The countdown has already begun, and to find out how preparations are coming along for this friendly match, DIAaDIA spoke with Edgardo Fernández, manager of ShowPro, and Jorge Aued, secretary general of the Panamanian Soccer Federation.
How did the idea come about of bringing the Spanish team to Panama?
EF. The first contact was made by the Spanish promoters, who approached us when the team went to Puerto Rico and communicated their long-standing interest in playing in Panama.
Have any problems come up for the game?
EF. The biggest downside has been all the incredulous people who don't think that Spain will bring their prominent players, and so they believe it will just be a false show because they won't see the best players. Those people are the ones who have dampened a little the enthusiasm over the game.
What are Spain's main demands?
EF First and foremost, security, since this is the darling team of Spain, which has earned the country two European Championships and one World Cup. That has been their main demand, and the second item was the transmission of the game, because it will be shown in Spain. The cameras have to be HD to have a top quality transmission.
The rest are certain things that any team asks for, like a good hotel and transportation.
Will the stars of the team be coming?
EF Per the signed agreement, a minimum of 70% of those who won the recent European Championship must play.
Don Ángel María Villar, president of the Royal Spanish Federation, explained that wherever his team goes, they take along all their stars.
How are ticket sales going so far?
EF I have the figure that so far between 20 and 22 percent have sold.
How big of a crowd do you expect that day?
EF On that day 18,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend. The stadium could be 75 to 80 percent full.
How will the issue of security be handled?
Spain will bring its own security chief, who will then coordinate with security forces such as SPI to handle any issues.
As for the safety in the stadium, it will be just like any other qualifying matches. We hope that no incidents are reported and that the people can enjoy this celebration of soccer.
What is on the agenda for the champions?
EF They should arrive on Monday at 1:00 p.m., accompanied by a delegation of around 200 people, including relatives, journalists, coaches, etc.
On Tuesday they will visit the Canal, cross the Pedro Miguel lock in a boat and walk around Miraflores. A visit to the Presidency has yet to be confirmed. The players might tour around the city, but that is up to them. In the evening there will be training and a press conference held in public.
What pre-game setting is being prepared?
EF Between Wednesday and Thursday the two European Championships and the World Cup trophies should be arriving to be displayed in Multicenter, in what will be called the trophy display.
People will be able to go and take pictures, buy commemorative items (hats, balls, sweatshirts, bags) from the game and also enjoy the history of our sport of soccer.
How is the Panamanian team feeling?
JA They are focused, prepping themselves to offer their best game and make a good impression.
The foreign soccer players will be arriving between the 10th and the 11th, depending on the games scheduled for their clubs.