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GFA confirm further details on their new structure

The Gibraltar FA have today confirmed details of their new structure, with four changes announced by the GFA, including the appointment of Ivan Robba as General Secretary.

Photo © Gibraltar FA

As previously reported on Football Gibraltar, Ivan Robba takes the position of General Secretary – Mr Robba, who joined the association full-time back in 2014 after previously working for nearly 7 years at Triay & Triay, was previously Deputy General Secretary but has now taken this position.

Elsewhere, former General Secretary Dennis Beiso has now moved into the role of Director of Strategy and International & Public Relations, which the GFA describe as him being “asked with and implementing long term strategic plans for the Association and ensuring their successful implementation.”

Former GFA Vice President Ian Torrilla has been appointed as Director of Operations, while the new Finance Director is Nathan Payas, who joins the GFA from EY Gibraltar, where he was a Senior Manager in Advisory services and Business Development.

The GFA have stated that “With the above changes, the Association positions itself to face a new era, with exciting and important challenges ahead.”

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Robba: “Our hard work throughout the season has once again paid off”

FG caught up with 18-year old Shania Robba to get her thoughts on Lincoln retaining the Women’s title, Women’s international Futsal and more.

Lincoln Red Imps Women retained the league last week with a 2-1 win over Europa – we asked Shania how it felt retaining the title, “It feels amazing to retain the league title for the fourth time in a row with Lincoln, we have a group of very talented and young players. Our hard work throughout the season has once again paid off.”

Shania is currently the top goalscorer of the league with 13 goals – we asked her to reflect on her season so far, “I’d like to think that my season so far has gone well, scoring goals and contributing to Lincoln’s successes is a good sign of my performances thus far into the season. A slight injury set back has prevented myself from playing the last few matches, although I will definitely be back soon and would like to continue to achieve results not only in club football but representing Gibraltar in the upcoming Futsal Euro Qualifiers held in May.”

Shania was part of the Women’s Futsal squad which went away to play Northern Ireland last month – we asked her how the weekend of friendlies went, “I feel that our recent international futsal friendlies in Northern Ireland definitely showed our potential as a squad. Although our first performance lacked that composure on the ball and our nerves were evident on the court, the second game we fought till the very end, creating a significant amount of goal-scoring opportunities and showed that we can challenge such nations in futsal.”

The Gibraltar FA recently announced that Gibraltar’s Women’s National Futsal team will take part in competitive International football, this year, as UEFA have confirmed their participation in the Women’s Futsal European Championships – we asked how she feels about the news, “It’s brilliant news! This incredible opportunity will not only allow this very capable squad of showing our full potential in front of our own home nation, but it will also contribute to the rise of women’s football and futsal, encouraging more young girls to begin to play the sport which will only create more opportunities for Women’s football and futsal in the upcoming years.”

At just 18-years old, Shania Robba is proving to be one of the Gibraltar Women’s top performers whether it be Football or Futsal – we asked her what her goals are for the future, “Next year I will be going to university so my main goal is to get into a university team and showcase my potential in the UK, I will take every opportunity that comes my way to improve my football and play with the highest level of athletes. Another aim is to continue to represent Gibraltar in football and futsal for many more years, however, my main ambition is to play professional football.”

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De Barr: “The recovery is going well”

Football Gibraltar caught up with Gibraltar international, and Real Oviedo B striker Tjay De Barr, to catch up on his recovery from an injury sustained playing for Gib last year, life in Oviedo and more.

Photo © Real Oviedo

De Barr suffered a cruciate ligament injury playing for Gibraltar against Switzerland back in November, so we asked how his recovery was going: “The recovery is going well, with a few minor setbacks, however it’s normal. At first, when I thought it was only a meniscus tear it turned out to be a little bit more, involving the cruciate ligaments. That’s why the recovery has taken longer than I was expecting. I’ve basically been in the gym since the injury happened, just a few days ago I did my first ball work session and it felt really good to just put some boots on again, something I have missed a lot.”

For 99% of footballers, setbacks are part and parcel of the game, so has the 19-year-old attacker used any specific methods to deal with this injury setback? “Obviously like you say it’s part of the game, I’d say I’ve been quite unlucky with injuries. Back in Lincoln I had problems with my ankles, halfway through the season with Europa I had problems with my hamstring and now it’s my knee. Dealing with this setback isn’t any different to any other injury I’ve had, it’s making sure that you come back fully fit and ready to play, which is better than rushing to get back as early as possible and suffering from another injury.

