Fixed, 28.5 (Sport 1)
Igor Shquevirin needed only a few seconds yesterday to reset himself and even throw out a few words in Hebrew. Still, it's not every day you suddenly get a call from Israel, and another from a sports journalist who wants to talk to you about football. Although he is still in the field, serving as an assistant coach in the capital city of Tashkent where he lives and from which he came to Israel in 1992, he still needed to refresh his memory a bit when I called for the big meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) in the eighth of the World Cup final between Israel and Uzbekistan.
When he arrived in Hapoel Tel Aviv in the summer of 1992, he was still part of the Soviet Union. He was considered the best striker in Uzbekistan and one of the leading players, and what he had to sell was quickly seen in the league in Israel as well. He played a season and a half at Hapoel Tel Aviv, then went on to Maccabi Netanya, and also had seasons with Bnei Yehuda, Maccabi Petah Tikva, Maccabi Herzliya and Maccabi Jaffa.
"In 1998 I left Israel. It's been 25 years, but Israel will always be my second home," said Shaquirin, half in Hebrew and half in English. "I loved every minute of Israel, I was there for six years and it was the best time of my career. If I have to choose the place that most enters my heart, then it's Maccabi Netanya. There I had a coach, Shmuel Perlman, whom I still dream about at night. Shmuel was the best man I've ever met, certainly in football, and I miss him very much."
Miss Netanya. Shaquirin(Photo: Maariv, Adi Avishai)
Do you know what the phone is about?
"I hope good things are honored."
The phone call to you is in honor of the meeting between Israel and Uzbekistan at the World Cup.
"Honestly, I haven't really followed the games until now. I know there's a game, and it's going to be a tough game for both teams."
Is there a favorite?
"I don't really know Israeli football today. I suppose you made progress, but we weren't left behind either. I think this game is completely 50-50, both teams in my opinion can win. Whoever comes more serious, calm and smart, will win the game and qualify for the quarterfinals."
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Beautiful years in Israel. Shaquirin, in the uniform of Hapoel Tel Aviv (Photo: Maariv, Adi Avishai)
Wandered between several teams in the Premier League. Shaquirin(Photo: Maariv, Adi Avishai)
How are you these days?
"I work in football, last month I turned 60. Life goes on very fast, I played in Israel until I was 35 and continued to play football after that. There was a great period, Israeli football flourished, in the 90's there were excellent teams in Israel with outstanding players in Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv. I remember Eyal Berkowitz who later went to England for a career. He was relatively small in size, but he was so smart. He's a player I remember very fondly."
You probably remember Haim Revivo. His son Roy Revivo is the left defender of the national team.
"I didn't know, how beautiful Chaim Revivo is to have a kid who is both in football and successful and plays for the national team. I also remember Haim fondly, Avi Nemni, Eli Ohana and many other excellent Israeli players who played in those years. We also had an excellent team in Netanya, we were two foreign pioneers - myself and Roman Filipchuk. He was like a wall, a strong and tall player, we both scored quite a few goals, but really Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa were great teams and we couldn't compete with them for the championship."
Do you keep in touch with the foreign players from that period?
"Yes, I keep in touch a bit, but the years still separated the people and that's not what it used to be. Every time I speak or think about Israel, I have tears in my eyes. Even when you talk to me now, I am very moved. I was last in Israel 12 years ago. I went into the grocery store and there someone came up to me and said, 'You're Igor Shquirin.' I told him yes, he asked to be photographed and talk, said he remembered me and came to see my games. I was very moved by it. Everything in Israel was good, we enjoyed every minute, guess soon I will come again. I'll watch the game anyway, and whoever wins I'll be happy for her."
- Israeli football
- Israeli national teams