We caught up with Gibraltar Phoenix goalkeeper Matt Cafer as he reflects on his first international call-up.
Following the new rule change, to match FIFA’s regulations, which meant anyone with a British passport and lived in Gibraltar for more than three years were eligible to represent Gibraltar on the national stage, we asked Cafer how it felt to earn his first call-up, “Honestly, getting called up is the proudest moment of my footballing career. There’s no words that can describe it. Even when I became eligible it was all just If’s and but’s and especially this year the competition in the goalkeeper department is strong! Very strong. There’s healthy competition!”
Cafer first came to Gibraltar back in 2013 when he joined College Europa, now Europa FC. Did the goalkeeper think this would ever happen? He replied, “No not at all to be honest. Obviously when I first came over here 4/5 years ago I was only young. Very young and none of this really seemed possible and you don’t think that far ahead at 18 years old!”
Julio has been putting the team through their paces over the last few weeks/months and with their opening game of the Nations League on Thursday, we asked how the mood in the camp is “Yeah the mood is great! I think the mix of young and older more experienced players gives it a real good buzz. The sessions are intense. Really intense but fun and enjoyable and the lads are up for the game Thursday!!”
Over recent weeks, it has been clear for everyone to see the kind of passion Julio shows both on and off the pitch. Cafer gave us an insight into his impressions of Gibraltar’s new manager, “Obviously I have played against Julio’s teams in the past when he was manager of Lincoln and you could see there the passion from the sideline. But now being a part of a team with him. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. The way he talks to the players as a group and you individually it just makes you fired up and ready He understands football and knows the game very well. This preparation will be key for the team in the coming games!”