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Yozhef Sabo

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Yozhef Sabo
Personal information
Full name Yozhef Yozhefovich Sabo
Date of birth (1940-02-29) 29 February 1940 (age 81)
Place of birth Ungvár, Hungary
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957 Khimik Kalush
1957–1959 Spartak Uzhhorod 30 (10)
1959–1969 Dynamo Kyiv 246 (42)
1970 Zorya Luhansk 27 (6)
1971–1972 Dynamo Moscow 44 (3)
National team
1965–1972 USSR 76 (16)
Teams managed
1977 Zorya Luhansk
1978 CSKA Kyiv
1978–1979 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
1993–1997 Dynamo Kyiv
1994 Ukraine
1996–1999 Ukraine
2004–2005 Dynamo Kyiv
2000–2007 Dynamo Kyiv (vice-president)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Yozhef Yozhefovich Sabo (Ukrainian: Йожеф Йожефович Сабо; Hungarian: Szabó József; born 29 February 1940) is a former Soviet football player, Soviet and Ukrainian football manager. He is of Hungarian background.[1][2] He is baptized as a Greek-Catholic.[3]

Playing career

Club

Sabo began to play in 1954 for a team of Uzhhorod bread factory and his first coach was Zoltan Gyorfi (Hungarian: Győrfi Zoltán).[4] Later until August 1957 he was playing as a forward for Khimik Kalush in competitions among KFK of the Ukrainian SSR.[4] From September 1957 to May 1959 Sabo played in Class B (second tier) for Spartak Uzhhorod.[4]

Sabo made his name as a player at Dynamo Kyiv, appearing at the club from June 1959 to 1969.[4] A four-time Soviet Top League champion, Sabo appeared in 317 games in the competition, scoring 51 goals.[4] His first game he played in a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur F.C. on 1 June 1959.[4] In July of 1963 Sabo was disqualified for a year for a rough play, but in February 1964 it was changed to a conditional disqualification.[4] Also in 1968 he was disqualified again for refusing to play for the Soviet national football team.[4]

Sabo was a member of Dynamo Kyiv when the club in 1961 for the first time gained the Soviet title, breaking the Muscovite spell. To the Kyiv's team he arrived along with two other Uzhhorod players Andriy Havasi and Vasyl Turianchyk.

International

Aside from being named one of the 33 best players in the USSR for five years, Sabo capped 76 times for the USSR national side, scoring 16 goals. He played in 41 official matches and 35 friendlies.[4] Sabo made his international debut in away game against Greece on 3 October 1965 (see 1966 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group 7).[4] Sabo mentioned that the game took place after in Greece took place the Apostasia of 1965 (Royal Coup).[5] While his official first appearance for the Soviet team was in 1965, Sabo was on the 1962 Soviet team roster for the 1962 FIFA World Cup.[4]

Coaching career

However, Sabo became most famous for his coaching, coaching various sides in the late 70s (such as Zorya Luhansk in 1977 and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 1978–1979), he has coached Dynamo Kyiv numerous times (from 1993–1997 and 2004–2005, with breaks in between). He is also arguably the second-most successful coach of the Ukrainian national team, compiling 16 wins and 12 draws in 34 matches as coach of the side in 1994 and 1996–1999. On 20 September 2007 he was appointed as Dynamo Kyiv's manager after Anatoliy Demyanenko resigned. However, Sabo resigned in early November that year due to personal health problems. He left Dynamo Kyiv by the end of 2007 and has no longer been involved with the club since that time.

Personal life

Sabo was born on a leap year on 29 February.[4]

Sabo has his house near Verecke Pass (Carpathians) where he lives with his wife.[6]

In a 2005 interview, he also said that always wanted to coach the Hungarian national football team, but the Hungarian Football Federation leaders never gave him a concrete offer.[6]

At night from 2 onto 3 October 2007 Sabo had a heart attack due to which he was immediately taken to hospital. Doctors managed to save him, but he was prohibited to work due to a weak heart.[4]

In a 2015 interview, Sabo stated that the away game against Benfica in the 1991–92 European Cup that Dynamo lost 0–5 was fixed.[5]

He also mentioned that in Moscow he was called fascist, because there knew that his father served in the Royal Hungarian Army during the World War II and later for that, he was exiled to Siberia.[5] Russian language Sabo started to learn after arriving to Kyiv and with a help of a tutor.[5] Sabo was offered to join Komsomol and Communist Party but declined to explain that he cannot be communist and stay religious.[5] Even after arriving in Kyiv he continued to attend an underground Greek-Catholic service that was taken place in Sviatoshyn.[5]

Sabo said that he became the only Ukrainian who received the medal from the 1966 FIFA World Cup, while at the same time Valeriy Porkujan who also played at the Mundial was left without it.[5] When the Soviets beat Hungary in the quarterfinals, Sabo was forced to hear all kinds of sentiments from his former compatriots.[5] Sabo also explained that the reason why he refused to travel to Hungary with the Soviet national team for the quarter-final game was that he tried to finish his journalist degree in Kyiv University.[5] The Soviet team then qualified and without Sabo, but he was disqualified.[5]

In 1970 after a short stint in Luhansk, Sabo for a couple of months was working as a sports correspondent of Ukrainian newspaper "Pravda Ukrainy".[5]

In 1960 when Dynamo was playing an away friendly against FC Bayern Munich, Sabo said that he was approached by Bayern's goalie Árpád Fazekas who offered him to remain in Munich.[5]

Awards and achievements

Olympic medal record
Representing the  Soviet Union
Men’s Football
Bronze medal – third place 1972 Munich Team competition

Player

Coach

State

  • Order of Merit, a full cavalier of the order[4]
    • 3rd degree (15 October 1999)
    • 2nd degree (12 October 2004)
    • 1st degree (1 December 2011)

References

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Yozhef Sabo
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