"Heart stops": a famous futsal player who fought in a legendary brigade died on the front line

Elena PavlovaSport
Andriy Petrenko fought in the hottest spots

Defending Ukraine from the Russian invaders, a well-known Ukrainian futsal player, former defender of the Titan-Zorya club from Pokrovske, Andriy Petrenko, was heroically killed on the frontline. The tragedy became known on April 25.

"Heart stops, brain stops perceiving reality, legs are full of lead and refuse to move! God, how could this happen, why didn't you save a son for his parents, a loving father for his family, a wonderful man, a true patriot of our Ukraine? Andriy, you will always remain in our hearts, your memory will never fade, your sons Mykyta and Makar will continue your futsal relay!" Ukrainian coach Oleksandr Yuzyk, who coached Petrenko at Budivel and Titan Zorya, reacted to the death of his friend.


Andriy Petrenko, 41, was a candidate for master of sports in futsal. He is known for his performances for such professional clubs as Titan-Zorya from Pokrovske, Budivel from Dnipro and FINEK (Dnipro State Financial Academy).


Petrenko was the champion of the World University Futsal Games held in Tartu, Estonia, won the Ukrainian Futsal Championship among universities and was the winner of the All-Ukrainian Futsal Universiade as a member of the Finec team.

Petrenko became a champion of Ukraine in futsal among the teams of the I League with Titan-Zorya and won gold in the national championship among the teams of Ukraine with the team from Pokrovske. He also reached the Final Four of the Ukrainian Cup.


In 2015, the defender retired from professional football, but he did not give up playing at the amateur level and helped his sons Mykyta and Makar take their first steps. Before the full-scale war with Russia, 13-year-old Mykyta successfully played in the Ukrainian championship of his age for Dnipro's Olimpiya.

Friends and colleagues at Titan called Petrenko the soul of the team. He was a warrior both on the field and in life, so he could not stand aside when Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.


He fought as a member of the legendary 81st separate airmobile brigade, which is part of the Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At one time, the paratroopers of the 81st held the defence of the Donetsk airport, and after the full-scale invasion, they destroyed the enemy in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in particular in the area of Siversk and Bilohorivka, and liberated the Lyman.


However, on April 25, it became known that the athlete was killed in the battles with the occupiers in Donbas.

"I don't remember talking to Andriy in person very often, but we were in touch on Facebook a lot. He told me about his time playing for Budivel and Titan-Zorya. I should say that at Budivel he managed to play with the current head coach of Lviv's Energia and assistant head coach of the Ukrainian national team, Valerii Legchanov. Andriy also met Oleksandr Kosenko, the current coach of the national team, on the futsal floor," recalled Artem Terentyev, editor-in-chief of the 5х5 futsal portal.

"In addition, at the student level, Andriy played alongside several well-known players in the Dnipro futsal community. And when we were talking about Titan-Zarya when it was still playing in the First League, I found myself thinking that I could see Andriy play when the team from Pokrovske came to Donetsk for a match. I was already in my fourth or fifth year at the institute and I attended futsal games in Donetsk almost regularly," Artem added.

But most often Terentyev and Petrenko talked about the futsal player's son, Mykyta.


"I saw Petrenko Jr. play, commentated on Olympia+ matches with Mykyta and sometimes focused on his futsal genes. And then Andrii and I could discuss the game in the evening, and he was always interested in my opinion about Mykyta. It's a pity that we won't have the opportunity to talk about futsal anymore... I really want the sports complex in Pokrovske, where Titan played, to be named after Andrii after the war. I think it would be fair," Terentyev concluded.


Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that the father of a Zorya footballer died as a hero in the battles with the Russian occupiers.

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