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  • Writer's pictureChristos Davos

Cybet Stories: When war win football

By cy.Reporter, 19 April, 2021

The currency has two sides. While several major European teams are aiming for profit by counting the millions of revenue generated by the modern football market, others in the past have defied bombs, conquerors and threats, highlighting the purest emotion and true meaning of football. CyNews reminds footballers who became heroes, teams that honored the sporting ideal and actually received more glory than titles and money, defeating the war itself!

March 24, 1999. NATO forces bomb Yugoslavia for the first time. The aim of the NATO bombings is for Serbia to sign a proposal for an agreement on the future of Kosovo. As night fell, planes bombed even residential areas, with the "veil" of war "covering" a troubled region of the Balkans. Everyone watched the bombings from their televisions almost every afternoon with "breathlessness", watching in horror the horrible spectacle of the war.

Athens, April 1st. Dimitris Melissanidis, head of AEK's management at the time, contacted ENIC, the company that was the administration of Dikefalos, and suggested that the team go to Belgrade amid bombing, in order to give a friendly match and "shout" to everyone. the world that football can stop the bombing, but also to honor in this way the refugee "roots" of the club! ENIC as a British interests company could not agree to such a thing, as Great Britain was on the side of the NATO forces that had started the bombing!

However, the movements of the Greek factor are targeted and fast. In the following days, he gives a joint press conference with the big star of AEK, Demi Nikolaidis, in which they announce the "Peace" trip to Belgrade and the holding of a friendly match with Partizan Belgrade! This move seems like a suicide mission. Everyone at AEK decides to go to war-torn Belgrade at their own risk and at the risk of their own lives! The news of the friendly match travels rapidly to all countries and the pressure to cancel the trip by high-ranking officials of several NATO member countries is intense. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain officially expresses its strong dissatisfaction with the decision of AEK, while ENIC is pushing for the cancellation of the historic mission. The British press treats the trip with irony, while the Greek government does not react positively to AEK's energy, as such a risky effort could cost lives and the fear of a diplomatic incident and further escalation of the crisis in the Balkans will be more visible than never. The pressures are intensifying and the news about hitting even during the match is increasing. However, the decision for the historic trip was made.

Holy Tuesday, April 6, 1999. The mission of AEK, which consists of football players, journalists, fans of the largest fan movement of the original 21 team, popular heroes of Greece such as Manolis Glezos, is preparing to travel and be in the heart of war and bombing . Dimitris Melissanidis shortly before the departure of the team with its own aircraft which had come from abroad, as no plane could be found, makes one last statement: "History is not written alone, we write it ourselves. So we decided a Greek team to make this trip that we have called "Peace trip" and to show everyone that sports, and especially football, can become the forerunner of Peace.

The mission spent the night in Hungary and more specifically in Budapest as every night Belgrade was bombed and the risk of losing one's life would be very high. The historic journey to Belgrade began on Holy Wednesday morning. The images that the people of AEK saw until they were first found in the Presidential Palace and then in the Belgrade stadium were shocking. On one side demolished buildings, ruins and on the other side ordinary people to stop the buses, to cry out of gratitude and to throw bread and salt in the streets, a symbol of Serbian hospitality! Ordinary footballers had turned into heroes who would give their own special message through a ball.

Noon Wednesday, April 7, 1999. The hearts of the 22 footballers were beating faster than ever, as their message was clear in every direction. The two teams entered the stadium with a large banner that read "NATO stop the war, stop the bombing" and in their appearances they all had a target painted in the center. AEK and Partizan played a match in which the score did not matter, the goals did not matter as the message was clear. Thus, in the 61st minute, people entered the field and stopped the match, celebrating and giving their own message to the NATO forces, with flags of AEK, Greece and the symbol of victory and peace being raised by every hand.

After a few minutes, the AEK team left the stadium in order to take the road back and find themselves outside the territories that were being bombed as soon as the sun set. AEK's mission, after first being in Hungary, then arrived safe and sound in Greece. Back in Serbia, that night the bombings may not have had the same sound or the same force, as AEK's trip had given inspiration to a tried and tested people who, seeing only shells, saw for a while a small ball resisting and to overcome the fear of war with the Italian historical newspaper Gazzeta Dello Sport to characterize the next day of the friendly AEK as the largest team in the world, as in this match not just an opponent was defeated as strong as he was, but he himself was defeated war!

1942. World War II has spread its tentacles around the world. Ukraine, like dozens of other countries, is under German occupation. The idea for the… principle is born in an orderly oven in Kyiv. Former Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Nikolai Trusevich worked in the oven to make a living. Georg Svetsov's boss tried in vain to persuade him to play in the pro-German Ruh. Trusevic was adamant. How would it feel for thousands of people to watch him fight with the conqueror team?

Trusevich knew he owed his life to Svetsov, as he had saved him from a concentration camp, but he also knew very well that his boss was in the service of the Nazis. The former Dinamo goalkeeper decides to create a new team that will be the awe-inspiring rival of the Germans. He invites all the footballers he knew, most of them from Dinamo and some from Lokomotiv. The beginning is done! The team that would take the "first step" was named Start and would quickly become the symbol of resistance against the German yoke.

The first match was played at the Zenit Stadium against a Hungarian team made up of German allies. Start 6-2 victory "scattered" enthusiasm among the oppressed Ukrainians. The victories continued, the people began to identify with Start and the day came when the crowd rose, when the German PGS was defeated. The Nazi forces saw that they had an unexpected enemy who had neither war clothes nor ammunition, but had only one ball as his "weapon"! Then it is decided to give a fight with the undefeated German team of the air force, Flakfel in order to give a good "lesson".

August 6, 1942. Start is confronted by the undefeated Nazi group of Flakfel soldiers. The result was deafening and "exploded" like a bomb. Start prevailed with characteristic ease and the 5-1 infuriated the Germans. The Nazi forces could not have imagined that some submissive Ukrainians had defeated the Aryan group. "They will play again" was the order given. Thus, after three days, the rematch takes place. However, shortly before the start of the match, the Start players were visited by the referee of the match who was wearing an S.S. uniform. "Do not break any rules" was his message, but at halftime Start was already ahead


Georg Svetsov was then in the locker room and told them to "give" the game, as the consequences for them would be disastrous. However, this made the Start players even more stubborn, who went out on the field to give their lives. In fact, the defender Alexei Klemenko, after first passing the whole German team and the goalkeeper, shortly before scoring in an empty net, decided to look at the opponents and throw the ball towards the center of the field, wanting to show that their mission was completed!

The final 5-3 in favor of Start and the energy of Alexei Klemenko led to retaliation against the Nazi forces. According to Soviet records, the Start players were executed by the Nazis as the blow to their image was severe, while according to another version, several players were first interrogated and then taken to concentration camps where they eventually died.

The Start was the beginning in Kyiv to send a strong message to the conquerors that whatever way they had devised to oppress and kill during World War II, a team and a soccer ball were found to inflict heavy losses on the image. of the conquerors and to show the simple world that in the magical world of football no one is invulnerable.

Research, writing, editing: Christos Davos (cyNews sports editor)


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