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The Baltic guide to goalkeeping - blunders and wonders

Angelo PalmeriComment
A special pair of Errea gloves for goalkeepers...however, what would stop them from doing blunders?

A special pair of Errea gloves for goalkeepers...however, what would stop them from doing blunders?

The goalkeeper role is either a darn or a blessing, it depends on the day.

One day you can be a hero, the next one a villain.

If in a football team we can talk about 'lines' (defence, midfield, forward) which are teams within the team, the goalkeeper is a 'one-man show'.

In the good or in the bad, the goalkeeper is and will always be alone.

He can save a team's blunder and become the MOTM. However, no one can save one of his blunders and it will be remembered for years to come, transferred from generation to generation.

If once the word of mouth was enough to recount the legendary mistakes of the nr.1's, today YouTube and social network era are helping the word going faster.

Our Baltic football makes no exception.

A while ago, our video of Latvian goalkeeper of BATE Borisov (Belarus) has hit over 90,000 views in few days.

Irony wanted that on the other side of the goal was Artur Kotenko, Estonian goalkeeper at Shakhtar Soligorsk. It was a perfect day for the Estonian shot stopper as the game ended 2-0 for Shakhtar with Malins' blunders accouted as Shakhtar's main reasons of successes.

However, goakeepers are sympathetic with each other and we are sure Artur had a merciful thought at his Latvian neighbour and colleague. Especially, thinking back to a Levadia-Flora derby from 2003 when, his blunder, allowed Zahovaiko (Flora) to score a goal and help winning the Tallinn 'El Clasico'. The episode was recounted vividly by Franco Pancheri, his coach at Levadia in 2003: ''In football something unpredictable happens and all your plans are put off: Zahovaiko did not even realize he scored!’’ Franco recalled laughing. 

Moving further south, it's the turn of Lithuanian goalkeeper Mindaugas Malinauskaus, 30-year-old goalkeeper at Lithuanian A-Lyga side Atlantas Klaipeda.

In the pre-emptive attempt to avoid a goal, he actually helped the opposition scoring one

Obviously it's not nice to make fun only of the neighbouring goalkeepers.

What about Estonia?

We have recently offered the amazing diving skills of Levadia's goalkeeper, Roman Smiśko. He is actually Ukrainian however he has been incontrovertibly judged 2013 season best shot stopper in Estonia.

When comes to natives, it is quite hard to find a goalkeeper whose blunders have stayed legendary, Kotenko aside. However, a goalkeeper who have built a solid reputation is Stanislav Prins (his former last name was Pedõk).

One of his pearls has helped Albert Prosa, now teammate at Flora, to increase his Premium Liiga tally.

Now that I have pointed fingers at everyone, it is nice to share my own experience between the sticks in the Baltic. Being an amateur 7-a-side and futsal goalkeeper does not save me. Actually, I know to be in good company with top professionals when doing my blunder from time to time.

It was just in last December when I was entrusted to defend the goal of FC Kuressaare fans team in the Aastalõputurniir that I managed to bring a smile to a almost full-house sport palace. What seemed like an easy ball to control, turned into a drama.

However, do not make too much fun of us!
We are able to accomplish incredible feats. Like Artur Kotenko, scoring from a long throw...

...or myself doing it on smaller scale (a gesture repeated few weeks ago in Saku Suurhall but with no tv this time)...

We are obviously all inspired by the legend of Mart Poom and his header at Derby County.

Beware! We (Baltic) goalkeepers are a race apart!