Trophies Waiting for the Winners
The winning team from each group gets a fine trophy as proof of their good results. The trophies are different depending on whether it is a girls or boys team that wins.
'Actually, many teams would like to give each player a trophy. We can easily help them – for a fee,' smiles the head of Information at Dana Cup Lizzy Kærholm, who encourages teams to come to Information to collect their trophies.
South Korean Team without South Koreans
Opponents and spectators could not find a single South Korean player on the team as Rising Star from South Korea prepared for the first match at this year's Dana Cup. Rising Star is in fact an academy team comprised entirely of girls from the Western Hemisphere, daughters of specialists who are stationed in South Korea for a shorter or longer time.
'Rising Star Academy was established in 2008 and brings girls from the entire world together to practice soccer. Rising Star is a very spacious academy where girls are equally welcomed regardless of their footballing level. Some of the girls have not even played football before starting at the academy,' explains Susanne Galsøe, who has lived in Busan for a year together with her husband and three children. The family is actually from Højene in Hjørring, and when the two high school teachers felt like trying something new they headed east. Here Susanne Galsøe and her husband teach at the International School BIFS in Busan, where students are typically children of specialists in the oil industry and shipbuilding, the military or education.
'Our children went to school at BIFS and practice football a couple of times a week at Rising Star Football Academy. The children are very dedicated. They go to school till 4 PM after which they practice football and take the bus home – for some of them the bus ride is 1,5 hours, so they have to be really serious about their football and we can also see that they have indeed improved even though the opponents at Dana Cup have been very good,' smiles Susanne Galsøe and Christina Seidenfaden – the latter is a trained surgical nurse, but she is a full-time housewife in South Korea.
In order to get a South Korean nurse authorization she has to be able to speak Korean fluently. And after just one year in South Korea she is unable to do so.
'The girls at Rising Star Football Academy do not only come from Busan, but from all over South Korea and even girls whose parents have actually moved home to their respective countries have come to Dana Cup. Thus, one of the girls has flow alone all the way from Washington D.C. to Denmark in order to play on the team,' Susanne Galsøe and Christian Seidenfaden explain.
Boys of Sex Workers Win
Having won the first three matches (10-0) the players from Durbar Sports Academy in India have begun this year's Dana Cup in a very successful manner. On the road to the recognition, which they have fought for in years in their home country, the children of the sex workers have literally belonged to an anonymous group in society in which their only options were crime and life on the street.
But already in 1992 doctor S. Jana established a health program. The program originated in the dramatic spread of HIV among sex workers and street prostitutes in the metropolis Calcutta and the entire province of West Bengal. Since then the health situation has improved significantly and concurrently educational and cultural offers have been added.
'In 2011 we were able to open Dunbar Sports Academy, where we initially offered football training for the boys of sex workers. Besides the Sports Academy we also have a hostel where the boys live and a school in which they are taught lessons enabling the good students to get a university degree,' S. Jana explains.
'When I started my health program in 1992 only one of the children received an education. Today between 40 and 50 children get an education, so we have had a huge increase,' smiles S. Jana and adds that the children of sex workers belong to an anonymous group of people without the opportunity to get an education.
'The problem for the children was that previously the children had to document the father's last name in order to receive an education, but since their mothers were sex workers they typically did not know the name of the father. Now they just have to document the name of the mother.
Alongside improved health among these very vulnerable people, we have also set up a banking system. Previously, the banks would not acknowledge sex workers and that meant that the money they did earn could only be put in a jar or spent. They could not put the money in the bank. Now 20,000 sex workers have placed five million dollars in the bank, plus they can borrow money for a deposit,' says S. Jana adding that Durbar Sports Academy now has opened the doors for other stigmatized groups of minorities, including children of rickshaw drivers and people with similar jobs.
'We are here with a group of 21 children and grown-ups, and everybody has had a great experience. For the boys, it was the first time they were on an airplane, and the first time they experience contact with children and youth from other nations. It is fantastic and we are very grateful that we have been given this opportunity,' doctor Jana says.
With teams from 50 different nations, Dana Cup is the most international tournament worldwide. In particular the international aspect makes the tournament so interesting for players and managers since they get to play against teams that they would never have met under normal circumstances at home.
