DUSHANBE -- The Russian mobile phone company Megaphon announced it will finance a trip to London for a soccer team of Tajik orphans who will train with the world-famous club Arsenal, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The team, from an orphanage in the city of Khujand, won the top championship at an international tournament in the Russian city of Sochi last month to secure the trip to London.
The tournament was contested entirely by orphans who came from Russia, Tajikistan, and the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Megaphon's Dushanbe office also invited prominent Russian football players Dmitry Ananko and Vladimir Beschastnykh to coach the young Tajik players during the tournament.
Malikshoh Nematov, chairman of the Tajik State Committee for Sport and Youth Affairs, said it is good that Megaphon supports young Tajik soccer players. He appealed to both local and foreign companies in Tajikistan to devote at least 1 percent of their profits to such charitable activities as supporting orphans.
But Beschastnykh, who was present at the Megaphon announcement in Dushanbe on July 18, said governments should not wait for private support but implement their own programs for developing youth sports.
During the training trip to London this fall, Russian soccer star Andrei Arshavin will also conduct a master class for the young Tajik players.