Ahead of Gibraltar’s U21 opening game against Cyprus this Wednesday, we spoke to goalkeeper Bradley Banda about his preparation and more.
With only two days until their opening game against Cyprus U21, we asked how preparation has gone for the European Qualifiers – “We’ve been preparing for this game really for almost 2 months now, training once a week with those players who have been allowed to train by their clubs. This definitely has benefited us in absorbing the information the coaches are trying to get across to us as we’ve had more contact time with the coaches than if we would only meet up at the international break. We’ve got a few players studying at University in the UK who have had to catch up once introduced into the squad but they have picked up the pace quickly.”
The U21 squad has been in Cyprus since last Saturday, we asked how the team are feeling going into Wednesday’s game – “It’s a new group with many new faces, and for some the first time ever involved with international football. Everyone’s up for it, they’re excited and ready to get the new campaign underway. It’s a good group we have been drawn into and the opportunity to play with some of Europe’s best such as Portugal and Netherlands is incredible. Going into the game on Wednesday Vs Cyprus I think there’s a sense of belief and confidence that we can and will get a positive result, we haven’t come here to let them walk all over us.”
Bradley is one of a couple players which are still eligible from last year’s UEFA U21 campaign, the goalkeeper would be seen as one of the more experienced players from this current squad. We asked Bradley what he will be passing down to those younger players who will be making their debuts, “Just to emphasise the reality of the level of football that they will be playing at. U21s is a transitional phase from youth football to senior football, the players we come up against are all playing first team football for professional clubs. Mistakes will happen it’s part of the game and at this level its merciless, its how we react to these mistakes that will matter, that never give up mentality has to kick in. Having confidence in your own ability is important. We all know the level of ability we are at as individuals but as a group working for each other and leaving everything out there on the pitch we’re much stronger. At the end of the day its 11 v 11 and anything can happen in 90 min. We have done it before in our 1-0 win over Macedonia a year and half ago and we can do it again.”