From Russia With Love

September 25, 2015 – In what it is hoped will be the first of many visits, NASSA welcomed the Dynamo Moscow basketball club to East London to take part in our annual Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) celebrations.

The Dynamo Under-15s side travelled to the UK with their coach and club officials to face their NASSA counterparts but also on a wider mission to exchange ideas on how basketball can be used to change lives.
The three-day visit also included a special breakfast event on the House of Commons terrace hosted by NASSA patron Rt Hon Stephen Timms, MP for Newham, who then acted as the guide for the Dynamo party on an hour-long tour of the Houses of Parliament.

NASSA Chief Executive Natasha Hart said: “It was an incredible honour to welcome Dynamo Moscow here to NASSA. They are a hugely respected sports club in Russia while we started as little more than a weekly get-together in the local park only 10 years ago.
“But what we have in common is a real desire to make the lives of local young people better through basketball.”

General Sergey Malenko, head of the Dynamo Moscow Basketball Club, echoed those sentiments when he insisted how valuable an experience the visit had been for every member of the Dynamo party.
He said: “We expected a lot from this special visit because we know the important role that NASSA plays here in the UK. They not only act as a sports charity and a sports project, they also play a prominent role as a social project which supports the lives of children who don’t always have the best possible conditions in which to grow up and don’t have the best possible chances in life, so they are supported by NASSA and its guardians.
“We were really interested in meeting them and making friends with them. Has NASSA lived up to those expectations? Absolutely.
“NASSA has a broader outlook on children than we do at Dynamo Moscow. We focus on those children whose parents have died while they were serving our country. So, for example, if people in the law enforcement services die, their widows and children are a target of the Dynamo group. We try to support them and secure a better future for these children. NASSA is a wide-ranging organisation which tries to help the children from different kinds of families – children from the street. It tries to keep them from the street.
“This is a very interesting partnership for us and we would like to take it forward.”

The friendly match, which offered up a contrast of styles was won by Dynamo 65-33. In spite of the language barrier, players from the two teams mixed freely afterwards, brought together by their love of basketball.
“It’s interesting to meet competitors from top clubs in other countries to compare our level with theirs,” said Alexander Gerasimov, coach of the Dynamo Moscow Under-15s side.
“And it’s more important to find something new, something interesting than the result of the game.
“In today’s game I saw something new that can be implemented in my team. For example, I was watching how motivated the NASSA team was to play and how calm they are when the result is close. They don’t panic, they still play with confidence.
“And after the game, the NASSA guys were very friendly. They enjoyed the game. That is not always what you see in Russia when they are often disappointed by the result. I was very pleased to see how people behave after the game here.
“It has been a great experience for our guys. For the majority of them it’s their first time visiting London and seeing a different culture. It’s a unique experience for them.”