When you’re injured and not playing, watching from aside you then notice how much football means and how much you miss it, I would say that’s what keeps me going.”

De Barr moved from Gibraltar to Oviedo, in the north of Spain, after completing his European commitments with Europa last summer – what is it like living in the city? “Living here away from home has been good for now, I do feel comfortable around the people I am so that’s good. I also do believe that it can just get better from here, I’ve managed to remain happy whilst I haven’t been playing so I can just imagine I’ll be much more happier whenever I get the chance to start playing again. I wouldn’t say there are any similarities, just the simple fact that I’m here to do one thing which is enjoy playing football like I did back home.”

The draw for the Nations League takes place on March 3rd, and Gibraltar are top seeds in League D. De Barr opened the scoring against Armenia in the same competition back in 2018, so how does he feel Gib can do, especially given Gibraltar will face a similar standard of opposition to themselves? “I’m sure that myself and my teammates in the national team are excited for the Nations league, it will be a very exciting campaign. As people from the outside see a great chance in achieving something this time round, I’m not too focused on that. Football is a very unpredictable sport, so you never know what to expect. The team will always try to achieve something great.

We’ve come up against some of these teams that we could possibly be facing and we’ve won and lost some so that’s what will make this campaign interesting and I’m just looking forward to it and making sure that if I have the chance to play I’ll be ready and fit.”

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Dylan Hernandez is FG Player of the Week

Lynx striker Dylan Hernandez is awarded FG Player of the Week for his hat-trick in their 3-1 win over Brunos Magpies.

Dylan Hernandez – Lynx FC (1st)

Lynx’s new winger proved to be the difference-maker as his side beat Magpies 3-1 to establish an 11 point gap between the sides 4th and 5th in the table. His first full 90 minutes at the club saw him grab a hat-trick and he generally proved to be a handful.

The loss of Lynx’s 3 Croatians sparked some concerns that they may fall away, but if the likes of Hernandez and Alisson settle in as well as they are at the point, then 4th should be wrapped up for Albert Parody’s side – maybe an outside chance of taking 3rd?

Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez – Europa FC (2nd)

In the big battle between Lincoln and Europa, both sides were looking for someone to make the difference, and Juampe stepped up to do just that as Europa went on to win 2-0. He took his first with good composure, especially after seeing a similar chance saved by Lolo Soler in the first half, while, after receiving an excellent thrown pass from keeper Dayle Coleing, his driving run and pass eventually led to the own goal which wrapped up the match.

Juampe has been one of the standout players for Europa this season on the wing, having now scored 13 goals in his last 9 for the club – just one of the reasons Rafa Escobar’s side find themselves five points clear at the top.

Salvador ‘Boro’ Alegre Delgado & ‘Juanfri’ Peña Garcia – St Joseph’s (3rd)

For the first time and probably not the only time, Boro & Juanfri come in at third place. The Spanish duo linked up perfectly for the first 3 St Joseph’s goals with Boro then getting his second and Saints’ fourth in the second half.

After Lincoln’s loss last weekend, Saints have an excellent opportunity to open up a five-point gap over Imps when they face off against each other this Saturday – Procopio will need his strikers to be firing on all cylinders.

Andre Dos Santos – Mons Calpe (4th)

After a slow first half, Mons were too strong for Boca in the second half. Andre Dos Santos and Ayoub El Hmidi pulled the strings in midfield and both played a big part in their second goal, scored by Lee Muscat.

On paper, Mons have the strongest squad in the Challenge Group and players such as Andre should use what’s left of this season as a platform to break into a top 6 team.

Kian Ronan – Manchester 62 (5th)

Kian has been one of Man62’s standout performers since joining this season. After missing his sides opening two games of the Challenge Group with the U21 international reportedly on trials with teams in UK, Ronan walked back into the squad and score a brace in Man62’s 5-0 win over College.

After impressing on recent international duty with the U19’s and U21’s, Kian will be hoping that his performances till the end of the season can get him a big deal whether in Gibraltar or abroad.

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Sergeant: “Team performance was a good one all round”

We caught up with Gibraltar International defender Jack Sergeant to get his reaction on Europa’s 2-0 win over Lincoln and more.

