Valeriy Vasylyovych Lobanovskyi was born in Kyiv (then in the USSR) in 1939. The high school he went to is now named after him. He got higher education qualifications at Odessa Polytechnic. He was at the Football School of Kyiv until he joined FC Dynamo Kyiv, aged 18. From 1960 he was a fixture in the First XI at Dynamo, famous for his skilful crosses from corners and free kicks.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi left Dynamo in 1964 after falling out with the coach; he retired as a player, aged 29. He had scored 71 goals in 253 games, but his destiny was as a coach and manager. He managed Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, and then he went back to manage Dynamo Kyiv. Lobanovskyi won many trophies there, including the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and the Super Cup in 1975. In the 1980s he managed the USSR national team, Dynamo again, and then both at the same time.
Heart of a Nation
In 1990 the Soviet Union disintegrated into national states and Ukraine became independent in 1991. Valeriy Lobanovskyi spent six years coaching in the Middle East but returned home for a third stint as manager of Dynamo Kyiv from 1997 to 2002. Again, Dynamo won numerous trophies and competed strongly in the European Champions League. From 2000, Lobanovskyi was manager of the national team at the same time as managing Dynamo. But his health was failing and he had a stroke in May 2002. He died a week later. 150 000 people attended his funeral.
The identity of Ukraine is complex; shaped by long periods as part of the Russian Empire and the USSR, with intermittent spells of independence. Ukraine has divisions: between Catholicism in the West and Orthodox Christianity (with Russian and Ukranian patriarchies) in the East, and between the Ukrainian and Russian languages.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi stood above these divisions. Most of his life was lived in the Soviet Union, where he was player and manager with the best club team in the USSR and also managed the national team. Later in his life he guided the fortunes of Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukraine national team. 150 000 Ukrainians attended his funeral.
Educators could look at the life story of Valeriy Lobanovskyi and work with young people to consider this question:
- What can be learned from his life story about the connections between football and identity?
- What is the potential of football to unite fragmented populations?
Valeriy Lobanovsky, Ukrainian Footballer, 18 April 2019 (Photo: V. Vasilenko / Post of Ukraine).
LIFE STORIES To discover now
Do you wanna know more?
HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS
Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.
Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.
Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.
BBC Sport’s Football Focus visits Bundesliga side FC Union Berlin, a “rebellious” football club from East Berlin with a special set of fans, playing their first season in Germany’s top flight 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In the wake of the 2015 migration peak, activists and volunteers across Europe have been involved in supporting refugees, sometimes with the simple act of offering space and friendship to participate in football through grassroots clubs to help newcomers integrate.
LATEST POST You may also be interested in
Through examples from football, we can encourage students to think out of the box on complex issues such as equality and inclusion, and ask thought-provoking questions.
What if your students could talk with someone who has been hurt by a football chant, asking them why and analysing the chant with them?
Teaching students about gender inequality in football and the ethics of advertisements by analyzing image sources.
FC United is a documentary about racism in Belgium and gives much needed voice to the affected.