Anilava Chatterjee, Moscow: What Australia can do, Russia don’t. Not even Soviet Union as well. If you drive for a couple of hours from Sydney to Boawral you can see the birthplace of legendary Sir. Don Bradman. This is the place where he began playing cricket as a minnow with a golf ball and a bat. One can see a huge cricket museum there which was built by the Austrian government. You can get a lot of historical things, story of the legendary cricketers there. But unfortunately, you can see these kind of treatment with the legends at one or two places around the World. On the flip side of it there are only ignorance and negligence for the sports persons.
If you remember the birthplace of legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavasker at Hindu Colony in Dadar, Mumbai, it turned into an office of an advertising agency. There was a lot of buzz during that time during that incident. Like the same way legendary Brazilan footballer Pele’s childhood place at Bauru in Brazil is kept without care by the government. I have to return to India with the same experience from Russia. The football fraternity ‘connect’ with Russia with only this name. A lot of minnow goalkeepers who want to become ‘flying spider’ in future has kept their name with his name. Yashin, Yashin. The renowned goalkeepers who has been wearing gloves to protect the goal for their respective teams, most of them idolizes the legendary Lev Yashin. Here in Russia a biopic has been made on him last year. The name of the movie was ‘ Goalie of my dreams’. But unfortunately there is no initiative taken by the government to save the legacy of the legend.
You don’t find Yashin anywhere in this World Cup. FC Dynamo where the ‘Black Spider’ played 326 matches, the statue of him has been kept there without any maintenance. It is true that the renovation programme is going on but Yashin deserved more respect. But unfortunately this country doesn’t have many mark of the legend.
Where did legendary goalkeeper live? No, no one could give an answer. After a lot of efforts finally we found the address. But it is almost like finding an index in haystack. Director Satarup Sanyal’s brother lives in Moscow. He finally gave us the right location after looking a lot of maps. After getting the location we started our journey for N0. 15 Millinaya Street. They call it Ulitsa, which means road. From Metro we took an Uber to reach the place. The Uber driver took me to a half-circled complex and said, this is 15, Millianaya Ulitsa. around 200 flats. where to find the roots of Yashin?. Asking to and fro. Language problems, a few of the new generation are not aware of Yashin as well. Unfortunately, the country too took no initiative to update them.about the legend. At last an old man stopped after listening the name of Yashin. He took us to back side of the house, where we saw a plate hanging on the wall. In Russian language it was written that,” From 1929 to 1944 legendary Lev Yashin stayed here”.
1929? that means the birth year of Yashin. The legend was born here. After seeing this I was remembering Pele’s childhood place at Bauru in Brazil which I saw four years back. It was filled with trashes. Nobody visited the place for more than a decade. But that was the place where Pele started his journey as a footballer. He went to Santos from there and returned to his homeland after winning his first World Cup.
But here we didn’t find the house of Yashin. In place of his house we saw a huge housing complex. We only found that statue there. In a big stone ‘D’ was written in capital letter and below we saw the design of Olympic. But what is the meaning of ‘D’? Yes that could be Dynamo. In the 1956 Olympics, he had given Soviet Union the gold medal in Australia. One cannot forget that feat.
But nothing more than that. We didn’t find anything else there as a huge building is standing there where the legendary goalkeeper was born and brought up. The design of Olympic looks pale and Yashin has blurred in memory. In the housing complex, in front of his plank at the wall there is a small garden. I can see a few orchids there grown without any care. Only these orchids do blossom these days for Yashin, on their own.