The Palestinian Al Helal, invited by the Donosti Cup Foundation, has been taking advantage of every moment of their experience in the territory since Friday
The Donosti Cup is already here. The ball will start rolling first thing tomorrow morning in most of the sixty fields that will host the matches of this thirtieth edition, but, although the tournament will not officially start until the first whistle of the referees arrives, it will He has done it unofficially. Mayor Eneko Goia usually says that summer in Donostia does not start until the Donosti Cup arrives and, if he walked through the capital of Gipuzkoa yesterday, surely he knew that it is already summer: there are many foreign teams that are already in San Sebastian.
One of the groups that was most eagerly awaited in Donostia was Al Helal and they were among the first to arrive. Invited by the Donosti Cup Foundation, they arrived in Gipuzkoa on Friday morning. They left Gaza to travel to Egypt, catch a plane from there to Istanbul and, from there, fly to Bilbao. They are staying at the Salesianos de Urnieta school and these first few days they have had lunch and dinner in the UPV Lecture Hall, in El Antiguo.
Five Palestinian teams have already competed in this tournament before, so many of these players had already heard great things about San Sebastian. They will move around Gipuzkoa these days accompanied by their guide, Félix Lobo, and by a Palestinian friend of many of the members of the group who arrived in Spain in 2014 and who speaks perfectly in both Arabic and Spanish.
And they have set out to make the most of this experience. Thus, although on Friday they arrived really tired, they gathered strength to walk through the Wind Comb and enjoy the spectacle of the waves, as well as the views from Miramar. They are used to a much calmer sea and were surprised by the strength of our waters. Yesterday they walked through the Center of Donostia in the morning and enjoyed the Port and La Concha.
Although the first objective of this trip to Donostia is for its members to be able to disconnect from the tension that they experience every day in Gaza, where they suffer a really complicated reality, both the fifteen players who have come and the coaches themselves want to do a good job. For this reason, one of his first steps when he arrived in Donostia was to obtain a field in which to train. Atletic Lleida in Elgoibar, Guadalajara in Idiazabal and Kostkas in Trintxerpe are the rivals and the venues, in this order, that the draw has brought them.
La Concha and Igeldo
Another of the earliest clubs has been the American ISL Team. The bulk of the expedition, with some 65 players and 15 companions, arrived on Friday, although the furthest behind did so yesterday. Staying at the Amara Berri Morlans school, “we are delighted,” acknowledged Nora Álvarez, one of the coaches. Its players and players come from different parts of the United States and here they will meet other boys and girls from Spain with whom they will share costumes.
His schedule before the game started was extremely tight. In addition to meetings and training, on Friday afternoon they visited La Concha beach and climbed Mount Igeldo. The coaches are clear that, when the competition schedule allows it, they want to take the opportunity so that their players can enjoy Donostia and its surroundings.
First contact with the fields of Gipuzkoa
The Donosti Cup is a grassroots football tournament in which each year more teams come with the intention of, if they can’t win, at least do their best. And, in this sense, from the organization they see how edition after edition there are more and more teams that, even before arriving in our territory, ask that one of those fields be reserved for them in which the tournament will be played in order to have a first contact with football once they arrived in Gipuzkoa.
In Zubieta, for example, American teams have been training since Friday afternoon. They go one step further and not only rehearse in first-class facilities such as those of Real Sociedad, but they also know the methodology that the club has implemented, since it is the technicians of the realistic academy who direct these sessions.
In the case of the ISL Team, with three boys’ teams and one girls’ team in which the American players are complemented by other Spaniards, these training sessions are a perfect formula for the members of the teams to get to know each other and understand each other. For this reason, they have added a game to the training sessions. The Donosti Cup is here and we have to be ready.