Having refused to flee Kyiv, Oleksandr Petrakov wants to use the power of football to support the war effort
When the war broke out in the early hours of 24 February, Oleksandr Petrakov, the manager of Ukraine’s men’s national football team, chose not to leave his home in the capital, Kyiv, as the Russians advanced and shells dropped, but to try to join the fight.
“My family told me to go to western Ukraine but I refused. I said: ‘I am from Kyiv, I can’t leave,’” says Petrakov. “I didn’t think it would be correct as people have to defend and I can’t run. I thought, if they come to Kyiv I will pick up a weapon and defend my city.”