A lot of companies today are following a good trend of promoting a healthy lifestyle. The management provides employees with favourable conditions for both work and leisure, involving them in various corporate sports competitions.
EkoNiva is one of those companies that pay specific attention to sports events, and the football team that has been representing EkoNiva at municipal, regional or even federal competitions for the past 12 years is a vivid testament to it.
Both the first and reserve squads are trained under the supervision of coach Vladimir Muravlev. The reserve squad consists of the company’s employees and young guys born 2003-2004 that have yet to ‘mature’ for further appearance in the first team, which includes EkoNiva’s best football players.
Sergey Kovalev, the team captain, has been playing for EkoNiva’s football club for over five years and, according to him, the core team have hardly changed over these years.
‘It is great that our team consists mostly of the company’s employees. There is a manager, an agronomist, a security guard and people of other positions among the players, but when on the pitch — we are all one team. Sometimes, it happens that a player quits for whatever reason — there is no avoiding that, then, to replace him, we move a prospective footballer from the reserve squad’, shares Sergey Kovalev.
In fact, any EkoNiva’s worker can join the team; enthusiasm is the only thing required. However, it is hard to break into the first team from the start. You have to deserve it by doing your best and showing excellent performance in the reserve team. After that, it is up to the supervisor whether the player can be promoted to the first squad.
‘If a player is skillful and technically gifted and has good understanding of the pitch, he will play in the first team. But even if he is not up to the level for the first team, he is sure to play in the reserve team anyways’, says Vladimir Muravlev, EkoNiva team’s head coach. ‘We go onto the pitch not for fun only, we achieve goals and objectives set before the start of each season and also enhance the company’s image, which, by the way, is great as it is.’
The ‘playing farmers’ started preparing for the coming season a few months ago. Their routine includes track and gym workouts aimed at boosting their performance. The players got down to their ball mastery workouts as soon as the snow had melted and Druzhba Stadium had become suitable for training.
‘We have three training sessions a week, which should ensure that we get into optimal shape by the start of the season’, declares Vladimir Muravlev. ‘The year is going to be challenging, as we are going to participate in several competitions: Liski District Championship, Voronezh Oblast Football Competition Dedicated to the Memory of the Soviet Union Hero I. Prosyanoy and several corporate tournaments.’
Looking back at the previous season, we can assert that it was successful for the team. Our footballers took the third place in Liski District Championship, the reserve team won the District Championship in the second team group. Our team also won the AgriCup in Moscow. Vladimir Muravlev’s team takes part in the tournament every year and has never come back without a medal.
‘We do not have any issues at the moment, the team discipline is good, the guys are like family’, continues Vladimir Muravlev. ‘I would like to thank EkoNiva’s management specifically; it finances the team, incentivises for good performance, funds acquisition of equipment, uniform and participation in competitions. I wish other amateur teams had such managers, then, I am positive, the football level would rise considerably in the region. To express our gratitude, we, in our turn, always carry EkoNiva banner proudly, heading for victory and overcoming any obstacles in our way.’
By Viktor BARGOTIN