Spanish women’s national team apologizes for haka video

Ivana Andrés, the captain of the Spanish women’s national team, has apologized after the country’s football federation (RFEF) posted a now-deleted video on social media of four players appearing to mock New Zealand’s traditional haka.

The haka is a ceremonial Maori war dance, with many of the country’s national teams across a variety of sports performing their own version before matches.

Ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the Spanish players and the federation were accused of being disrespectful towards the dance and Maori culture.

“We’ve only been here a few days in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and there’s still much to learn about this culture,” Andrés said at a traditional welcome ceremony, according to Reuters.

Andrés went on to ask for “forgiveness for our mistakes” and vowed to be “better each day.”

At the ceremony, Andrés gave the tribe a Spain jersey bearing the name Papaioea, the Maori name for the city of Palmerston North, where the ceremony was held.

“This shirt symbolizes all the sacrifices and the victories that have made it possible today to have the privilege of being here to play the World Cup in this admirable land and to do it with the value of the friendship that we all share together today,” Andrés said.

According to Reuters, a spokesperson for the local Rangitane tribe called the ceremony “a very good outcome.”

“Their words came from the heart and there was an acknowledgement that they understood the haka is very precious, not only to Maori, but to all of Aotearoa,” the spokesperson said.

Spain will play all of its group stage matches in New Zealand, starting with Costa Rica on Friday.

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