Temur Ketsbaia

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Temuri Ketsbaia
Temur Ketsbaia (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-03-18) 18 March 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth Gali, Georgia, Soviet Union
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1986 Dinamo Sukhumi
1987 Dinamo Tbilisi
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1992 Dinamo Tbilisi 104 (23)
1992–1994 Anorthosis 76 (36)
1994–1997 AEK Athens 84 (24)
1997–2000 Newcastle United 78 (8)
2000–2001 Wolverhampton Wanderers 24 (3)
2001–2002 Dundee 22 (6)
2002–2006 Anorthosis 100 (39)
Total 488 (139)
National team
1992–2003 Georgia 49 (16)
Teams managed
2004–2009 Anorthosis
2009 Olympiacos
2009–2014 Georgia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Temuri "Temur" Ketsbaia (Georgian: თემურ ქეცბაია; born 18 March 1968 in Gali) is a Georgian football manager and former player. As a player he represented the Georgian national team and played for Dinamo Tbilisi, Anorthosis, AEK, Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Dundee.

Ketsbaia is often regarded as having played a major role in the revival of Anorthosis and he enjoys iconic status at the Cypriot club, since in his time there he elevated the team to the most successful era in its history. Anorthosis in 2010 decided to retire his number 14, recognising his services.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Gali, Abkhaz ASSR, Georgian SSR, he began his career with minor Georgian team Dinamo Sukhumi before transferring to Dinamo Tbilisi, the country's biggest team. He came to prominence whilst with Dinamo and earned a move to Cypriot club Anorthosis in 1992 and then to Greece with AEK Athens FC, winning the Greek Cup with the club.

Under the Bosman ruling, Ketsbaia became a free agent and joined Newcastle United in the summer of 1997. A popular figure with the fans, Ketsbaia is not only remembered for his performance, but also for his bizarre celebrations, such as throwing his shirt into the crowd and aggressively kicking the advertising hoardings (McDonald's and Adidas ones specifically) after scoring a late winning goal against Bolton Wanderers in 1998. He later revealing he had done so in frustration at being left out of the starting line-up.

As a Newcastle player, he participated in the 1998 and 1999 FA Cup Finals against Arsenal and Manchester United. Although Newcastle lost 2–0 on both occasions, these matches were the highlight of his football career.

In the summer of 1997 newly signed Ketsbaia scored a goal in extra-time against Croatia Zagreb and won a place for Newcastle United in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.[1]

He left St James' Park in 2000 to sign for Wolverhampton Wanderers and in 2001 joined Dundee.


After he come back to Anorthosis in 2002 he became crowds fan favourite. He was the first coach that formed and directed a Cypriot team up to the Champions League qualification, just before the semi-finals. His name has been signed to the golden pages of Cypriot football. Things that characterized him are his realistic way that he used to react, talk and handle the press.

Managerial career[edit]

He returned to Anorthosis in the Summer of 2002 as a player-coach. He became player-manager in January 2004. In his first summer he bought 11 players, mostly well-known ones, who helped the team win the championship title in Ketsbaia's first full-season as a manager.

In the summer of 2005, Ketsbaia entered the Cypriot football hall of fame as Anorthosis beat Turkish side Trabzonspor in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, despite being underdogs. However the following season was a disaster for Ketsbaia and Anorthosis as they finished 4th in the league and failed to qualify for Europe. In the summer of 2004, he made massive changes to the squad, bringing in eleven new players. He was hoping to re-establish Anorthosis as the dominant force in Cypriot football.

On 30 June 2007, Ketsbaia announced his retirement from professional football. His last match before retiring was held on July 14.[2]

On 28 September 2008, he threw his name in the ring for the vacant Newcastle managers position. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, he said: "I had a great opportunity to play at Newcastle as a player, so why not as a manager?" [3]

In the 2008–09 season, Anorthosis, having Ketsbaia at the wheel, was the first Cypriot team in history to reach the group stage of UEFA Champions League, after defeating Olympiacos 3–1 on aggregate in the third qualifying round. In the group stages they beat the Greek team Panathinaikos 3–1, drew both games with Werder Bremen. They drew (3–3) at home, and lost away 0–1 to Internazionale Milan. In the final game they had the opportunity of finishing second, but Anorthosis lost 0–1 away to Panathinaikos. With Inter (who had already qualified) losing 2–1 away to Werder they finished in fourth place, missing out on a place in the UEFA Cup.

In the week before the match club directors had gone to the police complaining of financial irregularities being carried out by the club President who was forced to resign, despite support from Ketsbaia and club supporters.[4] Ketsbaia was reported as saying that he was no longer interested in coaching the team if the President was no longer running the club.

In April 2009, Ketsbaia stood down as coach of Anorthosis.[5] On 25 May 2009 the chairman of Olympiacos announced that Ketsbaia had been appointed the club's manager on a three-year deal, replacing Ernesto Valverde;[6] however, on 15 September 2009, Ketsbaia and Olympiacos parted company following early criticism from the club's supporters, despite Olympiakos not conceding a goal during his tenure.[7]

In November 2009 he was announced as manager of the Georgian national side, which he represented 49 times as a player. He claimed that while he could not promise a major tournament in the near future, the team would fight to reach one.[8] On 3 March 2010, Ketsbaia managed his first national team game, a friendly against Estonia in a 2–1 victory.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 14 November 2014.
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % GF GA +/-
Cyprus Anorthosis 2004 2009 108 73 13 22 67.59% 218 83 +135
Greece Olympiacos May 2009 September 2009 6 5 1 0 83.33% 9 0 +9
 Georgia November 2009 November 2014 40 13 9 18 32.5% 32 43 –11
Total 154 91 23 40 59.09% 259 126 +133


As a player[edit]

Dinamo Tbilisi
AEK Athens

As a coach[edit]



  1. ^ "Ketsbaia secures prize at the last". The Independent. 28 August 1997. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Ketsbaia announces retirement, Abkhazia Institute for Social and Economic Research. 30 June 2007.
  3. ^ Ketsbaia wants Newcastle job, Sunday Mirror 28 September 2008.
  4. ^ Embattled Anorthosis boss stands down, Cyprus Mail, 2 December 2008
  5. ^ "Ketsbaia calls it quits at Anorthosis". UEFA.com. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  6. ^ Griechenland: Valverde musste trotz des Doubles gehen: Ketsbaia übernimmt Olympiakos
  7. ^ "Ketsbaia leaves Olympiakos". skysports.com. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  8. ^ "Temuri Ketsbaia appointed as new Georgia coach". goal.com. 2009-11-06. 

External links[edit]