Oleksandr Borysovych Holovko

holovko

Oleksandr Borysovych Holovko, born 6 January 1972 in Kherson, Ukraine, is a retired Ukrainian footballer best know for his time spent at  Tavriya Simferopol and Dynamo Kyiv. He is the only footballer to win the Ukrainian Premier League with two clubs.

Holovko began his career when he left school at the age of 18. After leaving school he entered the Kherson branch of the National University of Shipbuilding. It was here that Holovko met a former Tavriya player, Yuri Bondarenko, who spotted Holovko’s talents and reccomended him to then Tavriya manager, Anatoliy Zayaev. As a 19-year-old Holovko began to play for his first professional team. In the season of 1991 in the First League of the USSR, Tavriya took 6th place, and Holovko played 25 matches and scored one goal.

In 1992, Holovko spent his first season in the newly formed Ukrainian Premier League. The league only ran from March to June and was split into two leagues. He helped tavriya reach 1st place in their division, and they would go on to pay Dynamo Kyiv, winners of the second league in a play-off final for the first Ukrainian Championship. On 21st June 1992, Tavriya met Dynamo Kyiv at Stadion Ukraina, Lviv. Holovko’s Tavriya came out winners, taking the title with a 1-0 victory. The following season, Tavriya got the right to participate in the Champions League. Holovko made his debut in European competition on August 19, 1992 in the preliminary round of the Champions League against Irish team, Shelbourne. Tavria beat Shelbourne on aggregate 2-1 and went into the 1/16 of the Champions League, losing out to the Swiss club Sion. In the same season, Tavriya took 10th place in the league. In the 1993/94 season, Tavriya took 8th place and reached the final of the Ukrainian cup, where they lost on penalties to Chernomorets Odesa. The 1994/95 season ended with 5th place, and the semi finals of the Ukrainian cup.

In 1995, Yozhef Szabo signed Holovko for Dynamo Kyiv. It would be here in 1995 that Holovko would win his second league title of his career and become the first and only player to win the Ukrainian Premier league with two teams. In  1996/97, Valeriy Lobanobsky’s Dynamo won another league title but missed out on european and national cup silverware. The following season was to prove more successful as Dynamo won another league title and the Ukrainian cup. In the same season Dynamo would record one of the biggest results in Champions League and club history by beating Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate which included a 4-0 win at the Nou Camp and a Barcelona team which included the likes of Rivaldo and Luis Figo. Dynamo would finish top of the group in the Champions League and would go on to play Marcelo Lippi’s Juventus in the Quarter finals. Goals from Allesandro Del Piero and Fillipo Inzaghi would prevent Dynamo from progressing any further.

By this point, Holovko had well and truly cemented his place in the Dynamo back four which inculuded a libero in Vaschuk and two full backs in Luzhny and Dmytrulin.

In 1998, Holovko won another Ukrainian league championship and another Ukrainian cup aswell as having another good run in the champions league where Dynamo would go out in the semi finals against Bayern Munich. After a successful champions league run, interest in Holovko came from Western Europe. Liverepool were interested in the Ukrainian star but decided to sign Cameroonian Rogobert Song after realising they could not meet Dynamos demands of £8m. The following season, Holovko was handed the captaincy for Dynamo after Oleg Luzhny left for Arsenal. In his first seaosn as captain, Dynamo won the league and national cup once more. Dynamo would reach the second group stage of the Champions League, finishing second on equal points with Real Madrid.

In 2000/01, for the seventh time, Holovko would win the league in Ukraine and add another Ukrainian cup to his trophy cabinet. The following season, Shakhtar Donetsk would break Dynamo’s monopoly in the league and won win the league for the first time. At the end of the season, Holovko signed a contract extention with Dynamo, despite interest from England once again from Bolton Wanderers. From 2001 onwards, Holovko started to appear less and less for Dynamo due to injury. This however did not stop him winning an eigth league title and fifth Ukrainian cup in 2003. In 2003/04 Holovko only managed 2 appearances for Dynamo in an injury hit seaosn.

In 2004, Holovko made a move to China, where he signed for Qingdao Beilaite. He only made 19 appearances in China before heading back to Ukraine, signing for former club Tavriya Simfeopol. He spent two years back in Ukraine, turning out only 32 times.

Holovko made his debut in the national team on 26 April 1995 in the qualifiers for the European Championships in 1996 against Estonia. In this qualification process, he participated in four games and finished in a group of 4th place. In the selection for the World Cup in 1998, Holovko played all 10 games in the group. His team took 2nd place, losing only to first placed Germany. Holovko and Ukraine went to the play-offs with the Croatian national team. Croatia would win on aggregate, and go on to finishing 3rd place in the tournament overall.

In selection for the European Championships in 2000, Holovko again took part in all the matches in the group. Ukraine once again finished second, heading to the play offs, where they would again lose out, this time to Slovenia.  Holovko was a major part of the team that took part in the qualifiers for the World Cup in 2002. His team again took 2nd place in the group and qualified for play-offs. There, they met with the German national team and lost yet again on aggregate. Germany would later become finalists for the World Cup. Holovko would only play one game for Ukraine in the qualifiers for EURO 2004 and his last match was played on February 18, 2004 against the Libyan national team. He made a total of 58 appearances for the national team putting him just out of the top ten capped players list.

In October 2006 he received a proposal from representatives of the Ukrainian Football Federation, but he did not immediately accept the proposal. Later, Holovko was appointed to the youth team of Ukrainian under 16s an assistant coach to Yuri Kalitvintsev.

In April 2007, became the head coach of the Ukrainian under 16s.  Since 2013, Holovko has been head coach of Ukraine U19s.

Before the end of the football player’s career, Holovko has opened in Kyiv, a fitness club. He has three diplomas and in 1994 he graduated from the Crimean Institute of Environmental and Resort Construction as an engineer-technologist, in 2000, the National University of Physical Education and Sport specialty soccer coach and teacher of physical education, and in 2002 graduated from the same university but in the specialty master of psychology, and sports.
Oleksandr Holovko, we welcome you to the Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame!
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