Football players must definitely believe in their cherished dreams
14th Danone Nations Cup ends with Grodno victory
By Yury Chernyakevich
The Danone Nations Cup is the world’s largest football competition for 10-12 year olds, with this year’s finals held in London, at Wembley Stadium, in September. The Republican qualifying round of the Cup was held in Belarus recently, gathering junior squads from across the nation. Youth teams from all over the country played for their chance to reach the final stage.
The Danone Corporation organised the event in Belarus, alongside the Football Federation. In fact, our youngsters only began participating two years ago, when the legendary Santiago Bernabйu Madrid Stadium hosted the final matches. The Belarusian team, Zvezda, came 19th overall, above 22 other teams. In the 2012 finals, held in Warsaw, the team then finished 28th.
This year, Belarus will be represented by a team from Grodno’s high school #37. Their skills and determination led them to early victory, gaining nine points across three rounds of the group stage of the competition, giving them unconditional entry to the semi-finals, where they tied with a Soligorsk squad. They scored the winning goal from the penalty area, sending them into the finals of the national championship, meeting a team from Ivanovo, in the Brest Region.
A tense game followed, with few mistakes and great concentration for such young players. However, the final whistle saw the Grodno team win 3:0! Their delight was clear while their opponents could not hide their tears. All the teams received gifts from the sponsors of the tournament, and a photo shoot with famous Belarusian striker Alexander Hleb, who gave autographs tirelessly throughout the day.
Hleb likes to encourage youngsters into the sport, saying, “The main thing is to believe in yourself. Believe in your dream and make every effort to make it reality. The Danone Nations Cup gives you the opportunity to learn about team spirit at a young age.”