#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. At the invitation of the Nornickel company, a team of Russian football legends arrived in the city for a big sports festival dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Norilsk, Company Day and Metallurgist Day. The Russian Football Union (RFU) ambassadors included the bronze medalists of Euro 2008. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this achievement.
RFU ambassadors and sports bloggers started the 2023 festival at the Ayka sports hall with master classes for young Norilsk residents. On the playing field, well-known football players held warm-ups and lessons with almost fifty teenagers devoted to football.
After the grand opening, 12 Norilsk teams took part in the competition.
“We played with twelve teams. The guys all know how to play football. It was not easy to win”, said Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, bronze medalist of Euro 2008, bronze medalist of the Russian Championship, winner of the Russian Cup and Super Cup.
And in order for the football festival to become a holiday not only for athletes, but also for fans, the Russian Football Union partners – Rosbank and NordStar airline- also played their own game. The spectators were not only presented branded T-shirts, but also held drawings of prizes and gifts. The airline, for example, raffled off tickets under the Easy to Fly program, while the Football Union itself raffled off tickets for the Superfinal of the Russian Cup – 2023-24 in football.
The main prize from the RFU went to Andrey Mashchenko – he won a certificate for two people for the Superfinal of the Russian Football Cup – 2023/24. He says it’s nice to receive such a gift, he will definitely go:
“I worked at the Komsomolsky mine, now I’m retired. I will go with my wife, it was she who pulled out the lucky ticket number 66”.
But the airline played its certificates in good football traditions: hit the gate and get a prize. Nine people entered the field, one by one they tried to hit the gate. Three of them succeeded, now they are the happy owners of certificates, which can be used to purchase tickets under the Easy to Fly program.
“In general, there is a very interesting audience here. We were pleasantly welcomed. Before we arrived here, we had been preparing for a month at the training camp but the game still turned out to be tense. Actually everything went great. I would like to thank the fans – those who came and supported. They’ve given much noise today! Thank you very much! Next year, we definitely won’t refuse to come again!” said two-time Russian Cup winner with Spartak and Lokomotiv, two-time silver medalist of the Russian Championship Roman Pavlyuchenko.
“Great experience. Very cool festival. May the football players come every year – they give us so many emotions! This, one might say, is a childhood dream, because in childhood we watched their game, admired them”, said Sultanbek Jidzalov, a member of the Gornyak football team at the Octyabrsky mine.
Text: Denis Kozhevnikov, Maria Ivanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko