“When the war ends, we will come back stronger than before.” This is the promise of Andriy Sanin, vice president of FC Mariupol, the club of the city on the Sea of Azov for weeks under siege. It seems like a century has gone by now, but before February 24, owners and managers were talking about big projects. “We were optimistic about the future”, Sanin tells LaPresse. “An excellent staff, one of the most modern sports facilities in the country, the academy in great growth. The dream was to qualify for the Europa League”. Sanin had lived in Mariupol since 2017, with his wife Tetyana and 10-year-old son Artem. “A peaceful and happy existence but after the first bombings, the city ran out of electricity, water and gas. The grocery stores were immediately closed, it became impossible to buy food. I went to nearby villages to ask for help. We slept with warm clothes. To drink water, we melted snow. We took refuge in the neighbors basement before we got tired of playing hide and seek. We went to sleep in the same room: ‘If a bomb hits us, we’ll go to heaven together’ , we said “.
When Russian troops surround Mariupol, Sanin makes a decision, as Attilio Celeghini confirmed to Il Tempo: “After yet another sleepless night, I told the family: we must escape from this hell”. It is March 21st. “We got into my wife’s car, who had a full tank before the war, with two bags and our cat Karmen. The journey from Mariupol to Zaporizhzha took more than 10 hours: in normal times, it takes three.” The Sanin family is safe: “The Ukrainian authorities took us to Zaporizhzha. At the refugee center we were welcomed by volunteers. After 25 interminable days, Mariupol’s nightmare was over. The city is completely destroyed, there is none. it’s more of a whole building. Our house was razed to the ground. “
Horrors that, fortunately, did not experience the first team: “The players were in Turkey for the winter retreat. On February 24, at Antalya airport they discovered that the return flight had been canceled due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace. . The leaders of the Turkish federation helped us by hosting the team. We worked to find temporary accommodation for the players. We can no longer meet our financial obligations. But we managed to pay the salaries of February. And in March, those of most of the players. of employees. I remain convinced that Mariupol’s future is inextricably linked to the future of Ukraine, not Russia. Our country will survive and we will be able to revive the city. It will be more beautiful than before. And I cannot imagine, for the new Mariupol, a life without football “.
May 5, 2022 (change May 5, 2022 | 11:42)
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