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Gibraltar squad announced for November double-header

Julio Ribas has selected a 23-man squad for the upcoming double-header against Denmark and Switzerland.

Photo (C) Naps

The only change to the original squad from last month’s internationals is the introduction of Bradley Banda, who originally replaced the injured Dayle Coleing after the Kosovo friendly. This time though, he replaces Brunos Magpies keeper Matt Cafer, with Coleing a surprise inclusion given he has only trained once since the injury. Blackburn U23 defender Louie Annesley continues to miss out through injury, after having surgery before October’s internationals – he has yet to return for his club side either so he was never likely to be fit for these games.

The lack of changes again shows Ribas intention to keep a small, tight-nit team together and treat it almost as a club side. With this the last internationals of the year, and with no friendlies currently scheduled in March or June, this could be the last chance for a while Gib fans get to see their national team in action.

The double-header starts with a trip to Copenhagen, where the side face Denmark on Friday at Telia Parken, before facing Switzerland at home on Monday night. The games are both crucial for their respective opponent’s chances of qualifying for next summer’s final tournament.

Tickets for the home game against Switzerland start from £25, and can be purchased at tickets.gibraltarfa.com

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Viagas: “We need help from the association to get allocations in order to keep on improving”

We caught up with Lincoln Red Imps Women’s captain Tiffany Viagas to get her thoughts on her sides recent win over Lions, the development of Women’s football over the years and more.

Lincoln maintained their 100% start to the Women’s League with a 4-2 win over Lions – Tiffany reflected on her team’s performance, “The team put in a strong performance against a tough side. Our quick passing and movement off the ball made us a threat going forward, creating numerous chances in the opposition’s box. The whole team worked hard throughout the game, which saw our efforts rewarded with the 3 points, giving us a 6 point lead at the top of the league. However, the result was overshadowed with the injury of our player Shania. I hope she recovers soon!”

We asked Tiffany how she’s felt Women’s Football has developed over the years, “Over the past years, women’s football in Gibraltar is becoming more popular in the younger age groups. The Under 16s national team came second out of four teams at a development tournament in Malta, which saw them win against Albania (3-0) and a draw against Andorra (1–1). There is definitely a bright future ahead for the national team and for the women’s league but we need help from the association to get allocations in order to keep on improving and keep players motivated.”

We asked Tiffany what she would like to see in Women’s Football for the game to continue to improve, “I would like to see other clubs in the men’s premier division putting out a team in the women’s league. This way we can get more women involved in the game and making the league more exciting for all teams involved. I would also like to see the senior national team going to participate in competitions such as the Euro Qualifiers as I believe we have a strong and hard-working team and showed in our previous tournament at the Island Games that we are no pushover.”

Tiffany gave us an insight into how her trial with FC Twente Vrouwen went last summer, “My week’s trial at FC Twente was a dream come true. Shania and I trained for a week with the Eredivise champions, where we trained with Dutch national team players. We would train once or twice a day, and we worked on different aspects of the game. We also played a match with FC Twente against German side Borussia Bocholt, where we were able to make a good account for ourselves. Shania and I both received very positive feedback from the head coach and a return to the club is very close by. The experience was amazing and I learned a lot during my time there. I would like to thank Bennie Brinkman for making this possible.”

Finally, we asked Tiffany what her aims are for football – “My aim is to keep working hard and to hopefully turn my dream into a reality which is to play football aboard at a professional club and keep representing and giving it my best when playing for the national team.”

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Juanfri and Afonso win FG monthly awards in October

As we get closer to the league split after the first round, St Joseph’s Juanfri and Lincoln manager Victor Afonso pick up Player of the Month and Manager of the Month for October.

Photo © C Correa Photography

FG Player of the Month – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Pena (St Joseph’s)

With most of the top 3 only in action once or twice this month, October was never likely to have too much of a say in the title race, but St Joseph’s, who did play twice, made sure they kept up their unbeaten start to the season. With 7 goals in 2 games, as well as consecutive TOTW appearances, Juanfri edges his team-mate Boro, who got 5 in 2, to the top spot this month. Like last season, the vast majority of Saints goals come from this pair, and if they stay fit, they could be key for the title race in 2020.

