Vladimir Tkachenko

Vladimir Tkachenko

Country: Ukraine

  1. Biography of Vladimir Tkachenko
  2. Early Career and Connection with Valeriy Lobanovskyi
  3. Friendship with Lobanovskyi
  4. Professional Relationships and Encounters with Famous Figures
  5. Professional Expertise and Insights

Biography of Vladimir Tkachenko

Vladimir Tkachenko is a massage therapist who has been an integral part of the "Shakhtar" football team for the past 45 years. Although his name may not be listed among the field players, he is responsible for ensuring that the team's players are able to perform at their best. Tkachenko has an uncanny ability to recognize each player by touch, based on the traces of past injuries and bone calluses. Being blind himself, he relies on his hands to "see" the players.

Early Career and Connection with Valeriy Lobanovskyi

In the late 1960s, Tkachenko developed a close relationship with Valeriy Lobanovskyi, who was then playing for the Donetsk team. They would meet every evening before games in Tkachenko's massage office at precisely 10:30 PM. Their bond grew stronger over time, and Tkachenko developed a deep admiration for Lobanovskyi's skills and determination.

However, Lobanovskyi's career as a player with "Shakhtar" came to an abrupt end before he turned 30. The main reason for his departure was his frequent disagreements with the head coach Oleg Oshenkov. One incident led to a meeting with the first secretary of the Donetsk regional party committee, Degtyarev, where Lobanovskyi defended himself against accusations made by Oshenkov. Eventually, the decision was made to let Lobanovskyi go, along with two other key players, Sasha Pershin and Oleg Bazilevich.

Friendship with Lobanovskyi

Despite Lobanovskyi's departure from "Shakhtar," Tkachenko and Lobanovskyi remained friends. Tkachenko recalls their shared interest in massages and saunas, often visiting the sauna together. Tkachenko also mentions how Lobanovskyi would personally say goodbye to each player individually, thanking them and wishing them luck, even though no one else supported him during that difficult time.

Professional Relationships and Encounters with Famous Figures

Throughout his career, Tkachenko has had the opportunity to work with and meet many famous individuals. He mentions treating Lev Yashin, the legendary goalkeeper, and being invited by Lobanovskyi to work with Dynamo Kyiv. Tkachenko also recalls meeting Evgeny Morgunov, the famous actor, and Rolan Bykov, both of whom he provided massages to during their visits to Donetsk.

Professional Expertise and Insights

Tkachenko notes that his work as a massage therapist allows him to understand the physical condition of each player. He mentions being able to recognize old injuries and provide immediate assistance when needed. He shares anecdotes about treating players like Anatoliy Demyanenko and Viktor Chanov, whose injuries he was able to alleviate quickly due to his timely intervention.

Tkachenko emphasizes that despite the perception of football players being strong and invincible, they all have their share of injuries and pains. He points out that they often play through pain and injuries, leaving little time for proper recovery. Tkachenko's dedication to helping the players through massage therapy highlights his commitment to their well-being and performance on the field.