Some of Ukraine’s top footballers are far away from the bombed-out cities and battlefields in their homeland. They play for peace throughout Europe and that’s something they want to bring to England.
Shakhtar Donetsk, one of Ukraine’s most powerful teams, is now their Director of Football Darijo Srna has said to Sky News that they would love Manchester City for the next stage in their peace tour.
“My dream and ours is to play against Manchester City. We have many connections with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City…their captain Fernandinho was our ex-player as well as Zinchenko.”
Oleksandr Zinchenko is the Manchester City defender. He is one of three Ukrainians playing in the Premier League. He started at the Shakhtar Donetsk school.
Srna stated that the clubs were “friends” and that they knew each other.
“I know they are waiting and we will do everything possible to arrive in England and face Manchester City.
Srna stated that she believes the global tour will continue in July and possibly August. However, many clubs from England may call her to play against them.
After matches in Greece and Turkey, the tour has raised nearly PS300,000. They will be playing Hajduk Split in Croatia on Sunday to finish their first round.
Shakhtar had to leave their home stadium, Donbass Arena in 2014 because of the ongoing conflict with Russia in the east.
Although they have played matches at other stadiums in Ukraine, they remain committed to their community and the people of their home city.
Many of Shakhtar’s players will be joining the Ukrainian national team next week to begin training together for the delayed World Cup playoff match against Scotland on June 1.
The World Cup finals in Qatar will be played between the winner and Wales.
“We forget about war for just 90 minutes”
Shakhtar hopes to resume their peace tour once the playoffs are over. Dynamo Kyiv, their rivals, are also fundraising in Europe.
Srna said, “We will travel anywhere if we receive help for Ukrainian people…physically, we are here, but our hearts and souls are in Ukraine.”
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“For us it’s not a problem for us to fly to USA and Brazil. It is important that we help all who need help in this moment.
He stated that the chance to play and represent those who were caught up in war gave their staff and players a renewed sense for purpose. “We must be positive, we must smile together and share our sorrows together.
“When we play for 90 minutes, it is all good and we forget all about war. After that, we all get together on our phones and talk to our friends about the happenings.”
They raise money to send money to those who defend Ukraine, the medical teams in Ukraine and children from Ukraine.
Srna stated, “We are showing everyone that we are one Family.”
After being suspended in February by Russia, the Ukrainian Premier League season has been declared over.
Shakhtar was the top team in the league. They will be eligible for the Champion’s League next season, but they have no plans to stop touring the globe.