EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 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
Foul stench of sewage in black-water canal spurs Phuket hotel wastewater inspections

“We are planing to inspect suspicious hotels in the area from Monday (Aug 21),” he said. Will n...(Read More)


Phuket to hold mass merit-making event for Phoenix victims

Poor wording, "merit-making" Merit, the quality of being particularly good or worthy, esp...(Read More)


Phuket Governor to appeal to Cabinet for B108mn to improve marine safety

So this is his final gift to his cronies before being shuffled to the next area where he can continu...(Read More)


On Phuket, hotel guests check out of plastic waste

Why the pic of Bali when every beach on Phuket right now is also encrusted with refuse? Could the ...(Read More)


Phuket law office raided over nominee land deals for foreigners

If you ever need some remote editing done...I know just the person. btw I loathe the 3 stage captch...(Read More)


Foul stench of sewage in black-water canal spurs Phuket hotel wastewater inspections

Once again their "solution" is let it flow more freely into the sea. The guys says it stin...(Read More)


Truck driver blames reckless tourist for motorbike slam

How utterly tacky to show the victim and the blood. Please pretend like you've got some class an...(Read More)


Disaster officials on alert amid heavy rain warning

If you bothered to read the article it states, "... small boats keep ashore lasting 20 August.&...(Read More)


Phuket Town ‘unofficial parking crew’ cleared by police to collect ‘tips’

Geez...by putting your own silly spin on the article, don't you people read or understand a simp...(Read More)


Phuket Governor to appeal to Cabinet for B108mn to improve marine safety

Nonsense! Phuket marine safety is not about money! It is about apathy and laziness of marine officia...(Read More)