Football at the Russia–Africa Forum: Sychev’s Winning Goal and Five Countries at the Student Festival

The Russian national team defeated the African team (4:3) in a gala football match during the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum. Forum participants and football stars played the match at Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg.

The Russian team was bolstered by UEFA Cup winners Roman Shirokov and Yevgeny Aldonin, Euro 2008 bronze medallists Dmitry Sychev and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, as well as two-time Russian champion Ruslan Pimenov. The Russian football players were coached by Alexander Mostovoy, a legend of Spartak and Spain’s Celta.

The African national team included players known for their performances with Russian clubs: Senegal’s Dame N’Doye, South Africa’s MacBeth Sibaya, Liberia’s Sekou Oliseh, and Nigeria’s Obafemi Martins. The African team was coached by Valery Nepomnyashchy, who led the Cameroon national team to the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup.

Sychev scored the decisive goal against the African team. The Russian team also got solid performances from Deputy Head of the Russian President’s Office for Work with Citizens and Organizations Alexey Mikheyev, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Alexander Belsky, and former Zenit forward and blogger Alexey Gasilin.

The match was organized by the Russian Football Union and RC Sport, the sports platform of the Roscongress Foundation.

Football stars also took part in the panel session ‘Prospects for International Football Cooperation between Africa and Russia’. The discussion topics included cooperation on ways to develop youth football, train coaches, organize major international tournaments, and develop football infrastructure.

“Lots of African legionnaires have been imbued with love for our country. They have been very warmly received at all Russian clubs. This is precisely our message: to exchange experience and make visits. The young men who played in Russia should become stewards who can bring together football officials in our country and in African countries,” Sychev said.

Another football-related event held at the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum was the international student festival. A major tournament brought together eight teams from Russia, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Mali and served as a symbol of friendship between the peoples of Russia and Africa.

The final of the tournament featured two three-time champions of the National Student Football League (NSFL) – Kuban State University and Crimean Federal University. Isakh Bukhari, a student at Kuban State University, scored the decisive goal in the match. Students from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University defeated Methodist University of Ghana and won bronze at the tournament.

The awards ceremony was attended by Russian Deputy Minister of Justice Alu Alkhanov and NSFL President Andrey Stukalov.

Other football matches were also held during the festival. Students from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University won the 5 × 5 and 1 × 1 football tournaments, while the team from St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design won the 3 × 3 tournament.


“We highly value the results of our joint work at the summit. I am sure the achieved results are creating a good foundation for further deepening the Russia-Africa partnership in the interests of our nations’ prosperity and wellbeing.”

President of the Russian Federation
Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI