THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Abandoned by time, Russian provinces cherish World Cup cheer

WORLD CUP: Halfway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg in a city abandoned by time, the ball pings across the slushy snow as boys emulate the stars who will shine at the World Cup.

FootballWorld-Cup
By AFP

Saturday 9 June 2018, 12:00PM


Boys play football in a snow-covered yard in the city of Veliky Novgorod. Photo: Konstantin Chalabov / AFP

Boys play football in a snow-covered yard in the city of Veliky Novgorod. Photo: Konstantin Chalabov / AFP

More than a thousands years old, Veliky Novgorod has followed the fate of many other historic Russian cities, losing its lustre and burdened by the grim realities of provincial life.

But social problems seem that little bit less important as the world’s most celebrated sports event approaches, filling abandoned corners of Russia with the thrill of the beautiful game.

Watchful parents are bundled up in parkas while their children zip around a fenced-in courtyard stripped down to their sweatshirts and woolly hats, elastic scarves around their necks.

The fence is made of steel beams covered in peeling rust, painful to bounce off of and emblematic of the life of hard knocks Veliky Novgorod has endured since the Soviet Union’s fall.

Yet the focus here is squarely on football, which in the northern Russian springtime is played by kids in conditions more suitable to skiing.

The boys come prepared. They split up into teams, dressed in jerseys with numbers on their backs.

Each has his own pair of football boots, some new and some worn, which surprisingly maintain a solid grip on the mix of snow and ice packed tightly into the ground.

A deep-blue sky above and decrepit apartment blocs around them, the boys hop, skip and dream – each conjuring up a fantasy of playing in a World Cup of their own.

A flock of pigeons spring up from the skeletal trees, scared off by the shrieks of sheer joy that football brings to every corner of Russia – even ones unfamiliar with big city comforts.

They kids take breathers plunked down on mounds of snow, puddles forming around them under the first licks of the sun’s warmth.

And once completely exhausted, the boys pack up their footballs in a big net sack, toss them in the car trunk along with their dreams – until the next game.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Protect Andaman mass beach cleanup at Layan nets 92kg of trash

So they picked up 92.5 kilos of garbage and put it in about 100 large plastic bags....They also have...(Read More)


New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

"Use Firefox to search, Google blocks access" this should NOT be allowed... only a derange...(Read More)


Free emergency water now deployed across Phuket

"We now have free emergency water for residents," and so it bloody well should be. "...(Read More)


Free emergency water now deployed across Phuket

One can only but laugh at Proff k....(Read More)


Free emergency water now deployed across Phuket

Sigh, I go cycling every day and every day I see water being wasted, often by the city! Yesterday a...(Read More)


Power outage to leave Cherng Talay, Kamala, Srisoonthorn without water

Unbelievable. The city is installing electricity infrastructure and apologised for the disruption, ...(Read More)


Protect Andaman mass beach cleanup at Layan nets 92kg of trash

and when they do clean up, the clowns still complain....(Read More)


New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

Mental issues under the Mental Health Act are decided on expert medical evdience not precedent, ther...(Read More)


Thailand bans Boeing 737 MAX flights for 7 days

Do the thai pilots already have Boeing 737 Max flight simulator training in usa? The Indonesian and ...(Read More)


Protect Andaman mass beach cleanup at Layan nets 92kg of trash

Is it not strange not keeping thai beaches daily clean, a normal thing, but just once in a while don...(Read More)