Ukraine team scout for ‘black player under 21’

Syrota and Sharan played together at Dynamo Kiev

Syrota and Sharan played together at Dynamo Kiev

UKRAINIAN side Oleksandriya have been looking to sign a fast attacking player under the age of 21 - who has to be black.

Sviatoslav Syrota, an ex-Dynamo Kiev player and senior figure in Ukrainian football, took to LinkedIn to make the unusual request on behalf of the club last week.

He posted: “Wanted: black player under 21, attack line with good speed for Ukraine D1 team.”

At first the message caused bewilderment, then some anger (although it has to be noted that several agents came forward to offer players).

Dominic Adaja, a former MK Dons academy player, responded “??? Are you actually serious?” Others told him the post was not acceptable.

When TGG contacted Syrota, who played a handful of games for Kiev as a goalkeeper before becoming president of the country’s professional league, he explained he had been acting on behalf of Volodymyr Sharan, manager of Oleksandriya.

The side are fifth in the Ukrainian Premier League and competed in the Europa League in 2015/16.

“That was the request of the club,” explained Syrota, who said he occasionally works as an intermediary for teams and is about to become vice president of a club. “The coach likes black players, he believes in this. The coach called me and said, ‘I want to have black players in the attacking line, can you help?’”

Syrota, who was previously Sporting Director of Zaria Balti in Moldova, added: “In all my clubs I have five, six black players. When I have a conversation with the players, they say, ‘I am a black player’, so I don’t see a problem with this.”

Syrota deleted the post after we spoke.

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