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Rugby: The Gaztedi family grows: eight federated teams and ambition to be “in the promotion phase”

Gaztedi faces a new season with many changes but the same philosophy. “Our spirit is to be a youth team,” says Roberto Corres, president of the club since mid-August, in the presentation of the new course. Moisés San Mateos decided to leave office after nine years at the helm, although he will continue to be an “active part” as a delegate. “If we are where we are, a lot depends on him,” acknowledges the incoming leader, who was already part of the members that formed the entity in 1977.

The Vitorian rugby team faces a major restructuring. It will create different departments, financial, sports, merchandising, events and communication, and will expand the number of people in charge. Everything seems to indicate that it is moving towards a certain professionalization that the entity still considers utopian. «It would be ideal, but it is impossible. It’s all volunteering. We already see what we can do and we hope to balance the expenses,” warns Corres.

At Gaztedi, only players who come from outside receive a salary. “And much less than those of Baskonia, Alavés or Araski,” they say sharply. “They are better and they teach us all to compete better,” say both the managers and the coach. The South Africans Lohan Potgieter and Winrey Stoffels, big and hypermuscled, are two of them. Both face their fifth season in Vitoria and explain why they do not look for another, more lucrative destination. «They treat us like people and not players. And the good thing is that we see growth of the club. “Both the club and we have a good future,” says the former, who acts as a spokesperson for the latter’s difficulties with Spanish. “Thank goodness he plays better than he talks,” they say.

Potgieter arrived from Aparejadores de Burgos, which in 2019 played in División de Honor B, as Gaztedi’s first team, and last weekend was proclaimed champion of the Spanish Super Cup. The third line sees similarities between both clubs. «Even we are better off now than they were back then. We are improving much faster and there is a lot of potential. In four years I think we can be in the Honor Division if that is what the club wants,” he aspires.

The first team coach continues to be Miguel Beltrán from Otálora. The coach, who will also be the sports manager of the subsidiary, also glimpses the evolution of his squad. «This year we have twelve under-18 kids. Other years we used to have a sieve there, they didn’t take the step, but now someone who left us has even returned,” celebrates the Vitorian. “We almost dared to take out a sub-23,” he reveals. Although they finally chose to grow gradually.

Beltrán de Otalara sets two clear objectives for the women’s teams. “The subsidiary, which competes in the second Basque league, the objective is to go up to First Division, and the División de Honor B, we intend to maintain the category and be in the promotion phase.” “Let’s test ourselves,” she adds, aware that she still has pieces to fit together. “We are waiting for some more reinforcements these weeks, but with 61 players, we are armed enough to meet our objectives.”

Last weekend the first team should have debuted but they chose to postpone the match due to “a delay in the processing of licenses.” Its debut will be this weekend in Gamarra against Oviedo. It is part of Group A with a total of eleven participants who will compete in a single round. At the end of the first eleven days, the top three teams will play in a promotion phase against the best from the other two groups. The rest will be measured in a second phase with the aim of avoiding last place, which entails relegation. Zarautz, Gernika and Getxo appear to be the main rivals to beat.

The women’s team also starts this weekend with renewed enthusiasm. This season they will have two federated teams, a milestone at the Euskadi level. “No club in Álava or the Basque Country had created two teams within the same structure without having merged with anyone,” says the new president Corres.

The players Ostebi Acebo and Alazne Usaola appreciate the effort. “Being able to say girls, no one is going to be left without playing, is very good,” celebrate the visible heads of the project, who hope to serve as an example to young girls as Aitziber Porras and Nerea Otxoa from Aspuru, European champions, were for them. . »When we play away, they always recognize us for it. So we want to try to achieve that transcendence again.”

In total, Gaztedi boasts eight federated teams, a school for children up to 14 years of age and the under-16 and under-18 academy, with two mixed teams made up entirely of men and women from Alava. In total, 150 teenagers, who join the veteran team and the inclusive team, with people with disabilities, that competes in the Basque League. For this reason and for the social inclusion work that the entity carries out in the Zaballa penitentiary center, the club will receive the Cisne Award next Friday, October 6, awarded by the Rugby Cisneros Foundation, at the Costume Museum in Madrid.

2023-09-26 11:55:40
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