Second-half goals from Juampe and an own goal secured Europa a 2-0 win – Jack reflected on his team’s performance, “I thought the team performance was a good one all round. We knew it would be a tight game because Lincoln are a strong team and were on a positive run of games. Both teams had chances throughout the game and thankfully we took them in the 2nd half.”

This win leaves them five points clear of St Joseph’s and 7 from Lincoln, both who face off against each other this Saturday – we asked if his side have one hand on the title? “Going 5 points clear of St Joseph’s and 7 of Lincoln is a big step towards winning the league; yes it gives us confidence but we are not thinking about that yet. We will continue taking each game as it comes and see where we are coming to the end of the season.”

It’s been nearly four years since Jack played regular football in Gibraltar since his departure from Manchester 62 – we asked Jack how it feels to be back, “After playing in the UK the last few seasons I am happy to be back playing domestically in Gibraltar. I think the league is in a positive transition period at the moment and personally I feel that I am improving as a player.”

With his contract at Europa expiring at the end of the season – we asked Jack what the future holds for him, “At the moment I am solely concentrating on playing and winning for Europa – we have a good chance to win trophies this season so we will carry on working towards that. National team games are coming up soon which is always an exciting time.”

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Chino: “The team is looking very sharp and focused”

Ahead of Lincoln’s match vs Europa tomorrow, we caught up with their goalkeeper, Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin, to get his thoughts on the big match in this season’s title race.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

With the current top two coming face-to-face again at 4pm tomorrow, we asked the Lincoln keeper how he was feeling ahead of the big match: “I can’t wait to get the ball rolling – the team is looking very sharp and focused. Our confidence is high after our last 2 games. Yes people will say they were games we should have won but it’s the manner in which we won them.”

Goldwin, known locally as Chino, has been involved in a number of big matches for club and country in recent seasons – does that experience come to help in a match like tomorrow’s? “I believe so…experience is something you cannot train. As you say I’ve been involved in some big games and that will help come Saturday.”

The 34-year-old was on the bench in Lincoln’s defeats to Europa and St Joseph’s earlier in the season – but with Chino getting a good run of games in recently, does the keeper feel he’s done enough for a start against a title rival tomorrow? “I always give 100% and make sure I get to training early and put in extra work, but at the end of the day it’s the managers choice and we have to respect that. The most important thing are the 3 points at stake, the whole squad is training hard and up for it. It’s definitely a game that everyone wants to be part of.”

New Lincoln manager German Crespo has overseen 5-0 and 5-1 victories so far in his tenure in charge – what does Goldwin think of the new boss? “The manager has brought in a different style of play and attitude which I think is showing on the pitch. There’s a more positive mindset running through the squad.”

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Coleing: “We must respect every team we come across”

We caught up with Europa goalkeeper Dayle Coleing to get his thoughts on this Saturday’s crunch match against Lincoln.

Coleing spoke about how his side’s preparation for the Lincoln game has gone, “The boys are raring to go and we feel we are more than prepared to take on yet another crucial match. We are going into the game full of confidence especially after beating St Joseph’s last weekend. It is going to be an interesting game with both teams having a lot to play for.”

Europa currently sit four points clear over their opponents, in second, so we asked Coleing how he felt his team’s season has gone – “This season so far I feel we have been very dominant. There is a great energy about our team and it shows when we play. We do, however, have high standards for ourselves and feel we could improve in many ways such as keeping our concentration for the full 90 minutes. We have been caught out with a few early goals but the depth and talent of our squad eventually takes over.”

Lincoln defeated Europa 2-0 last season to clinch the title – we asked how that result will motivate his team on Saturday, “Seeing Lincoln win the league last season after beating us was a feeling we would never forget and I am sure I speak for the whole team that we do not want to feel that again. It does give us extra motivation to win the game and make sure we do not make the same mistake twice.”

There’s already talk of Europa possibly having one hand on the trophy if they are able to beat Lincoln on Saturday – we asked if that could add as pressure to win, “I do not think there is any pressure at all nor do I think the league will be wrapped up if we win the game. There is another round of fixtures to go and we must respect every team we come across.”

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Victor goal secures Women’s title for Lincoln

Lincoln Red Imps women’s side won the 2019/20 Women’s League, as Naomi Victor’s winner saw them beat Europa 2-1, to take an unassailable lead at the top of the table.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Going into the game, Lincoln knew they needed 2 points from their remaining three games to secure the title, but they would have wanted to wrap it up against a Europa side who have yet to get a point this season. Despite this, Europa made their opponents work for their success, as Susana Mudarra Maldonado put her side 1-0 up after 21 minutes.

