BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – Anderlecht defender Bogdan Mykhaylichenko is not thinking about stopping, despite the war in his home country. Football offers just that little bit of mental support, he says in an interview about the war. “In the beginning it was difficult, but it is thanks to football that I am recovering a bit.”
The war in Ukraine also directly affects some football players in the Jupiler Pro League. In addition to Edouard Sobol of Club Brugge and AA Gent striker Roman Bezus, there is also RSCA left-back Bogdan Mykhaylichenko. He has been wearing a purple and white shirt since the beginning of last season, but for a few weeks now his colours have been primarily blue-yellow. “If I am called up, I will be ready to fight for my country,” he said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.
His family currently resides in his hometown of Boryspil, near Kiev in the southeast of the capital. “I contact my friends every three hours to hear that everything is okay. My mother and my aunt could go to my girlfriend’s family, closer to the Polish border. If they get to Poland, I’ll pick them up immediately,” said the Ukrainian defender in the double interview with his supervisor and RSCA youth trainer Oleg Iachtchouk.
Bogdan’s brother and father must remain in place to fight if necessary, as do all Ukrainian men between the ages of eighteen and sixty. It is not yet clear whether Ukraine will also recall all men abroad. Two weeks ago, according to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, 66,000 men had already returned from abroad on their own to fight for their country.
“We don’t know at the moment how that will work with the calls for Ukrainians abroad,” says Lachtchouk, who also played football for Anderlecht for ten years.
In some European football leagues, including in Spain, some Ukrainian players have temporarily stopped playing football. “I don’t think I could have done it without playing football under these circumstances,” says Oleg Lachtchouk.
Mykhaylichenko: “In the beginning it was difficult, but it is thanks to football that I recovered a bit. The moments when I am on the field are the moments when I can forget about the misery a little bit.”