Four years have passed since the creation of the national team of Ukraine among veterans

February 23, 2016 in the building of the House of Football in a festive atmosphere, in the presence of legends of national football and the UAF leadership, announced the creation of a national team of Ukraine among veterans.

UAF President Andriy Pavelko wished the initiator of the creation of a "dream team" and its organizer Oleg Sobutsky, the team coaches Anatoliy Demyanenko and Volodymyr Lozynsky, as well as numerous players successfully held matches, continued to unite Ukraine with football holidays and support Ukraine.

Four years have passed since that football day. Difficult, complex, but incredibly interesting and eventful. UAF Vice-President, AVFU President Oleg Sobutsky told about them:

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- During this time the national team spent about two hundred matches, we were in all regions of Ukraine, visited the countries of Europe, North and South America. Everywhere we are delighted to be welcomed, the players and coaches, as if they have overthrown their tens of years, are back on the football field with applause from the fans, and they deserve the attention they deserve. After the end of his career, not every player immediately finds an interesting job in football, there is a lack of habitual intense rhythm of life, away, preparation for matches. They find the second football youth in the national team of veterans.

Each of our duels is preceded by a grand opening ceremony, thousands of spectators gather in the stands, after the games, no matter how they end, the queues are sought from those wishing to chat or take a photo together. The team has become a real single family, we have a very friendly team, for which I want to thank each of the more than a hundred players who donned blue and yellow T-shirts during this time, wise coaches Anatoliy Demyanenko and Vladimir Lozynsky. All this time we have felt the support of Andriy Pavelko and Vasyl Orletsky. Special thanks to our dedicated fans. Everywhere we come, from metropolitan areas to small towns, we have always felt the attention and warmth. This is the most important thing that inspires further work.

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- Four years ago, you talked about the main goal of the national team - supporting the military in the ATO zone ...

- Our team is not detached from real life, everything that is happening in the country goes through our hearts. We see that in the east, where tens of thousands of troops are defending our borders and security, people continue to shoot and die. It is our duty - to support, to cheer up, to show that football legends with them are in the most difficult times for the country. We spend about a third of our matches with the military, visiting units and units. We are also frequent visitors to the east, playing in the village of Lugansk, Popasnaya, Rubezhnoye, Krasnogorovka, Starobilsk, Novoaydar, Kramatorsk and many other towns and villages near the line of demarcation. In addition to football, we hold many meetings with military and local residents, refusing to give anyone photographs, souvenirs or any assistance.

- With Ukraine it is clear, what causes our legends to go to the other end of the globe?

- It's no secret that Ukrainians are in every country of the world. Somewhere, like in Canada, Spain, or the US, they are a powerful force. They are united in unions, actively support the native culture, traditions. We have visited Toronto twice, which is the real center of Ukrainian Canada, besides holding matches, participated in the festival of Ukrainians, together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Christie Freeland, addressed the audience of thousands, received a special letter from the Prime Minister of the country Justin Trudeau to promote friendship between Canada and Ukraine. The same goes for the USA, where we won representative tournaments in Chicago and Tampa. Incredible impressions were touring cities of Brazil and Argentina, traditional annual winter tournaments in Georgia, matches against leading veteran teams of Spain and more.

The team meets with Ukrainians all over the world, stresses that in the east we have a war going on, that Ukraine needs support from developed countries of the world. This is popular diplomacy that we hope will benefit our country. What impresses you most is that our country's famous football players have adopted this idea and are now the real ambassadors of Ukraine to the world.

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- What are your plans for the team in the coming years?

- There are many of them, and the purpose of our matches remains unchanged - to support the military in the East of Ukraine. In January this year, the Ukrainian national team won the prestigious David Petriashvili Memorial Tournament in Georgia. An interesting program is planned for the European Championship, where we will support the Ukrainian national team with the whole veteran family. There are already arrangements to hold a match in Amsterdam with the Netherlands national team, there are plans for duels in Bucharest. We will certainly welcome our military friends to the east - we have friendly relations with many units and have already received many invitations. In general, we receive many offers to host matches from all over Ukraine and the world. We carefully plan the schedule, trying not to deny anyone.

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