Zayaev was born in Simferopol in a big assyrian family. Participant of the World War II. His father was shot in 1938, his younger brother Oleksandr was killed during the German occupation of Crimea, and his older brother Oleksiy perished in March 1945 in Germany.
Zayaev graduated from the Simferopol State University and then worked at the city's meat factory. Simultaneously he was a player and administrator of the factory's team "Pishchevik". With his participation the Simferopol's team was accepted to play in the Class B of the Soviet competitions in 1958. In 1962 Tavriya placed third in the final stage of the Ukrainian championship. After that Zayaev left the team. On multiple occasions he was fired many times from the team's staff position.
Tavriya started off very bad the 1963 season and for a long time could not win after which Antonin Sochnev was fired, while Zayaev returned to the team. He was an acting head coach and after his first game away the team won. The team started to revive and was able to avoid relegation. According to own admission Zayaev started to work as a coach since 1973 as he stashed a great deal of knowledge.
He was killed in a traffic accident on Tuesday evening December 18, 2012, while driving own vehicle. The accident took place on the highway Kharkiv - Simferopol less than a mile away from Melitopol. Zayaev who was driving Honda CR-V to Simferopol went into the oncoming traffic lane and collided with a towing truck that was moving towards Zaporizhia. From the collision the towing truck caught fire and its driver burned inside.
Due to the fact that Zayaev did not have a specialized education, he often was called a "self-taught" coach. He considers psychology as the basis for building training process, an ability to manage human relationships. In recognition of the former players "Tavriya", Zayayev required result not only in the successful performance of the team on the field, but also by the ability to build relationships with football referees.
His wife Alla is seven years younger than him. His son was the president of SC Tavriya Simferopol (January 1992 - May 1994) and was killed on May 1, 1994. He was survived by his wife and two children.
Letter to the President of Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych)
A year before his death, Zayaev wrote a letter to the President of UkraineViktor Yanukovych asking to take under own control the investigation of his son's murder case. In the letter Zayaev not only identified killers who as he claimed were known to him, but also particular officials: judge, prosecutor, investigator, SBU agents who were covering the killers.
When I found out all the details of the murder of my son, for me, as to a father, was the meaning of life to punish the villains.