Source : Ice Hockey Federation of Russia
The Russia-Africa summit took place in St. Petersburg. Vice-President of the RHF, head coach of SKA and the Russia U25 team became one of the speakers at the strategic session “Sport: a bridge of friendship between Russia and Africa.” Roman Rotenberg spoke about the prospects for cooperation with African countries in ice hockey and outlined the main aspects and areas of cooperation, and also spoke about how hockey rapprochement will contribute to the implementation of the most important state task – the development of international cooperation with the countries of the Black Continent.
Roman Rotenberg, FHR First Vice President:
The President of our country, Vladimir Putin, emphasizes that now is the time of opportunity. New opportunities are opening up in the world of ice hockey. Our sport has a historic chance to become the number one sport on the planet. In order to create the prerequisites for such progress, it is necessary to involve new continents in ice hockey. Now we are deepening our cooperation with different countries and we see that both in India and in South Africa and other African states, the desire to develop the game of ice hockey is becoming stronger. There are great traditions of team sports: cricket, football, and field hockey. This means that there are all opportunities for the successful popularization of the “puck”. The sooner we start, the sooner we will see results.
The development of international cooperation is the most important state task. Sports diplomacy will also help to fulfill it. Sport is multifaceted, it is part of the culture and helps to promote it. Emotional bonds are created: when we compete, we become friends. Sports cooperation is not limited to tournaments – it includes science, business, creation of new jobs and contribution to improving the health of the population.
By cooperating in ice hockey, we can create new bridges of friendship between Russia and African countries. The first factor of rapprochement will be the exchange of experience. Now interest in our sport is growing in South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia. We invite these and all other African states to develop the game. Russia is ready to provide methodological and organizational support to meet the requirements of the International Ice Hockey Federation. Our country is one of the strongest hockey powers, the experience we have accumulated will certainly be useful for Africa. And to popularize hockey, we can organize exhibition matches, team gatherings and conduct educational events.
The second factor of rapprochement is the development and improvement of the system of children’s sports. Our developments and innovations have been successfully implemented at the SKA Academy, which unites 13 schools with more than 3,000 pupils. They are trained under the Red Machine National Hockey Player Training Program, created with the support of the Ministry of Sports. Our teams take leading places in all-Russian tournaments. Established on the basis of the experience of SKA in Moscow 5 years ago, the Red Machine Junior school quickly became one of the leading schools in Moscow. Our philosophy is the development of a harmonious personality, the right combination of sports and children’s education. All this is an excellent basis for the creation of similar schools in African countries.
The third factor is technology and infrastructure. Our country has qualified coaches, modern sports arenas and equipment. Our human and intellectual potential is open to Africa. We have the strongest expertise in the construction of efficient high-tech facilities and are ready to help in this area.
The fourth factor is business development. We have an understanding of the market and technology, African countries have great production potential. We can create joint production of a wide variety of sports products. Joint investment in these areas, the creation of new production chains is the key to the effective progressive development of our countries. And today we can implement all these projects directly. At the same time, we look at development in a complex way. Sport is a powerful connecting element. The effective development of the economies of partner countries based on sports links is a realistic achievable goal. We already have good examples of cooperation with China and Uzbekistan in our work. We know in practice how sport helps to develop business relations. And today, economic ties with these countries are among the strongest.
Finally, in the 21st century, the potential for technological and educational projects is enormous. The most important task is the joint development of the creative industry, digital, games of the future, which involve more and more with people around the world.
Our countries are moving towards each other, and by joint efforts we can achieve great success and victories, including in the game of ice hockey.