Former coach of Mariupol Ostap Markevich responded to the criticism of Nikolai Palov, who last year accused the Azov coaching staff of cowardly behavior and the team’s flight from the team’s location in Turkey.
– You probably heard Pavlov’s words in the context of “Mariupol” about the captain who should be the last to leave the ship. How did you perceive it?
– First of all, it was strange for me to hear these comments. Because the person was not there at all, was not on the spot, could not and cannot give a constructive analysis of what happened there. Escape? How can you call this an escape if I gathered the team around March 3 (we had already been there for about a week) and announced my decision. How can this be called an escape? This time.
Second. You know, if the guys needed my help in terms of psychology or support, that’s very good. If they were offended by me, it sounds like a compliment to me as a coach. If they didn’t care that I left there, it would have been much worse for me.
During this difficult time, I decided that I had to be useful somewhere. Because my people were suffering at this moment, I wanted to be useful in some way. It was not a pleasure for me to sit in a 5-star hotel and just watch on the Internet what was happening. I thought this was wrong. Although I also insisted, it was my initiative for the team to remain in Turkey. And thanks to Olga Ignatenko, whom I brought to the club to organize training camps, the team lived for a month and a half in that hotel for free. That is, the Turkish federation paid for them. He did everything to ensure that the team stayed there. And we left 9 people from the coaching staff there, the staff who looked after the guys. That’s all.
I didn’t plan to comment on this at all. But if you asked the question, of course, what… Perhaps this will give some understanding of what was happening. It was a difficult time, there were emotions. I think everyone who remembers the first days of the war will react with understanding. Yes, I planned to go to Ukraine. But later circumstances turned out so that I went to visit my family in Spain. And there they also did things that helped Ukraine and Ukrainians. This is his opinion. Let it stay with him.
– They said that at the moment you found out about everything, the Mariupol players had already received their boarding passes in their hands. You were ready to fly to Ukraine.
– We were at the airport, yes. We had already checked in all our luggage, were in the transit area, waiting for the plane. An airport employee appeared and said that we were not flying anywhere. It was a shock for me when I learned that Ukraine was being bombed. I didn’t believe that he [путин] he will do this because it will be suicide for him. In principle, this has now been implemented. It was impossible to conquer a country like Ukraine. It’s impossible, no country in the world can do it.
When we were at the airport, we were offered to go by bus to Ukraine. I said that this was impossible, because there were a lot of young guys in our team, 17-18 years old. I was responsible for them. And I said no. I just didn’t understand what was happening in Ukraine, I didn’t know how events would develop further. Those guys whom my parents entrusted to me decided that we would stay in Turkey. That was the decision,” Markevich said.
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