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Watch: Players ‘in tears’ as Football makes a return in war-torn Ukraine

Ukraine Premier League

“When I play football, I don’t think about the war. We should play for our country,” were the words of Taras Stepanenko, a Shakhtar Donetsk football player. He has played 200 games for the club and faced many difficult situations in those games. This, however, will be the first time, when the difficulty could be such as air raids and a threat of an attack from the skies.

The Russia- Ukraine war turned normalcy on its head for the Ukrainian people. Thousands of lives were lost in what has been a very senseless war between the two Eurasian countries.

The fighting spirit of Ukraine has been lauded all over the world. The European country is marching ahead on the road to recovery. The return of the Ukraine Premier League is the next step towards restoring some sense of normalcy in the war-torn country. The new season of the league started off with the national anthem and president Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to those present in the stadium.

The hosting of games will be in stark contrast to that of the past. With heightened security in place and an empty stadium, the games will have a massively different feel to them.

“We have rules in case of an alarm and we should go to be underground,” Shakhtar captain Taras Stepanenko said Monday in a telephone interview with AP. “But I think the teams, the players will be proud of this event.”

‘We are ready, we are strong and I think we will show to all the world Ukrainian life and will to win,” the national hero said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian FA president Andriy Pavelko said “When our national team played against Scotland in June I cried as soon as the anthem started playing, I just couldn’t believe it. And it’s going to be the same this time. Football will be a breath of fresh air that reminds people what we are fighting and dying for.”

The first match of the Ukraine Premier League took place between Shaktar Donetsk and Metalist 1925. The game ended as a 0-0 draw.

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