Andriy Shevchenko: Ukraine soccer legend says ‘please do not forget about us’

Because the begin of the invasion on February 24, Shevchenko has been utilizing his platform to boost consciousness and cash for his beloved homeland.

Like many, the previous Ukraine captain and nationwide group supervisor has been deeply affected by the conflict and says it took weeks for him to return to phrases with what was taking place again dwelling.

“Personally, it’s very hard for me. I still feel frustrated about what happened,” he tells CNN Sport.

“I sometimes asked the same question and couldn’t find the answer, but now we only have one direction. We need to win this war and start to rebuild the country.”

Shevchenko and tennis star Elina Svitolina have since been named ambassadors of UNITED24, a corporation arrange by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with the goal of directing donations to the conflict effort.

The initiative has to this point collected over $166M and there are different initiatives within the works with the intention to increase much more.

“The message is very clear. Since the war started, Ukraine needs a lot of help,” Shevchenko, who gained the Ballon D’Or in 2004, says, including that he is in communication with Zelensky.

“I’m here, as part of the UNITED24 platform, to bring awareness and talk about the war to try to find the funds for humanitarian and medical aid, because this is what, at this moment, Ukraine needs.

“We’d like some assist […] to maintain going for our future, our independence, and our democratic means.”

‘We need your help’

Shevchenko, who played for a number of high-profile European sides such as AC Milan and Chelsea, recently visited Poland to meet Ukrainian children who had fled the war and who are now facing an uncertain future as refugees.

While there, he spoke highly of tennis player Iga Swiatek and Polish football star Robert Lewandowski for doing their bit in raising money and awareness of the war.

Last month, Swiatek organized and starred in a charity match which looked to benefit Ukrainians needing support.

“This is essential as a result of, in the meanwhile, athletes are icons for the youthful technology,” Shevchenko adds.

“For individuals to take a place in opposition to the conflict is essential, to ship the message the world over to be in opposition to the conflict and to assist peace in Ukraine. ”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was covered extensively by the global media in the early stages but Shevchenko says it’s “regular” for the news cycle to move on.

However, he says it’s important that people are made aware of just how dangerous it is for those still living in Ukraine amid daily bombing.

Just recently, Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of launching rockets at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, raising fears of an accident.

The UN watchdog has warned that fighting at the occupied complex risks a “nuclear catastrophe.”

“We do not have to overlook what is going on on in Ukraine. Russians hold bombing and the conflict has by no means stopped,” Shevchenko says.

“Ukrainian individuals, for us, we’d like unimaginable assist from the world. Please do not forget about us. We’d like your assist.”

Energy of sport

Shevchenko says he has seen simply how highly effective sport might be in spreading consciousness and elevating morale within the nation for the reason that conflict began.

In June, he watched the Ukrainian national team beat Scotland in its first competitive match since the invasion and, despite his country failing to make the World Cup in Qatar after losing to Wales, Shevchenko says the team gave their compatriots hope.
Ukraine stuns Scotland in World Cup qualifier to give war-torn country a morale boost

“Sport has an unimaginable energy to unite individuals,” he says. “It was unimaginable to sit down within the crowd of Scottish individuals and have unimaginable assist for Ukraine.

“I felt like we were playing at home because the people united around the terrible war in Ukraine and wanted Ukraine to do well.

“I believe the gamers did so nicely and tried very onerous however it’s sport, and in sport, there is just one winner.”

There are now plans for the Ukrainian Premier League to return later this month after fixtures were suspended when fighting broke out.

The country’s sports minister, Vadym Guttsait, said matches would be played behind closed doors and stadiums equipped with safety measures.

“It is essential for the individuals, for the remainder of the world — we are able to ship the message that Ukraine is there,” Shevchenko says about the prospect of domestic football returning.

“Even when we’re at conflict contained in the nation, we’re going to struggle as a result of we wish to additionally stay like regular international locations, regular lives.”