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Phoenix' away games

Out of Play

It seemed to be a long-forgotten memory. Fragmentary reflections from the distant past...

We have long proved that friendship and sports can go well together. One can fight irreconcilably in the sports ground and make friends outside of it. By corresponding and spending leisure time together. Supporting each other and having fun interacting with one another. The social function of sports has always been the key one to us.

And we were in the luck. The majority of our opponents are the clubs one would want to play and be friends with. So, we completely forgot that the situation could be the opposite. When teams that are incapable of achieving significant results in sports, bring impudence and rudeness into play. For which the boundaries of sports and human ethics are blurred. That there are coaches who can swear obscenities at a player of the opposing team during a match in a regular game episode. That there are adults who do not hesitate to throw mud at children and fans throughout the match or to humiliate the referees.

One can hardly conceive such things occurring in matches that involve the state's leading children's futsal clubs. This has never happened even in the most important and decisive matches, that Phoenix has played a lot of. Neither in the national championships nor in the Cup finals. Because cool coaches who model the behavior of a child athlete are sure to teach them not only to win. First of all, they teach the sportsman to respect their partners, coaches, fans, and, of course, rivals. They teach their trainees to take a blow and to accept defeat with dignity. Developing the qualities that are important for men – both grown up and young.

Other behaviors hide insecurities. And the team that reached the final largely due to the circumstances under which one of the main top dogs of the tournament - the Sokil of Khmelnytskyi - did not bring the main team to the Carpathians, having registered younger players, decided to take advantage of its chance to the best of its ability.

As it turned out, most of the coaches of the participating teams were aware of what was behind the aggressive attitude to the game with us. There's probably nothing too wrong with the attitude. However, no additional motivation allows us to forget that the opposing team is composed of kids just like us. The kids that are doing what they love most.

Kamjani Potoky had all the chances to win the final. Just like they won a face-to-face game with us in the group stage before. For Phoenix's seven players it was the seventh match in four days, so they did not aim to 'kill' themselves in the field over the main prize of a friendly summer tournament. Having escalated the situation to the limit and wound up both themselves, the opponent, and the judges, the team from Kamjani Potoky managed to turn the game into nothing but a match of honor for the Kharkivites.

So, the endless swearing and insults that Phoenix listened to in their address silently, gritting their teeth, from the opposition and the opposition's coach during the game, did not pass without a trace. Phoenix may be exhausted, but its players have attitude and self-esteem.

Neither two players born in 2005 in the tournament for the players born in 2006, one of whom was not even included in the team's application for the tournament, nor a much larger bench saved the opposition. Even the significant psychological advantage gained at the end of the match, when the team from Kamjani Potoky managed to win back two goals in the last minutes and lead the meeting to a penalty shootout, saved nothing.

Even then, immediately after the final whistle, Volodymyr Lazeba, who saved the penalty shootout, threw a snarky remark at the opponents' coach. In the same clear language that both our goalkeeper and his teammates listened to insults addressed to them throughout the match. The remark should certainly better have been omitted, but was quite explainable. In response, the coach, who, by the way, was sent off by the judges in the first half, but refused to leave the court, hit the guy with his head in the face and provoked a fight in the field. It was the first fight in our history, followed by the first separate awarding of teams in our history.

Volodymyr Lazeba did not see the awarding ceremony, the ambulance took the latter to the hospital. The guys won their first wartime tournament on Kharkiv Day in low spirits because of the incident.