The Russian Championship went on pause for national team matches, but the players continue to keep the fans in good shape. On Monday, it suddenly turned out that Dynamo defender Saba Sazonov preferred the Georgian youth team to the Russian one.

He had a choice not so long ago, although the football player had been waiting for a challenge for at least six months. Colleagues from Match TV recall that back in January, Sazonov expressed a desire to go out in a T-shirt with a double-headed eagle on his chest: “Of course, I would like to play for the Russian national team, because I am a student of the Russian football school.”

Then he clarified that representatives of both our and Georgian youth teams contacted him, but apparently he did not receive a specific call, at least from the RFU. Eight months later, the situation changed – both federations sent a request at once. For example, on the RFU website on September 15 was list of players published to a training camp in Belarus (the Russians will play two matches at once with their peers from this country), in which Sazonov is the first defender mentioned.


Perhaps this moment is decisive in assessing what is happening, since the very fact of his choice in favor of one or another team is exclusively his business. Apparently, the defense player confirmed his consent to the Russian side to come to the national team. In any case, according to the head coach of the national youth team, Mikhail Galaktionov, he “was in touch with the administrative headquarters until the last day.” That is, Sazonov’s refusal was a big surprise for the coaching staff.

“Sazonov, along with other players of the Dynamo football club, received a call-up to the Russian youth team last week. After the end of the next round of the RPL, the coaching and administrative staff of the team were waiting for the usual arrival of the players at the base in Novogorsk. All players arrived on time, except for Sazonov.

On Monday morning, the player informed the national team manager that he would not come, although he was in touch with the administrative headquarters until the last day. We do not want to discuss a player’s personal decision to play for another national federation, as this is his personal desire. But we categorically do not accept such behavior of a player in relation to the Russian national team, ”TASS quoted Galaktionov as saying.

If Sazonov indeed previously confirmed his agreement to play for one team, and then changed his mind without warning, then the irritation of the 38-year-old specialist can be understood.


According to the “Championship”, at the administrative level, the Russian side was ahead of its competitors in the work on attracting a football player to its ranks, but so far there has been no real challenge. The RFU only requested his passport data and other necessary documentation.

In turn, the footballer waited a long time for specific actions, not intending to abandon his plans announced in January, but he did not wait. “Soon, the Georgian federation came to the player, which proved to be much more active – they invited the player to Georgia, explained the prospects to him,” the Championship quotes its source. This attitude bribed the player, so when the proposal came from Galaktionov’s headquarters, Sazonov had already decided on the future.

However, this version does not fit in with Galaktionov’s words that the defender was in touch with the administrative headquarters. Here, either the player behaved incorrectly, misleading others, or the coach did not quite correctly convey the information to us.


No. According to FIFA rules, the change of football citizenship is not possible only if the player has played an official match for the first team. But this is not our situation, because the player was called up to the youth team, which will have two friendly games in September – on the 24th with Portugal and on the 27th with Turkey.

Not everything will be over even if he plays for the youth team in an official game, because then FIFA will fix his football citizenship, but still allow him to change it once.

So if Sazonov is not attracted to the national team of Georgia during this pause (and they can do this on purpose in order to “fix” a football player) and do not play in official matches with Macedonia and Gibraltar in the League of Nations, then the chance to return the football player to the RFU is still will be.


Direct and indirect at the same time. He was born in St. Petersburg and studied football at the Zenit Academy (he moved to Dynamo last summer), but he has Georgian roots from his mother.

“I am half Georgian on my mother’s side. Parents met in St. Petersburg, where my mother moved from Georgia – by the way, they had a holiday on January 29, 20 years from the date of the meeting. Dad was younger, fell in love with her, began to court, seek. A year later I was born, a year later my brother David was born. And they named me Saba – mom and dad decided: since the son will have a Russian surname, Sazonov, then the name should be Georgian.

I love Georgia very much, I miss it. For the third year now, I have not been able to go there because of heavy employment, and now a pandemic. And in childhood, my brother and I even lived there for some time – our parents deliberately made us feel at home in both countries and both languages ​​were native to us.

Mom is from Samtredia, but relatives are scattered throughout the country: from Tbilisi to Batumi. Wherever you come, you go into any house, and there, most likely, your fourth cousin on the line of your mother’s grandmother’s sister. And as soon as they hear that you are the son of Nino Nishnianidze, they immediately sit down at the table, on which there is such an amount of food that in Russia one could eat in a month. And you can’t refuse – this is disrespect, and it’s delicious, ”Sazonov told the Zenit press service.


Sazonov made his way to the base in the spring, after Ivan Ordets dropped out of the cage, however, before the arrival of Slavisa Jokanovic, he was more of a rotation player. But in the new season, when Roman Evgeniev and Fabian Balbuena departed at the same time, he missed only two rounds and, according to estimates, Whoscored (6.88) is in the top 5 best players on the team.

It is unlikely that his prospects at Dynamo will be affected by the fact that now the player will receive the status of a legionnaire in Russia. Still, since the new season, the limit has been expanded to such an extent that it is difficult not to fit into it, especially in the current conditions, when people go to the RPL without much enthusiasm.

Sazonov himself does not intend to leave Dynamo.


In the context of Sazonov – indifferent. I have already read a comment by one of the ex-coaches of Russian youth teams of various ages, Dmitry Khomukha, that the guy “did not fully understand everything in life: who raised him, who prepared him, how much effort Russia spent on his preparation.” However, it is strange to listen to the opinion of a person who himself at one time chose to play for the national team of Turkmenistan …

In general, if the defender is not alien to this country (and he never hid it), and believes that he will be comfortable in the Georgian national team, what’s wrong with that?

There are two nuances that are directly related to the Russian team. Firstly, she does not hold official matches, does not participate in the selections for the World and European Championships, and it is not known when she will truly return to international football, and therefore we will meet such stories more and more often.

Secondly, indicative of this story is the fact that the Georgians were simply more persistent in their desire to get a football player, while the RFU was so confident in itself that it followed exclusively official paths – it requested documents, issued calls, “was in touch.” But he was not at the same time humane and convincing enough.

It can be assumed that this is exclusively the story of Sazonov, but after all, just a year ago, the Russian team similarly hated a native of Stavropol, a pupil of Krasnodar, Eduard Spertsyan, who had already shot 13 goals in 2022. In 10 rounds of this season, he scored 11 (8+3) performance points, and it’s hard to believe that he would not have received a call from Valery Karpin if he had not already played for the Armenian national team. In my opinion, that omission was much more significant, because, unlike Sazonov, he really drags the team into the top five.

Therefore, it is time for our football authorities to sit down and think: what should be done so that there are no more such stories?

More content from the author – in the telegram channel.

Source: Sovsport

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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