Lincoln were not to be deterred though, and after Laura Cortes-Minan equalised early in the second half, Victor got Lincoln’s second, which would prove to be the title-winning goal, retaining the title which they won last year by four points from Lions – also their closest challengers in the three-team division this time out.

Lincoln were congratulated post-match by the official UEFA Women’s Champions League Twitter account – while Gibraltar have yet to enter a team into the tournament since joining UEFA, there is no confirmation yet as to whether this may or may not change this year, with Gibraltar included in the provisional access list should they choose to enter Lincoln into the qualifying round of the tournament.

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Kike is FG Player of the Week

Lincoln Red Imps striker Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal is awarded FG Player of the Week for his performance in their 5-1 win over Brunos Magpies.

Kike Gomez Bernal – Lincoln Red Imps (1st)

The first half especially saw Lincoln’s forwards tear through Magpies defence with great efficiency, and Kike was central to that, scoring twice in the first half to help Lincoln on their way to a 5-1 victory.

The striker looked understandably disappointed to be taken off when on a hat-trick, but with a key date vs his former club Europa on Saturday, Lincoln manager German Crespo was right to ensure he was kept fresh, and more importantly hungry for goals ahead of a massive top-of-the-table clash.

Manu Dimas – Europa FC (2nd)

Dimas continues leading the line for Europa while Adrian Gallardo recovers from injury and has done so very well. The first goal had a slice of luck about it but made no doubts about the second with an exceptional header and was a constant thorn in the Saints defence.

Escobar will be hoping he can continue this fine form into this weekend’s match against rivals Lincoln.

Jaydan Parody – Lynx FC (3rd)

After making his debut for Lynx in 2014/15, Jaydan fell off the radar. After joining Phoenix U23’s in 2018, he would sign for FC Olympique in January 2019 where he would be an instant impact and would later be rewarded with a deal at Lynx.

The 21-year old was instrumental in Lynx’s win over Lions – grabbing a goal and brought a fluidity to their play which they would later miss as Lions would later come back into the game after his substitution. If Jaydan continues to show these types of attributes then it won’t be long until he is rewarded with a spot in Julio’s squad.

Olmo Gonzalez Casado – Europa FC (4th)

Olmo has been one of Europa’s most consistent performers since joining the club in 2018. He’s flourished under his new defensive partnership and while Sergio Sanchez is scoring the goals, Olmo is more than happy to do the dirty work for his side.

The 32-year old put in one of his usual performances which we’ve come to expect from the experienced defender and did a great job of keeping the St Joseph’s attackers quiet throughout.

Ayoub El Hmidi – Mons Calpe (5th)

There were a few candidates for fifth place, but given Mons faced Manchester in what was the featured game of the Challenge Group, we’ve plumped for Ayoub El Hmidi, who scored a second-half brace to ensure Mons take seemingly full control of that group – they are six points clear of Europa Point at the ‘top’ of that group now.

The youngster may find himself disappointed not to be competing in the top six, but it could ultimately be a blessing in disguise – should he keep playing, and keep scoring in the Challenge Group, there’ll be eyes on the 19-year-old from bigger teams in the league.

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Europa beat Saints to move four points clear

Europa beat St Joseph’s 3-1 to move four points clear in the Championship Group ahead of next week’s crunch match with Lincoln Red Imps.

Saints started the stronger side and had a number of great opportunities to open the scoring and possibly score a few more, but Dayle Coleing was on hand to keep them all out – in particular, his reaction save from Boro’s half volley in the 12th minute.

The game evened out as it went on, but a goal from nothing by Manu Dimas gave Europa a 1-0 lead with two minutes of the first half remaining.

Two minutes into the second half and St Joseph’s had the ball in the Europa net – but Ezequiel Rojas’ goal was disallowed for offside. A few minutes later, St Joseph’s would finally get their goal as Cristian Pecci’s free-kick from an outrageous angle curled over Coleing and went in to make it 1-1.

Europa regained their lead just after the hour mark; Manu Dimas met a lovely cross and headed the ball past Jamie Robba. With five minutes to go, Europa was awarded a penalty for an apparent handball and captain Liam Walker dispatched of it to make it 3-1.

Tensions started to boil over for St Joseph’s, especially with the little amount of added time given (three minutes) and would end up finishing the game with 10 men with Pecci being sent off.