Football brings together hundreds of millions of people from different countries. Despite the fact that a number of sports have become very popular in recent years, football remains the most popular sport, attracting tens of millions of children to sport schools regardless of their national, religious, racial or social background, promoting a healthy lifestyle and the emergence of new talents.
There are many youth of Georgian diaspores who are living in other countries among such talented children. Today I will introduce you to one of them, who lives in Moscow – Kondra Kikalishvili-Aksentiev. Kondra plays in the teams of Youth Football School “Luzhniki” and the Moscow-based academy of the legendary Spanish club “Barcelona”. Apart from football, he is fond of tennis and chess.
-Kondra, it turns out that you are excited by the Belgian national team player Lukaku and the Georgian national team player Khvicha Kvaratskhelia?
– I saw Lukaku play live in the stadium myself at the 2018 World Cup, he is a brilliant footballer. I am fascinated by his play, technique and skill. I saw Ronaldo play as well (2017), not only saw him play but stood next to him and talked for a minute, it was great. As for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, two years ago my father Anzori introduced me to him when Khvicha was playing for “Lokomotiv” Moscow, I shook his hand and I will never forget that day. All this took place at the stadium, in the club’s locker room in the presence of my father and coach Yuriy Semin. Khvicha loves to dribble, has excellent speed I like this kind of play, I myself like dribbling, running away from defenders and scoring (laughs). I want to tell Khvicha – I admire your style of playing, defenders often get rough against you, but you get away from them at the speed I love. Many of my relatives, friends and comrades love you as a skillful footballer.
-How long have you been playing football and how did you get into the Barcelona Academy?
– I am 8, 5 years old, I have been playing football for 4 years, I started in the Youth Football School “Luzhniki” team, there are good football players and coaches, very comfortable. At the same time the last 3 years I also play in the Moscow team “Academia Barcelona”, I play in tournaments, I became a scorer several times, thanks to the guys, without their passes it would be difficult to score so much. In the “Academy Barcelona” team, one of my coaches is a former famous football player, world youth champion Irakli Gelenava, I think you know him (Born in Sokhumi, Georgia Irakli Gelenava was the world champion as a member of the USSR youth team in 1987 – author’s note). By the way, former footballer Vakhtang Morgoshia is the sports director of “Academy Barcelona”, you may remember him.-Sports Intelligence reported that you also play tennis and chess, don’t you get tired?
-You also play tennis and chess, don’t you get tired?
-I have everything on my schedule. My father Anzori and mother Nadia create the conditions for me to manage everything. The main thing in my life is football, so I adjust everything to the schedule of football training and games. In my spare time I play tennis and chess. A few years ago my father introduced me to a great tennis player Alexander Metreveli (1973 Wimbledon singles finalist, 1968 and 1970 Wimbledon mixed doubles finalist with Olga Morozova – author’s note), he gave me advice on how to play correctly. I play chess at the Anatoly Karpov Centre and chess allows me to concentrate and think more.
– I saw footage of you emotionally reciting poetry in Georgian for the famous singer Tamriko Gverdtsiteli?
– I can recite it for you personally, Uncle Tengiz (Kondra recited a couple of poems by famous Georgian poets). I learn Georgian not only in conversation with my father, but also with a tutor of the Georgian language, a wonderful person David Pertenava (grandson of David Pertenava – chairman of the Georgian Sports Committee in 1975-1982 – author’s note). I know Russian well, I have mastered English not bad. I love reading, but I don’t have much time left for it – football, chess, tennis. Next year I want to go to the section of Georgian dances, dances ignite, makes you happy.
-In the spring of next year, Barcelona will host the championship of children and youth teams operating in different countries of the “Academies of Barcelona”, do you want to get there?
– If the coaches trust me and include me in our age team, then I will try to score a lot of goals there too. I watch my father play among the veterans and admire the way the grown-ups dribble and pass. I want to make my father happy, a football veteran, make my mother happy, the coaches at the Barcelona Academy and the guys in the team, as well as my family friend, the great sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. Next summer I will go to Tbilisi, we have a flat there, we could not go this summer because of pandemic, we will go in 2022. I want to attend the games of “Dinamo” Tbilisi, which my father is big fun for all his life.
Anzori Kikalishvili, in turn, told to the autor of this lines that he hopes that his son Kondra will become a footballer. “I named my son Kondra after my grandfather Kondra, he and my father Iosif loved football, this was passed on to me, I have been playing football all my life, although studies and work have taken priority, but football is for life. My son has chosen football and seeing my football environment, my contacts with famous Georgian and Russian football players and coaches.”- said Anzor. Born in Batumi, his father and grandfather come from the village of Kulishkari, Zugdidi region.
Anzor was a friend of the legendary georgian commentator Kote Makharadze (1926-2002), with the stars of Georgian Football David Kipiani (1951-2001), Ramaz Shengelia (1957-2012), still friends with Vladimir Gutsaev, Revaz Dzodzuashvili, Alexander Chivadze, Murtaz Khurtsilava, Otari Gabelia. “I hope that sooner or later the Georgian football team will get the right to play in the World Cup and European Championship finals, I hope to live to see that day,” Anzor said.
The author of this article also talked to Vakhtang Morgoshia, the sports director of the “Academy Barcelona” operating in Moscow, a former footballer of Moscow and Stavropol “Dinamo” .
-Vakhtang, tell us about your Academy and our compatriots at the Academy.
-Our Academy in Moscow is the only licensed “Academy Barcelona” in the former Soviet Union. There are now 320 children between the ages of 6 and 16, compared to 360 before the pandemic.
We have excellent infrastructure (stadiums) and excellent conditions for training and preparing young players. Teams of the Academy play in Moscow, all-Russian and international tournaments. Kondra Kikalishvili distinguished himself in June in Moscow Championship – he scored six goals, showing good dribbling and speed, he became a scorer of the tournament. If Kondra continues to train as hard, then he has all the skills to become a good player.
The academy has a variety of nationalities, including a few of our compatriots. In April 2022, Barcelona will host an international tournament involving teams from dozens of countries with Barcelona Academies. The most outstanding participants of the tournament will stay in Spain to improve their skills. I hope that our Academy pupils will be among those who will distinguish themselves in the upcoming tournament – the unofficial world championship among the teams of the “Academy Barcelona”.
By Tengiz Pachkoria