With plenty of pannas and an authentic street atmosphere, the Danish Championships hosted by Copenhagen Panna House proved just why Denmark continues to set the standard of excellence in the street football world.
Already recognized as one of the world’s top street football crews, Copenhagen Panna House took things to a new level, hosting the first-ever Danish Street Football Championships. Set in the ALIS Wonderland Skatepark in the Freetown Christiania district, the CPH team converted the park’s iconic skate bowl into a panna ring, making for an epic viewing experience for those above the action.
Featuring some of the world’s top ballers such as Suell “Gypsy” Osmani, Kristoffer Liicht, Anders Fiil, and Ali Jassem, there’s no debating the talent level at the tournament. However, CPH stressed that the event was less about competition and more about community and to showcase the vibrant street football culture of Denmark.
“Our main goal of this tournament was to create a fantastic day and atmosphere and show what panna can do,” said Liicht, a co-founder of Panna House. “Before the competition started we gathered everyone up in a huddle and said, ‘Just show your best stuff and have a good time. No matter who wins, we’re all winners.’ This was just for the panna community, which was important to us. We wanted to show a positive spirit the whole way through.”
Ballers had to adjust to the wood surface of the playing ground, which doesn’t give as much friction as concrete or asphalt, and when all was said and done, Jassem took the crown over CPH co-founder Gypsy.
As always, the CPH team put a heavy importance on the youth side of the competition, wanting to set the example for the next generation of Danish ballers — one being Florian Riis, who finished in third place after a surprise panna victory over heavily favored Frank Jobarteh.
I’m sure I will never forget my panna on @frank_cph .. yesterday at Danish Panna Championship ????..@pannahouse thank you so much for this fab. EVENT..inside @alis_wndrlnd #panna #groundmoves #groundmovesstyle #streetstyle #streetsoccer #pannahouse #tekkers #streetculture #montaball #montasoccer #silentkiller_cph
Riis, who according to Liicht was inspired to take up street football after the 2017 Pannahouse Invitationals, has been working closely with the CPH youth workshops, and improving his game day in and day out. Success stories like Riis’ are what keeps Liicht and the CPH team optimistic about the future.
Other highlights of the event include a guest performance from freestyle/street football dual threat Soufiane Bencok, who dazzled those in attendance with his ridiculous skill set backed by a performance from Danish rapper Kaka.
The CPH team hopes to make the Danish Championships an annual tournament, with the intentions of keeping Denmark at the forefront of the street football world.
“We’re trying to set the foundation for the kids of the future,” Liicht said. “These are the kinds of things that they look forward to. It’ll build the scene even more. I hope that we can bring the younger generation to plan these things and give them more tools to work with to increase the sport. It’s a lot of hard work — we don’t make any money off of it — but it’s for the culture.”
While the atmosphere at the Danish Champs were somewhat friendly, don’t expect the same for this year’s Pannahouse Invitationals, one of the premier global panna tournaments that is set to have an even higher level of competition.
“The Invitationals are serious business,” Liicht said.
Set to kick off on August 18, Liicht and co. have already begun to send out invites, with more updates set to be announced in the near future.