The button that activates dreams

The Donosti Cup Foundation has been helping teams from highly vulnerable regions come to the tournament for over 25 years

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They say the idea arose in 1994, when, two days before the start of that edition of the Donosti Cup, a rather desperate call was received in the tournament offices from a Peruvian team who, as soon as they arrived in Barcelona, ​​met that the tournament they were going to participate in had been completed. her comment. What would these coaches and players do without being able to play those matches in which they crossed half the world? In the Donosti Cup offices, they answered this call and offered him a solution: they found a place to stay in Donostia, opened the doors to the dining rooms and the team was able to participate in the third edition of the tournament.

That was the gist of an essential part of the Donosti Cup years later: its founding. UNICEF National Award In 2008, the Donosti Cup Foundation receives every year numerous applications from clubs from disadvantaged regions or made up of people at risk of being excluded due to various circumstances and who wish to participate in the tournament. The enterprise chooses those projects that, in its opinion, provide the greatest social value in the environment in which they are developed and in society in general.

In short, the Donosti Cup Foundation is the lever that energizes a process by which the dreams of many boys and girls are realized. Thanks to this initiative, more than 50 teams from poor or very vulnerable regions, conflict areas, countries deprived of freedom or cities shaken by natural disasters have already been able to participate in the tournament. During these years, and just to mention some of these countries, we can highlight Sierra Leone, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Nepal, Palestine, Iraq, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, El Salvador, Peru, Honduras, Colombia or Bolivia.

This year, girls from Bolivia MOMIM and boys of the Palestinian Crescent will participate in the 30th edition of the Donosti Cup along with their foundation.

Some well-known guarani in Donostia

The Donosti Cup Foundation won the Iberdrola SuperA Award in the Social category in December of last year, and thanks to this award, the dream of a women’s team, MOMIM, made up of Guaraní players from the Bolivian jungle. Some of these girls are the daughters of this team of Bolivian mothers who participated in the Donosti Cup 2016 and were trained by Xaber Azcargorta. That experience left an indelible mark on the tournament.

This year the girls from Bolivia will come MOMIM and the boys of the Palestinian Crescent

On this occasion, the team will consist of younger girls, between the ages of 15 and 17, although many of them are also mothers. Karen Jamal, the group’s coordinator, explained that they are “training as hard as they can”. The girls train in their villages and once a week, if the rains permit, they all try to train together in Camiri.

The journey from Bolivia has its complications, as the route map began with a bus trip from Camiri to Santa Cruz, where a plane was waiting for them to fly to Madrid. In the capital, they spent two days visiting the city before traveling by train to San Sebastian.

Gaza Cup Winners

The other team invited to this edition of the Donosti Cup will be Al Hilal Football Academy, the current champion of the Gaza Cup, the tournament that was held last September and was attended by 30 teams from the entire region. This competition, organized by the Palestinian Football Association, began its journey before the pandemic when several teams from Gaza that were on their way to participate in the Donosti Cup were unable to do so.

Upon learning of the existence of this tournament, the director of the Donosti Cup Foundation, Inigo Olizola, contacted the Palestinian Football Association and they agreed that the prize for the winning team of the Gaza Cup would be participation in the Donosti Cup 2022.

Al Hilal Academy is the first academy to be recognized by the Palestinian Football Association in the Gaza Strip, and it was also honored by the Palestinian Football Association as the best academy for 2019 at the technical and sports level. He will be competing in the fields of Gibuzcoa with his B19 team.

The fact is that the tournament and its founding have always shown a special sensitivity towards Palestine, and the proof of this is that in 2019, four guest clubs came to Donostia. One was made up of girls from Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, who had previously participated in the Donosti Cup in 2012. This experience served these girls to enjoy the journey, meet teams from all over the world, demonstrate their refugee status and change mindsets at home. Another Palestinian team invited in 2019 is Al-Bustan, which also repeated in the tournament. The footballers were from the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, a predominantly Palestinian area gradually occupied by Israeli settlements. In a very tense environment, the club is trying to give young people the opportunity to enjoy sports. The third Palestinian club in that edition was the Rawahel Charitable Society, which reached Donostia with three teams, and the fourth was the Champions Club from the Gaza Strip.

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