Victor Yushchenko has wished the Shakhtar soccer club, as well as its fans, players, coaches and presidents, a happy birthday, according to the President’s press-office.

      “The phenomenon of Shakhtar lies in the team’s sacrificial commitment to the game, the talent to train young gifted players, and the use of new athletic achievements,” he said.

      Mr. Yushchenko added this year’s world cup championship in Germany had demonstrated that potential abilities of Ukrainian footballers were not fully discovered.

      “This game should become an efficient means to unite people, strengthen the national spirit and promote patriotism,” he said. “...I believe the club will be among Europe’s leading teams and reach the highest football pinnacles.”

      The club was celebrating its seventieth anniversary on August 12.