Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Brazilian footballers leave Ukraine amid tense armed conflict



Brazilian footballers leave Ukraine amid tense armed conflict

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian defender Marlon (centre) and teammates take part in a training session at the club’s training ground outside Kyiv on the eve of their football match against Real Madrid on October 18, 2021. AFP

Brazilian footballers leave Ukraine amid tense armed conflict

A contingent of largely Brazilian football players and their families have managed to leave Ukraine after the Russian military offensive, one of the country’s top clubs Shakhtar Donetsk said on Monday.

The group had been hunkered down in a Kyiv hotel basement before their flight overland into Moldova and then Romania, where many of them posted on social media expressing relief and horror.

“Shaktar’s Brazilian players [they have 13 in their squad] have left the country,” the club said, adding that other foreign Ukraine-based stars from Dynamo Kyiv had gone with them.

“After a 16-hour journey we have crossed the Ukraine border and are on our way to Bucharest, where we will fly to Brazil,” Matheus Assaf, the agent of Shakhtar player Vinicius Tobias, said.

The agent thanked Ukraine and Moldova’s football federations, as well as UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin for making their flight possible.

Shaktar’s Italian coach Roberto De Zerbi posted a video of himself and his coaching staff on Instagram saying they were happy to be home.

“But so long as our Ukrainian players and our Ukrainian friends are not as free as us, we can never be truly happy,” De Zerbi said.

Dynamo’s Uruguayan winger Carlos de Pena described a stressful week.

He said he was woken up just before 5am local time on February 24 “by the sound of planes and bombs exploding in Kyiv”.

“Peace ended and the nightmare began. I saw the desperation of people in the streets, queues for the supermarkets and cash points, and people fleeing to the border.”

De Pena, Brazilian teammate Vitinho and other Brazilians took shelter in a hotel basement.

He said on Friday: “You could feel the explosions close by, civilians started dying and the fear grew.”

He was part of a group that escaped by train towards Romania and managed to cross the border into Moldova.

“I was very afraid and hid to cry several times to put on a brave face and not show others my desperation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10