Even with the smallest of football knowledge, most people would guess hazard a guess Andriy Shevchenko as Ukraine’s top goal scorer. But if asked who Ukraine’s top female goal scorer, many would fall at this very hurdle. Therefore, following on from our first female inductee into the VLHOF (Kateryna Monzul) we now welcome our second female and Ukraine’s top female goal scorer Daryna Apanaschenko.
Born on the 16th May 1986 in the city of Kryvyi Rih, it was here where Daryna spent her childhood years growing up with her older brother Taras. Since the early age of 6, Daryna would go to the park with her brother and play football with him and his friends.
For those that read Kateryna Monzul’s profile, Daryna was faced with the same challenges, in the fact that women’s football was relatively unheard of in Ukraine at the time and could only be seen on TV.
The school Daryna went to, had a women’s football team which played in the school’s sports hall. Daryna often went to watch the females play and it wasn’t long before she couldn’t sit on the side-lines any longer. She asked her parents to sign her up to her local amateur team, which was lead by coach Elena Stanislavovna Konovalenko.
This no doubt would have been a dream come true to play football in a female team at the time, but the lack of interest in the woman’s game soon saw the league stop and the school stopping matches being played in their hall.
The head coach of the team (Elena Stanislavovna Konovalenko) soon turned her football coaching skills with her to take a different path and turned to athletics. Not one to sit around and do nothing, the active Daryna took up athletics for several years, but of course with her love for football not going away she continued to play football with the guys.
Having continually worked closely with her for the years that followed, it was at the age of 15 where Konovalenko saw the flare and potential in Daryna. Here she recommended Daryna to travel to Kyiv as it was where Konovalenko played herself and knew the coach. This was something that Daryna is very grateful for.
And so at the still young age of 15, Daryna left home and was given a chance to move North to Kyiv where she played for a team called Kyiv-Rus. She stayed there for many years gaining experience with every match still looking to catch a lucky break.
With her performances not going unnoticed, she was spotted by scouts from national champions at the time – the Chernihiv Legends. She once again moved North and it was here where Daryna signed her first professional contract with the club and helped her team win the league and Cup during her time there. Daryna believes that this was a very important stage of her career as she then began getting called up to the national youth team, before then being given her full first international debut for the senior team.
Daryna was now fully established on the female scene and unlike her long spell at Kyiv-Rus, she made a big enough impact in Chernihiv that she only spent 2 years there from 2001-2003. It was in 2003 that she was sold by Chernihiv and continued to move north, however, this time it was north across the border, to Russia.
In the 2003/2004 season Daryna played her football in the Russian league for Voronezh Energy lasting only 1 one season. Daryna was on the move again, this time to playing her football for Ryazan VDV. She seemed to settle down at the club as she played out 5 seasons worth of football before once again finding herself on the move.
2009 saw her final move (as of 22.02.2016) to Russian premier league side ‘Zvezda 2005’. In her first season she was involved in her teams Champions League run, became the league champions as well as the Russian Cup winners. It was also in her time here where Daryna scored 2 goals in the semi-finals that sealed Zvezda’s shock qualification for the final of the 2008-2009 UEFA Women’s Cup. She also scored Zvezda’s only goal in the two-legged final, but this was merely a consolation goal as Zvezda lost 7-1 on aggregate to German side Duisburg.
In her time at Zvezda her goals have helped her team to winning the cup in 2012, 2013 and current champions. League titles in 2009,2015 as well as current champions. It was also here under coach Goran Aleksich (now no longer manager) Daryna was used to play in a variety of positions, from striker to central defender, and when asked what her favourite position was, she replied with: “I don’t have a favourite position, I just like to have lots of the the ball”.
On the national front, its Daryna’s important goals that have helped Ukraine qualify for tournaments, most notably for Euro 2009 where she scored 3 goals in the qualifying campaign, including winners against Denmark and Scotland, as well as a further 3 more goals in the play-off against Slovenia. She also managed to bag in the tournament itself, but it wasn’t enough to see Ukraine progress in the tournament.
With Euro 2009 being Ukraine’s only tournament they have qualified for, and at 44 caps, Daryna has had a keen eye on goal as she has scored an impressive 27 goals in that time. With the stat of better than 1 goal every other game, her closest rival is Ludmila Pekur who is on 13 goals from midfield but on 55 caps. Ukraine have already set their sites on Euro 2017 and Daryna believes that they have a very good chance of qualifying for the tournament. The national team are currently focus sing on this task as they sit 4th in their group on 1 point, 6 points off second spot Romania, however Ukraine have 2 games in hand.
When asked what it feels like being top goal scorer, she replied with a very humble and modest answer “I cannot tell you about statistics, for me football is my favourite thing. When I was young and asked what would I want to be, my answer was always footballer. For this reason I do not follow my statistics, I just enjoy playing football”.
Daryna will be turning 30 this year (2016) and with her still in her prime, she sees herself concentrating on playing football for the foreseeable future, however, looking further ahead Daryna expresses interest in becoming a coach herself and training up children to offer them the chance she didn’t really have when she was a youngster.
Daryna’s impressive goal scoring record looks secure for the foreseeable future, and she has come a long way since playing with her brother in the parks of Kryviy Rih. But as Ukraine’s top female scorer we welcome Daryna Apanaschenko into the VLHOF as not only female top goal scorer, but first female footballer into the VLHOF.
Daryna Apanaschenko’s Varenyky Rating –