The Portuguese club União Desportiva de Leiria, which is at Dana Cup for the second time, really appreciate the international setting because they like not just the sporting challenges but also the cultural exchanges taking place during Dana Cup.
'For instance, we have two teams from Norway in our group and the best thing is to meet other cultures. We would also like to play against teams from Kenya, Brazil or Thailand; that's what we are looking for because we can't meet them in the national competition,' coach António Maia stresses and adds that it is very good for the group to be at a tournament like Dana Cup.
'It' my first year with these players, and some of them are new at the club. We are going to start the national competition in Portugal on August 14th. We have two weeks before the start of the competition. What I'm looking for most of all is to unite the players and when we reach autumn we're stronger as a team,' says António Maia while adding that they are here for the experience but, naturally, would like to go as far as possible.
'In the knockout stage it is different. You loose a game and it's over; we know that. However, I don't have one Ronaldo in my team, I have 23,' smiles coach António Maia hoping that they'll continue to have a great experience.
Dana Cup Offers Plenty of Opportunities
Up to fifty clubs in Hjørring Municipality feel like farmers and the area's tourist attractions and souvenir shops: much of the year's turnover must be earned in a short period. For the clubs concerned it is during Dana Cup.
'Well, Dana Cup gives us a huge financial base to run our club as we would like. We have some ambitions with our club and the money we earn during Dana Cup is very important,' the deputy chairman of Hirtshals Boldklub, Kenneth Vendelbo, emphasises.
'Hirtshals Boldklub and Dana Cup have worked together for many years and the club earn money in particular by accommodation between 600 and 700 people in Hirtshals school and about 500 in Horne-Asdal school. The "lodgers" are mostly Germans, Swedes and Norwegians; some have stayed there before but many are also new.
'Moreover, we also have stalls in Hirtshals stadium and on the fields at Nejst next to Hirtshals Hallen,' adds Kenneth Vendelbo, who says that during Dana Cup almost two hundred people volunteer.
'In the schools four people are on duty at a time around the clock. Typically, they stay for six hours and many of the volunteers keep coming back. Of course, this means that we use the same people every time but, on the other hand, they are all very experienced ensuring high quality,' Kenneth Vendelbo underlines.
However, the active members of Hirtshals Boldklub are not idle for the rest of the year. The club is also involved in Small Ships Race, Hirtshals Fish Festival and Music under the Stairs in order to provide the economic foundation that enables them to run a large and ambitious football club.
Still Part of the World
'Even though we live as an occupied people, it is important for us to show the world that the Palestinians are still a part of the world. That is partly the reason why we take part in Dana Cup,'
Farid Jaber explains.
He is part of Football Academy of Jerusalem that takes part in the tournament for the first time with a team in class B12. The Academy consists of 120 boys aged 5-13 and last year Jerusalem FC participated in the Gothia Cup in Sweden.
'There we heard about Dana Cup and this year the tournament in Hjørring has been very helpful finding accommodation and, thus, given us a unique opportunity to take part in the world's third largest football tournament for young players,' smiles Farid Jaber, who stresses that both players and managers have paid for everything themselves.
'We do not have any sponsors, who pay for us. The boys' parents all have simple jobs and have saved up and worked hard enabling the boys to have this experience,' says Farid Jaber, who works as a secretary at the Academy while handling a job at the community centre five kilometres outside Jerusalem city centre.
'We won our two matches yesterday and, naturally, we want to win as many matches as possible. However, our goal is to show the world to the boys and give them the opportunity to meet other children and youth from other countries, plus show the world that we as Palestinians are part of the world community and finally, of course, play football and get by as best we can,' Farid Jaber says.
The Spirit of Iceland
Since the good result of the Icelandic national team at the UEFA European Championship 2016 the spirit of Iceland has become recognized worldwide. One can find this fighting spirit among the players of the Icelandic G14-Team of Grótta FC from the capital Reykjavik. Yesterday, they drew 1-1 in their first match against Norwegian Skedsmo FK.
'It was a good game with high tempo,' a satisfied coach Bojana Besic said. However, both coaches Bojana Besic and Pétur Rögnvaldsson stressed that the Iceland players first have to get used to the warm weather in Denmark because it is cooler in Iceland.
