"Anatoly Banishevsky was people's football player"

 "Anatoly Banishevsky was people's football player"

Today, the legendary Soviet Azerbaijani football player, captain of the Neftchi Baku team, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, Anatoly Banishevsky, would've turned 72. On the eve of this date, a meeting of former Neftchi players took place in Moscow on the initiative of the author of the book 'Comet Tail. Pages of Anatoly Banishevsky's Life', Azer Dzhangirov. The veterans of the Azerbaijani football told Vestnik Kavkaza about Anatoly Banishevsky and the football life of Soviet Baku.

Neftchi former striker and midfielder (1966-1982) Rafik Alizadeh stressed that Anatoly Banishevsky, along with Kazbek Tuaev and Eduard Markarov, was a sports legend of his time. "I am proud that I had a chance to play with these great football players at Neftchi. At the same time, Banishevsky was a very modest man and never left his team, even when he was offered to transfer to Spartak Moscow or Dynamo Kiev," he drew attention.

Neftchi ex-midfielder (1968-1979) Tofik Abbasov also noted that Banishevsky was an idol for him and football players of his generation. "Everyone dreamed of being a Banishevsky or Markarov. When my dream came true and I got to Neftchi, I was lucky enough to even live with him in the same hotel room for 4-5 years. Neftchi's best result in its history was achieved in 1966, when it won the bronze medal of the USSR championship, and it was done by Banishevsky, Markarov, Tuaev and Gadzhiev. Many thanks to them for it," he said.

Neftchi former striker (1967-1979) Nikolai Smolnikov drew attention to the fact that Anatoly Banishevsky as a football player knew everything necessary. "Spectators like such active football with acute moments. And he was a great man, he was followed by a crowd, and he talked to everyone - Banishevsky was a people's football player. We were very close friends with him. Neftchi was a friendly international team," he noted.

Neftchi former striker (1968-1972) Vitaly Shevchenko also noted Anatoly Banishevsky's professional qualities. "All the components that make up a football player's play, were of a high level in his case. And Eduard Markarov, who interacted well with him, and Kazbek Tuaev played at that time in Neftchi. When they were playing, these were my idols, from whom I learned a lot," Vitaliy Shevchenko admitted. "Tuaev, Markarov and Banishevsky were among the strongest attackers in the Soviet Union," he added.

Neftchi former defender (1968-1979) Rafiq Quliev lived in the same room with Anatoly Banishevsky for more than six years. "He was a legendary man, a talented football player. And it turned out that Markarov and Tuaev, three of the team's best attackers, played together with him. In general, in the USSR many football players from Baku played in different teams, but the best of them played for Neftchi," he recalls.

The organizer of the meeting Azer Dzhangirov emphasized that Anatoly Banishevsky was not just a football player, but a single-minded person, an athlete with a capital A, who achieved great successes with heavy work. "I want another Banishevsky to appear in Azerbaijani football. Probably it concerns also Russian football, as we are Russians. And we have talents here, but we have to work with them, educate them," Azer Dzhangirov concluded.

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