out of sight… suspect to Soviet authorities. Amusing that, yet real and presented in the squad above – various Russians, but also a Greek, a German, and a Korean. Only two Uzbeks… Anyway, there is more curious stuff.
As a whole, the team was mixed bag of old players nearing retirement such as one of the best Soviet goalies in the 1960s Yury Pshenichnikov, recruited by Pakhtakor when other clubs were no longer interested in his services. Berador Abduraimov, the other veteran, was different story – he was local and is considered the best Uzbek player of all time.
Abduraimov was the top goal scorer of the Second Division in 1972 with astonishing 34 goals. But it was hardly big surprise – Abduraimov shared the same position with 3 other players (none from a big club!) in the Soviet First Division in 1968 with 22 goals. In Tashkent he was a living legend – and along with Ibragimov, the only Uzbeks in the Uzbek team.