'This year we are participating with two teams in G13 and G14', coach Bojana Besic explained. They have been to Dana Cup three times and, actually, before they came to Hjørring in 2014 for the first time, they asked around in Iceland about the tournament. Teams from Iceland typically go to Gothia Cup, Vildbjerg Cup or Dana Cup.
'When we started looking for a tournament we asked people, who have been here. People recommended the tournament and they said that the organisation was very good with the buses and the accommodation, and so we decided to take a chance. And when we came here in 2014 it was very great; the organisation and every thing,' added coach Bojana Besic, who really like this year's pitches.
Kitchen set a New Record
Dana Cup's kitchen set a new record at lunch on Tuesday. No less than 14,630 participants had lunch in 210 minutes. This corresponds to 71 meals per minute.
Lunch took place in Fiberhallen and Hallen Park Vendia, which were in use at the Dana Cup 2015 for the first time. And it turned out to work exceptionally well. Despite the large number of servings lunch ran smoothly.
The previous record from 2015 was 12,195 servings. However, with 1,153 teams, which are 64 teams or about 1200 participants more than last year, the old record was beaten at this year's Dana Cup.
Do not Compromise on Quality
Since 2011 the number of participants at Dana Cup has grown by 51 per cent. Even though, some years ago people said that the tournament could not get any bigger, every year one has been able to find additional football fields and accommodation for more and more participants.
'Personally, I believe that we can organise a Dana Cup with up to 1,200 teams, but for me it is not important that we grow each year. I find it more important that we continue to offer all players, managers and families the high quality that Dana Cup is known for and which ensures that clubs return year after year,' director of the Dana Cup, Jette Andersen, says.
'Dana Cup is a Hjørring event; the town of Hjørring and Hjørring municipality and we must never become so big that we cannot be in Hjørring municipality. One of our qualities is that we offer free transport, meals in modern facilities and a very well organized tournament where we try to accommodate the wishes of the clubs. These are qualities which mean that up to 75 per cent of our participating clubs keep returning and, therefore, we never compromise on quality,' stresses Jette Andersen, who does not hesitate to point to the employees as one of the event's strongest assets.
'We experience great support among the more than 1,000 volunteers who help out time and time again by working many hours during the tournament. It is partly our own players in Fortuna Hjørring and it is partly members of a number of different clubs that earn some money by using volunteers in this week. For many clubs it is actually a fair sum of money contributing to the running of the clubs.'
'However, I find it important that Dana Cup is not too big because the unity among the volunteers must continue to grow and be strengthened. Many of those who help are people we do not know. Many do not even have anything to do with football. They turn up because it has become a tradition and because it has become a lifestyle to help out during Dana Cup.
'And, naturally, it is also vital that we continue to have a close cooperation with Hjørring municipality. We experience a fantastic support from the entire organisation and not least from mayor Arne Boelt, who gladly helps out,' Jette Andersen underlines.
Provide Space for 826 Teams
Even though Bob Andersen has provided accommodation for 826 teams during this year's record-breaking Dana Cup, he seems neither stressed nor nervous.
'Accommodation is not a bottleneck in relation to the fact that Dana Cup can continue to grow and still offer high quality for both players and managers. This year we have taken Løkken school and the private school in Hundelev in use, plus this year we can again use Hjørring Private Realskole, which was under renovation last year.
'Hjørring municipality is very supportive, and we can't praise the cooperation enough. Many new opportunities arise and I'm confident that if we had been asked five years ago if we could provide accommodation for an additional 400 teams, most people would probably have said no.'
'But this year we have practically no teams in the high school due to renovation, so next year we will be able to accommodate 40 teams there. Moreover, Hjørring Private Realskole is renovating an older building right now, thus enabling us to place more teams there next year, so we should be able to keep up with demand,' smiles Bob Andersen, who also has a close cooperation with 15 hotels and hostels, plus he can offer accommodation at Dana Cup's own sports centre with more than 100 beds.
Just Keep Playing
When you are not playing on a football pitch, you have ample opportunity to continue playing – even virtually. In the Event Area you can find the big FIFA tent. In addition to the latest FIFA games on the big consoles, there are several other computers ready with Minecraft, League of Legends or Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
'However, guests are also welcome to check their mail or play another game,' explains Marco Lavgard, who has already had to provide more seating options for the many interested players, who clearly enjoy themselves.
The FIFA tent is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.