Monday, October 3

The ‘Sabineta’ reaches its destination after five years

Sabino left Los Santos de Maimona barely out of his football shell at the age of 19 with an ambitious goal, to play in the First Division. And he did it. At that moment in which the bundle was thrown on his shoulder to carve out a future, the nostalgic and romantic desire to hang up his boots in the club that saw him take his first steps was chiseled. And he also achieved it, closing the circle at 38. “When I went to play abroad, it was clear to me that my dream was to finish my career here, and on top of that it was with a promotion,” he recalls. After a brilliant journey, he returned La Estrella to the category in which he was a member when he embarked on his adventure towards the elite.

But he still had a dream to fulfill, directing the ‘Yeyi’ as a coach. In 2017, a campaign after his retirement, the rojillo team fell to the First Extremeña and Sabino picked up the baton from Lorenzo Montaño to return it to the Third again, but this time changing his goals for the board. Last weekend, five years after he took office, the Santeño team reached their long-awaited destination by overcoming the Champions League tie by beating Montehermoso with a win at home (1-0), thanks to Samu’s goal, and after enduring the 0-0 in the return.

The journey has been long, rocky and plagued with disappointments. Years of swimming to die on the shore, of staying a breath away and of cruel blows from a future that gave him a prize for perseverance. “Success is the tip of the iceberg, but underneath is the persistence, the sacrifice, the disappointments, the hard work, the dedication, the failure… All of that is there latent, you learn and it makes you stronger.” A significant percentage of the workforce has that lesson forged in fire with very vivid precedents. The penalty shootout lost against Gévora, Trujillo’s rout that in fifteen minutes blew up all the hopes of a year, Don Álvaro’s Olympic goal in extra time in the semifinals last year… “We told them : ‘We are tired of seeing you cry with sadness, now we have to see you cry with joy’».

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«80% of the staff are people from here who feel the colors because they have worn them since they were 8 years old»

The script had a last-minute shock prepared for them that awakened the ghosts of the past. Montehermoso enjoyed a penalty in the 87th minute that would have led the match to have to be settled in 30 more minutes of agony or in the drama of the shots from the fateful point. But the figure of Vili emerged, the Slovakian goalkeeper who flew to take the Star to the sky of the Third RFEF with a stop for history. «He fell heads, but it could have been tails. Football owed us one and there it has returned it to us, it was very epic ».

Taking into account the format of the competition, being leaders in the regular phase was a priority and the fight in group 4 of the Primera Extremeña was fierce, in a one-on-one with Fuente de Cantos, who led the Santeños by two points on the day 18 (of 22). However, the rojillos took advantage of a stumble by their rivals (3-3) against Usagre to equalize them and the direct duel in the penultimate match of the course allowed them the definitive ‘sorpasso’ (1-0). “That was our train, you had to get on it at all costs and seeing the kids give their lives for it has been exciting.”

Coach Sabino holds up a team scarf on the bus with the famous ‘Sabinera’ on display. /

UC The Star

The good vibes, the camaraderie and the involvement of the dressing room with its leader gave rise to the ‘Sabineta’, very popular these days on social networks as a remastering of the ‘Xavineta’, in reference to the Barça coach. «The name was similar and it came that was not even painted». It all came about with a photo montage that was shared by a WhatsApp group made up of the squad and coaching staff. The idea was ingenious and in celebrating the promotion they went one step further. «On the bus they modified the light screen and put ‘Sabineta’. They asked me to get on board, but I hadn’t read what it said, then yes, but I got into the role. With what we’ve been through, whatever it takes », he comments with hilarity.

The quarry, its great pillar

The ‘Yeyi’ is the humble self-made club prototype that sublimates the human factor and selfless work as non-negotiable pillars, focusing on the youth academy as the catalyst par excellence. “It is difficult to find teams like this around in these categories. I talk to coaches who tell me they are envious of what we do. The town has identified with that philosophy and that germ is evident in the atmosphere that permeates the streets of the town. «The children go with the La Estrella kit, they ask for it for birthdays and communions. The club is overwhelmed on these dates.

Sabino and physical trainer José Ignacio Fernández hug after certifying the ascent. /

UC The Star

80% of the first team squad are people from a town that barely exceeds 8,000 inhabitants. In total, about 15 footballers “who feel the colors because they have been wearing them since they were 8, 9 and 10 years old.” Sabino assures that although they cannot offer a salary, several players from other towns have rejected monetary offers from other clubs to go to La Estrella, attracted by the human group. “We offer a lot of love and dedication on a daily basis.”

He acknowledges that he has not yet talked about renewal with the board, but he is clear: «It is a challenge that I would love. These years have given me confidence and there is a very good relationship. I’ve been a member since I went to play abroad and in any way I will continue to enjoy La Estrella and support it.”

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