In Georgia, the scandal surrounding the basketball player Tornike Shengelia, who has signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow, is not abating. Many compatriots, including President Salome Zurabishvili, condemned him for moving to the Russian team.
The forward himself has already commented on his transfer. However, the criticism did not cease, and a few days later he again turned to dissatisfied with his decision.
The basketball player thanked those who supported in this situation, and emphasized that he did not intend to make excuses to anyone.
“I can’t explain how much joy and happiness I experienced just a few days ago when I became the champion of Spain and got the opportunity to celebrate with the Georgian flag! I can’t explain that moving to one of the best teams in Europe will give me more chances to win, and therefore, more often glorify our flag ... I, Tornike Shengelia, have been, am and will be the bearer of the Georgian soul everywhere. No comments or statements made by anyone can change this! ”Shengelia wrote on Facebook.
Forward publicly supported by family members. So, his father, a famous basketball player Kakha Shengelia in the past, called not to mix sport and politics, but instead rejoice that his son moved to one of the best teams in Europe.
In turn, his wife Salome Dzhugheli emphasized that the basketball player is not only a great patriot himself, but also teaches love for the homeland of his sons.
“I love you, and I am happy that we bring up three Georgian men who say“ Our Father ”every day before bedtime! At the age of 4-5 years, we began to teach them their native language, and at 5-6 years old, away from their homeland, they freely write and read Georgian! ”, Dzhugeli turned to her husband.
The situation around Shengelia is complicated by the fact that he is the captain of the Georgian national team. Over the past six years, he played in the “Basque Country”, with which he became the champion of Spain last season, and before that he was part of the teams of the National Basketball League (NBA) “Brooklyn Nets” and “Chicago Bulls”.
It is worth noting that the Georgian Basketball Federation does not share the position of radically-minded fans. The organization expressed the hope that the striker will continue to protect the colors of his team.
Supported by a basketball player and colleagues. Former captain of the Georgian national team Vakhtang Natsvlishvili noted that the striker’s career could be in danger if he refused to transfer to CSKA, as Muscovites bought his contract.
“I write these words not only as a former captain of the national team to the current captain, but also as an ordinary fan. You need to know Tornike personally in order to be ashamed of at least a little, participating in the pressure that a large part of society puts him. I am confident in his spirit and dignity! Toko is a patriot of the country and the Georgian soul, ”Natsvlishvili said.
The positive qualities of Shengelia and its patriotism are also evidenced by the actions that he committed in secret from everyone. A member of the Georgian kickboxing team, Helen Holdze, said that some time ago she risked missing the World Cup due to a lack of money. Her coach was looking for a sponsor, but a basketball player came to the rescue, accidentally learning about their problem.
“The only thing he asked at that moment was to keep this story a secret. But I feel obligated to support him. It’s hard to say that Tornike Shengelia is not a patriot! ”Said Loladze.
The goalkeeper of the USSR national team Anzor Kavazashvili did not stay away from the incident. He sharply condemned the words of the Georgian president and called discrimination that the athlete is accused of finding better conditions.
“I consider it a wild situation where in our time, freedom of speech, freedom of legal action causes a public outcry ... When I left Dynamo Tbilisi, offended journalists and members of the Georgian government also accused me of betrayal. But when I became the best goalkeeper, got into the USSR national team, started playing in Europe, the vector of conversations changed: everyone started talking about what skill I gained in the new team, and even asked me to come back, ”NEWS.ru quoted Kavazashvili as saying.
Nevertheless, many in Georgia are still outraged by the basketball player’s transition to CSKA. One of the local journalists told Match TV that people are disappointed with the captain of the national team, who will now go on the stage to the song “The Red Army is Stronger”, played at Muscovites' matches. In his opinion, Shengelia had a chance to refuse the deal and “become a legend”, but instead chose money.