For Osasuna Magna, their Copa de España 2019 campaign would end at the semi-final stage, with eventual winners Barça Lassa proving too strong in a 3-1 reverse. The Osasuna players, having given everything for the cause, were milling around the court disconsolately, heads bowed, until a wave of noise burst them out of their stupor.
It was the Osasuna faithful, who continued to urge their side on even after the game was over. The fans streamed down the stairs to the lower rows of the stand where, separated only by the net that protects spectators from the unwelcome consequences of a stray shot, players and supporters enfolded each other in a mutual ovation.
The entire squad then made their way past the net to the stand itself, where they began greeting and high-fiving the fans, friends and family of all ages, who had made the long journey from the Navarre region to Valencia. All involved understood that, over and above victory or defeat, it is effort, teamwork and sportsmanship that matters – and displaying these values certainly deserves a heartfelt round of applause.
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This is just one of so many examples of the message transmitted by the LNFS and, in this case, its blue-riband competition: la Copa de España. A well-established and ambitious infrastructure, impeccable organisation and a standard of communication that goes way beyond mere words. Which is a good thing as, like the Spanish say, “las palabras se las lleva el viento” (words are swept away by the wind), whereas actions and deeds are much harder to erase.
Deeds like the ones starting in the Fan Zone adjoining the Pabellón Municipal Fuente de San Luís, where there was space for commercial outlets, stands with games for children and even a mini-futsal court, where fans could enjoy a match of wheelchair football.
The messages espousing social inclusion, the importance of youth futsal, accessibility and sportsmanship launched alongside these initiatives are reflected in and absorbed by supporters – and in nowhere are these beliefs in better evidence than in the stands.
A similarly positive vibe is on display in the pre-match press conferences, where rival coaches and players all share a stage – opponents on the pitch, colleagues off it. Nor must we fail to mention the ‘Minicopa’, also claimed by Barça Lassa with a hard-fought 8-7 win over Palma Futsal, where those talented youngsters will surely never forget the experience of playing a final on the exact same court their senior sides had graced.
The LNFS’ recipe is clear: generate an enjoyable, relaxed atmosphere at the competition; throw in world-class futsal, featuring many of the best players on the planet; all topped off by committed, good-spirited supporters and what do you have? A genuine futsal fiesta!