Playing football on La Palma in the middle of the eruption: “We have boys who live in the area of ​​the volcano”

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A few kilometers from the volcano Old Summit, life goes on. It has little to do with what happens in the west of The Palm, already declared a catastrophic zone due to the effects of the eruption, with the way it feels in the east.

“You can’t even imagine how normal it is in the east. You don’t feel a tremor or see smoke. But you go through a tunnel and it’s like you’re entering hell.” The one who speaks is Guillermo Jimenez, sports director of the Messenger CD. Soccer is also present on the island and this club Santa Cruz, founded in 1924, is the main exponent of the palmeros.

The stadium Silvestre Carrillo, the Messenger’s house, is just 12 km from the top of the volcano. In a few days, on Sunday to be specific, he will once again host a match that will pit his team against Montijo, an Extremaduran club, within Group IV of the second RFEF, the fourth category of Spanish football after its reorganization this year.

A match at 12 km

THE SPANISH He has contacted the Messenger to see first-hand how a football club experiences the eruption of the volcano. We are attended by Guillermo, its sports director, who makes it clear that in the face of the game they are going to do “what the experts tell us.”

“They ask me if we have asked to postpone the game and I am neither an expert in Health, nor an expert in technology, nor in security … In this country we have people who are sufficiently prepared in all areas to make the decision that benefits to the players and to the fans in health, which comes first, “he says. The concern is in the gases emitted by the volcano, although two days before the game everything indicates that it will be played.

The CD Mensajero, at La Palma airport on the day of the eruption

The CD Mensajero, at La Palma airport on the day of the eruption

The eruption of the volcano caught the Messenger away from home, in The Gran Canarian palms. They found out about the situation after playing, during lunch, thanks to the fact that Guillermo was with his cell phone and they began to bombard him with messages. They had to catch a flight back to La Palma which, after the airport closed and then opened, took the afternoon: “When the plane arrived on the island you would see a cloud of smoke straight up. It was thousands of meters, as if it was a tornado that you see on television or in a movie, “he tells about the moment when they came face to face with the volcano.

Those affected by the Messenger

In the locker room, the concern is evident. They train every day in their field and that is the only time of the day in which they are not aware of the volcano. “We have three players who live in that affected area of ​​the island and the coach also lives there, the second coach also … Psychologically you are never one hundred percent. It is difficult. It is impossible,” Guillermo tells this newspaper.

After surprising us by what the Messenger’s sports director has to say, the question is asking itself: is there someone seriously affected in the squad? The answer is no”. At least, not directly since there are several who have relatives who are in a dramatic situation. The one who sees it closest is the coach: “It is less than a kilometer from the last mouth that erupted, but it is above it and the lava is going down. But whether you like it or not it is difficult to sleep at night with the noises of the volcano”.

There are people whose house has not yet been washed away, but they know they are going to lose it. That still gives more helplessness

Guillermo Jimenez, sports director of CD Mensajero

The eruption of the volcano, sadly, is not the only natural catastrophe they have faced on La Palma. The fires have done a lot of damage in recent years: “We saw each other in a similar situation in the summer, not so serious, but in the same area and there were children affected, the same as I said, who could not train because they had to help relatives to take things out of the house and others, “he recalls.

Now the agony is multiplying and together with it the impotence, Guillermo says: “In a fire everyone can lend a hand, even if it is to protect houses and others. But a volcano generates impotence because there is no way to stop the lava. . It is not only the people who have lost everything, but there are people whose house has not yet been taken, but they know they are going to lose it. That makes it even more helpless. “

In this situation, and with a game on Sunday, the club is aware of what there is: “It is impossible to ask those guys to be 100% right now. We have to try to disconnect them during training sessions, give them the maximum of support and possible help “. Even so, he does not believe that this is a factor for not playing and he remembers the situation of all the neighbors: “The people who work on this side of the island and live there I doubt that they are one hundred percent if they work on a construction site, if it is teacher … It’s our turn “.

Volcano images

In the east of La Palma everyone is ready to help the areas most devastated by the volcano: “Our fundamental role will be when this ends. Although it sounds bad to say so, all this repercussion will be forgotten. we are left. And that’s where we come in. When we have to play 20 charity games or whatever we will be there, when we have to give up our facilities for a charity concert or for an act we will be there, when we have to go to clean, the whole club will be there … “, highlights the Messenger manager.

Guillermo mentions a message posted this week by Rafa Nadal in which, in addition to sending all his support, he pointed out that he will do his bit when he plays: “Now you have to be all together, try to donate as much food and clothing as possible to all those people, try to rehouse those people who are he has been left without a house and later, when people forget, because that’s the way it is, when the volcano begins to fade, that’s when we palmeros have to be more united. “

Message to the palm trees

For now, from the Messenger they hope that the match against Montijo, if played, will serve to “make people forget the hell we are living for two hours.” The talk with Guillermo ends with a positive message: “That people do not stop believing, that we have come out of other bad situations, natural disasters and complicated situations. La Palma, the Canary Islands and all of Spain we are going to be together and for those people that he has lost everything, his whole house and others, from the club we are going to help in everything they need, in everything that is in our power and more. Sooner rather than later we will all return to normality “. La Palma football has spoken.

[Más información – “La lava no va a llegar al mar ni hoy ni mañana”: las coladas siguen perdiendo velocidad en La Palma]

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