Oleksandr Shovkovskyi is one of the best goalkeepers of Dynamo Kyiv ever.
Being a kid he understood that life is a difficult thing which requires efforts and sacrifice. At school he made his first important decision. Oleksandr became a repeater in order to be accepted to a special football class. He had little free time and knew his schedule for a week well.
When Shovkovskyi was 13 his parents bought him his first goalkeeper’s gloves. As he says he did not take them off even at night.
Talent and hard work
Shovkovskyi graduated from Dynamo football academy and on August the 1st 1992 he played for the 3rd team of the club for the first time. It was a match for Ukrainian national Cup against Desna Chernigiv which took place in Kyiv (2:0). The 17-year old keeper managed to secure his goal. But his debut for Dynamo-2 on the 4th o April 2003 was less successful. Our team lost the First Ukrainian football league match in Alchevsk against the local Stal’ with 3:2 score. The young goalkeeper played his first match for the first Dynamo team on the 6th of March 1994. It was a home match against Kremin’ Kremenchug (1:1). At that time Oleksandr was 19 years old so he became the youngest goalkeeper of Dynamo ever. His first match on European arena took place on the 10th of August 1994. It was the UEFA Champions League preliminary stage away match against Danish Silkeborg (0:0). That evening Shovkovskyi saved his goal after good shots of Knudsen and Fredricson.
Dynamo goalkeepers’ coach Mykhailo Mykhailov learned Oleksandr to work hard and analyse his mistakes. Shovkovskyi says that when he came to Dynamo there were 3 goalkeepers in the team already. They were Kutepov, Martinkenas and Kovtun. At first he tried to play as they did. But then he realized that hard work on his own mistakes would be more useful. Two years after his debut Shovkovskyi heared the words which proved his strategy to be the correct one. “Success consists of talent and hard work. Talent takes 10 per cent and works takes the rest”. That is what the great Valeriy Lobanovskyi told Oleksandr after his return to our club.
On the evening of June the 26th 2006 forty-five thousand viewers on Reign Energy stadium in Germany were waiting for the outcome of the World Cup quarter-final match between Switzerland and Ukraine. 120 minutes of the match ended in a draw. We were to watch the penalty shootout. The first shot of our team captain Andriy Shevchenko was saved by the Swiss goalkeeper Paskal Zuberbuller. The similar situation took place 8 years before on the 26th of August 1998 in Prague. That time Shevchenko also failed to score from penalty spot but after that Shovkovskyi saved the goal twice and Dynamo grabbed the winner.
But let’s go back to Germany 2006. That June evening Oleksandr did not let Streller, Barnetta and Kabanias score and became the first goalkeeper who saved all shots in penalty shootout in World Cup history.
Since then Oleksandr Shovkovskyi helped his young teammates many times. He is sharing his precious experience with them and lets everyone understand that only hard work leads to great victories.