Twelve orphanages from all over Russia met at the Stadium PFC CSKA in Moscow to compare strengths at the football tournament MTG United for Peace on 7-8 September.
The 12-14 year olds from Moscow, Pskov, Voronezh, Ryazan, Ivanovo, Kaluga, Yaroslavl, Bryansk, Vologda and the Tula region were all very keen, showing real determination.
That became even more evident in the semi-finals when the team Yesenin met Constellation in a very emotional game. Yesenin had several injured players who still tried their best, fighting as best they could, but had to give up their dream of reaching the final and lost the game 0-2.
Enthusiastic cheerleaders supported their teams and entertained the audience before the second half of each game with acts especially put on for the occasion. The acts then got judged by popular TV presenter Irina Muromtseva. Alexey Rodnishev made a real impression on the crowd and got voted “Best player” scoring no less than 13 goals in total. Three players from the Rybnovkaya school proved how keen they were at playing, overcoming personal traumas to practice the sport they love.
The battle close to the final was fierce and even; a penalty shootout was required to bring the team from Kalacheevskaya Orphanage to the final. Last year the team came third and they had been practicing furiously to get to the top this year. It paid off and the team will go on to represent Russia in the final in Oslo after their 2-0 win in the final, against Kireevsl.
The finalists were properly celebrated when their heroes from PFC CSKA Moscow: Aleksei Berezutski, Seydou Doumbia, Evgeni Aldonin, Zoran Tosic, Alan Dzagoev, Elver Rahimic, Sekou Oliseh and the head coach of the club Leonid Slutskiy congratulated them. They all came up to each and every player to wish them good luck for the finals in Norway and give them their prizes and gifts.
The teams in second and third place received invites to a trip back to Moscow during the autumn school holidays for a tour of the city. The best teams also got to play a friendly match against celebrities including Aristarch Venecia, actor and singer Egor Salnikov, singer Alexander Bandos and DJ Sergio.
A sports commentator competition took place during the ongoing matches with the children taking turns to commentate the exciting games. Professional commentator Igor Znamensky was quiet for once, listening carefully to select the winners. Big celebrations took place outside the matches as well. Master classes in yoga, make-up and the martial-arts-meets-dance combination capoeira were offered as well as trying out fun sports. A mobile photo studio printed memorable photos of the children with the celebrities at the tournament. The pictures were then signed and distributed to the children with autographs of Anastasia Osipova from the famous pop group “Blestyashie”, Anna Chapman, Dan Rapoport, Vladimir Tyagichev, Aristarch Venecia and others.
“This was one of the most exciting events we have ever organised. It is really great to see so many kids sharing one interest, chasing one goal. And it was amazing to see the support,” said Maria Kuzminova, president of charity fund Podelis teplom, a joining partner of the event.