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Viktor Kanevskyi

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Viktor Kanevskyi
Personal information
Full name Viktor Izrailyovych Kanevskyi
Date of birth (1936-10-03)3 October 1936
Place of birth Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR
Date of death November 25, 2018(2018-11-25) (aged 82)[1]
Place of death Bristol, Connecticut, U.S.
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
Yuny Dinamovets Kyiv
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952 FC Mashynobudivnyk Kyiv
1954–1964 FC Dynamo Kyiv 195 (80)
1965–1966 FC Chornomorets Odesa 22 (6)
National team
1958–1962 USSR 5 (0)
1956 Ukraine 4 (0)
Teams managed
1965 FC Metalurh Zaporizhia
1966–1971 FC Metalist Kharkiv (Avanhard)
1973 FC Pakhtakor Tashkent (assistant)
1973–1977 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
1983–1986 FC Dynamo Irpin
1987 SC Tavriya Simferopol
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Viktor Izrailyovych (Illich) Kanevskyi (Ukrainian: Віктор Ізраїльович Каневський, Russian: Виктор Израилевич Каневский; 3 October 1936 – 25 November 2018) was a Ukrainian and Soviet football player and coach. He was Jewish.[2][3]


Since his early years Kanevskyi was involved in various sports including ice skating, volleyball as well as football.[4] During his student years he played for Kyiv's junior volleyball team.[4] He also was invited by Dynamo's scout and junior team coach Mykhailo Korsunsky for try-outs.[4]

Due to hardship in the postwar years, Kanevskyi started to work before his 16th birthday as a carver at the Kyiv Arsenal.[4] At the factory he was making engravings on photo cameras in Kyiv.[4] As a hobby he also played for a factory team, Mashynobudivnyk (predecessor of FC Arsenal Kyiv) that was coached by Livshyts.[4] During that period Kanevskyi also played for Ukraine's junior team.[4] After he worked as a mechanic at the Kyiv factory Transsignal and was forced to forget about playing.[4]

In 1953 Kanevskyi received an invitation to play for FC Dynamo Kyiv.[4] Kanevskyi appeared in Dynamo along with such players as Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Oleh Bazylevych, Valentyn Troyanovskyi, and others,[4] with whom later in 1961 he became Soviet Top League winners and the first non-Moscow team to ever become Soviet League champions. Yet his first year in the club was not successful and in 1955 Kanevskyi played only one game. He later played in football competitions of the Kyiv city garrison for some military detachment team which served as a farm-team of Dynamo.[4] At some point Dynamo's head coach Oleg Oshenkov wanted to let Kanevskyi go.[4]

Due to being sick, in 1958 Kanevskyi was not able to go with Dynamo on a tour of Egypt.[4] That same year the head coach of CDSA Vsevolod Bobrov invited him to join the Army team.[4] Kanevskyi even arrived in Moscow and picked an apartment, but soon changed his mind.[4] In 1960 Kanevskyi became a team captain and stayed in this position until he left the club.[4]

Kanevskyi participated in the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile, about which he stated that it was of lower level in comparison to the UEFA Euro 1996 in England.[4] Among the brightest highlights Kanevskyi mentioned about his meeting with Pelé, receiving a good monetary bonus and traveling back to Moscow by way of Paris.[4] He also said that was able to receive an autograph from Pelé, while sitting next to him at the Brazil – Czechoslovakia final game.[4] After the championship, Konstantin Beskov was placed in charge of the Soviet Union national football team and Kanevskyi was removed from the team.[4]

In 1965 Dynamo received a new head coach, Viktor Maslov, after which Kanevskyi was replaced with Anatoliy Puzach.[4] Kanevskyi explained that he had a chronic condition since 1957, gallstones in the liver, and was regularly visiting a sanatorium in Karlovy Vary.[4] Therefore, after the coming of Maslov, Kanevskyi felt that he would not be able to compete in the senior team.[4] After leaving Dynamo, for about two or three months he worked as a head coach in Zaporizhia, but Yuriy Voinov who coached the newly promoted FC Chornomorets Odesa invited his former teammate to help with a team at the higher league.[4]

In 1966 Kanevskyi decided to retire.[4] After deciding to coach, Kanevskyi was advised to change his patronymic name Izarailyovych as it was not "blending with a policy of the CPSU and the Soviet state."[4] His coaching career started out in Kharkiv.[4] During a reorganization of the Soviet football competitions in 1970 Kanevskyi was able to keep FC Metalist Kharkiv at the second tier when at first Class A 2nd Group became Class A 1st Group and then First League. In 1968 and 1969 his team placed among the top three. Kanevskyi said that the club had good support from a factory director and had a contemporary stadium with "a visor."[4] In transit through Chernivtsi where he spent about two months, Kanevskyi moved to Tashkent where he was invited by Vyacheslav Solovyov to be his assistant.[4] In 1973 FC Pakhtakor Tashkent gained promotion to the Soviet Top League and Kanevskyi received the honorary title of Merited Coach of Uzbekistan (Uzbek SSR).[4] In 1973 Valeriy Lobanovskyi asked Kanevskyi to take over his team, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, as he was leaving for FC Dynamo Kyiv.[4] With Dnipro he reached the semifinals of the Soviet Cup and for four years was a manager in the Soviet Top League.[4] In 1987 with SC Tavriya Simferopol, Kanevskyi was able to gain promotion to the Soviet First League.[4]

From 1979 Kanevskyi worked in the Football Federation of Ukraine.[4] That same year the Football Federation of the Soviet Union received a personal invitation for Kanevskyi to coach Algeria national football team.[4] With him were supposed to depart Stanislav Zavidonov and Evgeni Rogov (the last two eventually did leave).[4] With travel arrangements in place and a week to go, Kanevskyi was told that he was not going anywhere without any explanation.[4] That was a last straw for him.[4] Kanevskyi was appointed a senior coach for the Ukraine republican junior football team for the Pereprava tournament in Sukhumi where his team placed first.[4] Yet when the federation still would not grant him the title of Merited Coach of Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR), Kanevskyi decided to act.[4] He made an official request at the party organization about emigrating from the country.[4] After a big scandal, Kanevskyi was excluded from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[4] In about two weeks he was called to the chief of OVIR (Office for Visas and Registration) along with the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs who announced that he wouldn't leave as he did not have sufficient degree of kinship.[4] Later the secretary of the city party organization asked Kanevskyi to withdraw his request, promising to reverse all restrictions and reinstate him in the party, but Kanevskyi refused.[4]

For the next few years, Kanevskyi felt he was being followed.[4] His name was forbidden to be mentioned in print media. In historical materials commemorating the first big victories of Dynamo Kyiv, the Kanevskyi surname was not mentioned as he never captained in the club nor being on the Soviet team's roster at the 1962 FIFA World Cup.[4] Kanevskyi was even removed from the photo of the 1961 Dynamos' winning squad.[4] For a few years he was without a job, but later with his brother worked in construction at first building the Palace of Culture in Chernihiv Oblast and later in Moscow a cooperative house.[4]

In 1983 there was a new club established in Irpin Dynamo as a farm club of FC Dynamo Kyiv. With the help of Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Kanevskyi was appointed its head coach.[4]

In 1988 there appeared information that anybody was allowed to emigrate from the Soviet Union.[4] Kanevskyi only waited four months after filing his request and on 15 November 1988 he and his wife left the country, traveling to New York through Austria and Italy.[4] After arrival in the United States, Kanevskyi was able to find a job as a coach at a sports school in New York held by Russian emigrants, where he headed the football department.[4] Later he opened his own football school.[4]

Professional football player career


Club[1] Season League Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dynamo 1954
1955 1 0 1 0
1956 12 4 12 4
1957 13 5 2 0 15 5
1958 18 8 1 0 19 8
1959 19 2 19 2
1960 23 7 23 7
1961 26 18 1 0 27 18
1962 23 7 1 0 24 7
1963 34 14 2 0 36 14
1964 27 15 6 5 33 20
Total Dynamo 196 80 13 5 209 85
Chornomorets 1965 17 6 17 6
1966 5 0 5 0
Total Chornomorets 22 6 22 6
Grand total 218 86 13 5 231 91


National team Year
Apps Goals
Soviet Union 1958 1 0
1961 2 0
1962 2 0

Managerial statistics

Team League From To Record
P W D L Win %
Metalurh Class A 2nd Group 1965 0 0 0 0 !
Metalist Class A 2nd Group 1966 1969 0 0 0 0 !
Metalist First League 1970 1971 0 0 0 0 !
Bukovyna Second League 1972 0 0 0 0 !
Pakhtakor First League 1973 0 0 0 0 !
Dnipro Top League 1973 1977 0 0 0 0 !
Dynamo Second League 1983 1986 0 0 0 0 !
Tavriya Second League 1987 0 0 0 0 !


As player
As manager

International career

Kanevskyi made his debut for the USSR on 30 August 1958 in a friendly game against Czechoslovakia. He participated in the 1962 FIFA World Cup.

In 1956 Kanevskyi played four games for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR.[5]

Anti-Semitism in Soviet Football

Kanevskyi pointed out several instances of anti-Semitism during his playing and coaching career in the Soviet Union.

One time Kanevskyi head-butted Anatoliy Fedotov who played for an Almaty team for calling him names.[4] After that Kanevskyi was suspended for a game.[4]

Kanevskyi also mentioned that even after being the Dynamos' captain for six years and winning one season, he was the only one who did not receive the title of Merited Master of Sports.[4]

Later when Kanevskyi was coaching, he never received the title of Merited Coach of Ukraine, while in Uzbekistan he received a similar title for a single season as an assistant coach.[4]


  1. ^ a b Passed away: Viktor Kanevskyi (Не стало Віктора Каневського). Ukrainian Premier League. 25 November 2018
  2. ^ The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be Igor Rabiner. From Izrailevich to Ilyich and back. (from Sport-Express). September 1996
  5. ^ Football at the 1956 Spartakiad of the Peoples of USSR

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