Two-Day-Journey to Dana Cup
48 hours with bus and ferry. The boys and girls from Finnish KIPS, 150 km north of the Polar Circle, have been on a long journey before arriving at their first Dana Cup in Hjørring. And, so far, they have had no regrets.
'We haven't been here for so long, but it seems as if Dana Cup is a great tournament,' stresses the president of the club, Veli-Matti Hettula, who has brought along 46 children and grown-ups.
Previously, KIPS have participated in a football tournament in Northern Sweden but, last year, the club decided to move to the next level as the president of the club puts it.
'As soon as we decided to participate in Dana Cup, we began to create the economical foundation. Everybody has work hard cleaning, for instance, and other kinds of jobs in order to earn money. Moreover, sponsorships have also helped us raise the funds,' continues Veli-Matti Hettula, who was rather surprised by the spectacular opening on Monday evening.
'As a matter of fact it looked like the Olympic games. It is absolutely amassing how the entire town supports Dana Cup. We have met many locals, who have been very kind to us. We would love to return to Dana Cup, but getting the funding is hard work, so perhaps we'll not be able to come every year,' says the president of the club, who liked the fact that his G14 team got to meet the mayor of Hjørring.
Theatre Group came along with Football Players
Among the 46 Finns from Arctic KIPS is a small theatre group that is part of the club. Naturally, the theatre group shall not play any matches.
'However, the theatre group wanted to experience the event together with the football players and, perhaps, they manage to get in contact with another theatre group, maybe a Danish one,' says the president of the club, Veli-Matti Hettula, who would love to help interested people connect with the Finnish theatre group.
Parents from the Entire World
Dana Cup is increasingly turning into a real family event. Many parents travel with their children to Dana Cup. And so, the parents of the boys from One World Football Academy's B14 team have come along. The only difference is that they come from the entire world.
'One World Football Academy is a very international academy having children from Accra's international circle. We receive huge support from the parents. Presently, many of them are on holiday, but they come from the entire world to support us here at Dana Cup,' coach George Abogbampo explains.
Referee for the First Time at Dana Cup
Even if 32-year-old Snezhana Ilievska from Macedonia has refereed football for 12 years, she was anxious to referee her first match at Dana Cup on Tuesday in Højene. Snezhana Ilievska is one of many female referees in Macedonia.
'I have refereed for more than 10 years and I would love to get a FIFA licence, but I think it is difficult,' smiles Snezhana Ilievska, who actually holds a physical education within sport. But since it is difficult to get a job within this line of work, she has had to work in a factory. However, she is currently studying physiotherapy.
'I have a friend, who has refereed at several international tournaments. Subsequently, I found Dana Cup on the Internet and signed up,' explains Snezhana Ilievska, who arrived in Hjørring late Monday evening – just a few hours before her first match.
12 Nations on the Same Team
Even though One World Football Academy comes from Ghana's capital Accra, one should not expect to see a team of typical African players. On the contrary, almost. The team in B14 have players from no less than 12 nations and, as a matter of fact, only a few local Ghanaians players have come along.
'One World Football Academy is a new academy, where we gather children from 5 or 6 of the local schools. We typically practice Saturday and Sunday and, so far, we only have this team. However, the academy has only existed for 8 months,' one of the team's two coaches, George Abogbampo, explains.
As a consequence, One World Football Academy participates in Dana Cup for the first time.
'Nonetheless, Dana Cup is a great tournament to take part in. For several of the boys it is also the first time, they leave Ghana, so our goal is, first and foremost, to learn, grow and improve. We do not think that we can win the entire tournament and, thus, we did loose our first match 2-0 even though we had most ball possession,' George Abogbampo says.
Dana Cup App
The participants at this year's Dana Cup will have noticed that one cannot get one's hands on the traditional Dana Cup Info-book, since it has been replaced by a Dana Cup App, which one can download for free via App Store or Google play. In the Dana Cup App you will find contact information, news, playing fields, school locations, tournament schedule and much more.
It is Dana Cup's marketing manager Alison Forman, who has helped develop the App.
'In modern times everybody is using a smart phone or IPads. Consequently, we offer free Wi-Fi in the entire Center Area and in all the schools. We just thought that it would be easier than carrying a book, which one tends to forget or throw away. That was the idea behind the App,' Alison Forman says.
'It is my impression that the App has been well received. Already before the start of the tournament we received a lot of positive feedback and, so far, people have said that it is simple and contains all necessary information, which one needs; thus, it has been very positive,' Alison Forman underlines.
Coach André Stephen (in a grey T-shirt) with players and coaches.
WiFi at Dana Cup
Free WiFi at Dana Cup is no news, but also this year Dana Cup focuses even more on the new media with the Dana Cup App and online tournament schedule in order to give the participants a direct service and information.
'It is great because we are always online when we get to the area with WiFi. It is nice,' B12 coach André Stephen from Windisch in Switzerland says.
Moreover, the club pointed out that the old book did not have the same kind of appeal as the Dana Cup App. In addition, André stressed that the team has made an internal agreement concerning the use of the Internet enabling the players to enjoy the tournament and make new friends.
'Consequently, we have a clear agreement. The coaches hand out the cell phones; then they may play, call or send text messages. But, usually, we keep the phones. However, the players are given some time to use the phones, but not always,' coach André Stephen tells about their simple and uncomplicated solution to the use of the Internet.
The Flame is lit
One of the firm traditions at Dana Cup is the lightning of the town flame in the centre of town at the City Stage by two chosen teams.
First the teams drive in Krumme's train from Springvandspladsen to the City Stage, then mayor Arne Boelt and the representatives of the two teams, plus Krumme lit the flame symbolising the start of this year's Dana Cup.
Jury on Charm Offensive
One of the complaints, which the members of Dana Cup's jury often receive, is about teams, who have apparently used illegal players – typically players who are older than allowed in the class in question. Therefore, jury member Finn Larsen has been on a charm offensive to several schools and sleeping places in order to outline the rules concerning the use of players during Dana Cup.
'It was a very good trip, where I had a great dialogue with coaches and managers about when a player is allowed to play and when not. Moreover, we talked about the fact that it is not allowed to use the same player on two teams in the same class. However, it is allowed to use a B13 player in a B15 game,' explains Finn Larsen, who pointed out the desirable in following the rules. Accordingly, one can focus on the games themselves.
'Dana Cup's rule book states that all clubs must bring along picture identification for all the players, plus lists encompassing dates of birth. Referees and jury have a right to take a spot test ahead of the games to make sure that the rules are observed but, naturally, we do not turn up to all the games and, consequently, a tournament like Dana Cup is built on trust between the management of the tournament and the individual clubs,' Finn Larsen emphasises.
Washing Machines Are Already in Use
Perspiration stands out on a player's forehead when playing football in 25 degrees and, as a consequence, one has to wash playing clothes quite often.
Therefore, a growing number of teams have already showed an interest in having their playing clothes washed.
Dana Cup's laundry is situated in Dana Cup Town, where the washing machines work 24/7. Many of the teams, who come to Dana Cup from Gothia Cup, for instance, have a lot of dirty clothes; quite often the teams plan on using the clothes on Tuesday when the first matches begin.
It costs 125 kr. to have one's playing clothes washed and the teams can count on the fact that they typically have to wait three hours before they have their clean clothes returned. During the night the guards at Dana Cup Town work the washing machines and driers.
Two Teams specially Chosen
Dana Cup's management had specially chosen the two teams, who earlier on Monday were welcomed at the town hall by the mayor of Hjørring Arne Boelt.
'The girls from KIPS in Finland have been chosen to represent all the girls participating in Dana Cup 2014. Almost 40 per cent of the players are girls this year,' said Dana Cup CEO, Jette Andersen in the new town council hall in which the traditional welcome took place.
'The boys from One World Football Academy in Ghana have been chosen to represent all the boys and we hope that everybody has a great Dana Cup 2014,' Jette Andersen stressed.
Dana Cup 2014 is rather special for KIPS. It is the first time that a Finnish club takes part in the tournament and the two teams representing KIPS have travelled for two days to get to Hjørring.