  1. Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Pena (St Joseph’s)
  2. Salvador Manuel ‘Boro’ Alegre Delgado (St Joseph’s)
  3. German Cortes Narvaes (FC Boca Gibraltar)

FG Manager of the Month – Victor Afonso (Lincoln Red Imps)

With seemingly so few games in October, this was actually a hard decision to make with regards manager of the month. The only two coaches to win two games were Raul Procopio and Lincoln’s Victor Afonso, but on paper Lincoln’s two games were the harder matches so we’ve chosen to give the Lincoln manager the award for a second consecutive month. A special mention should go to now-former Boca manager Juan Maria Sanchez, who led Boca to a draw and win in October but stepped down from the club this morning.

  1. Victor Afonso (Lincoln Red Imps)
  2. Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)
  3. Juan Maria Sanchez (FC Boca Gibraltar)
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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 8 results

  • FC Boca Juniors 1-2 Magpies (Buhagiar OG; Assumpcao, Juanse)
  • Lincoln Red Imps 3-0 Europa Point (Kike x2, Coombes)
  • St Joseph’s 1-1 Lynx (Boro; Valdivia)
  • Manchester 62 0-3 Lions Gibraltar (Luisma, Parker, Caravaca)
  • College 1975 0-12 Europa (Dimas x3, Walker x3, Juampe x2, Labra x2, Quillo, Bautista)
  • GOALKEEPER: Bradley Banda (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Jamie Serra (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Jose ‘Chema’ Arana Trivino (Magpies)
  • DEFENDER: Thomas Hastings (Lions)
  • MIDFIELDER: Antonio ‘Gato’ Ramon Rincon (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Liam Walker (Europa)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juanse Pegalajar (Magpies)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
  • STRIKER: Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln)
  • STRIKER: Luis ‘Luisma’ Casas Dominguez (Lions)
  • STRIKER: Manuel Dimas (Europa)
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Gibraltar National League: The Christmas run-in

With nearly two-thirds of the first round of fixtures already taking place, and only 24 matches left before the National League splits in two at Christmas, we look at where each of the 12 teams are, and their chances of reaching the top 6 by Christmas and the end of the first round.

Photo © C Correa Photography

1st Place – Lincoln Red Imps – 18 points – 4 games left

100% they will be in the Championship Group. Lincoln’s opening-day loss to Europa has been forgotten about by the side, who have won their next six in a row. The only major challenge left before Christmas will be against St Joseph’s – three points would be important as well as set a market to the rest of the league.

2nd Place – St Joseph’s FC – 17 points – 4 games left

Like Lincoln, Saints will be in the top six. The late draw vs Lynx wasn’t ideal, but St Joseph’s have been good this season and are threatening to make the title-race a three-team affair. As long as they keep the front two of Juanfri and Boro fit and firing, Saints are a match for anyone – a result vs Lincoln before the New Year would be a massive statement of intention.

3rd Place – Europa FC – 16 points – 5 games left

Again, Europa are one of the teams definitely going to the Championship Group. Bar a dramatic draw vs St Joseph’s, Europa have rarely looked troubled all season and if they see through the game vs Lynx with no hiccups, they are likely to be top come the split. January will be interesting for Europa – do they stick with the squad that has served them so well so far, or add one or two players in the window who may potentially be the difference between a title and no title?

4th Place – Bruno’s Magpies – 15 points – 3 games left

Magpies should really be safe now. A little wobble with three defeats in a row raised some doubts over the side, but the back-to-back wins vs Europa Point and Boca means they should get over the line at Christmas. They have hard fixtures vs Lincoln and St Joseph’s to come, but by the time they face Manchester in their last game, we’d be surprised if their top six spot wasn’t mathematically secured. The challenge will be whether they invest even further on new players in January, especially with new manager Alfonso Cortijo undoubtedly wanting some of his own players in.

5th Place – Lynx FC – 14 points – 4 games left

Lynx have a fairly nice run-in in which to accumulate points before the Championship Group, which they seem certain to get into. If they can ensure 7 to 9 points against Manchester, College and Glacis, then Albert Parody’s side will be in a healthy position post-Christmas – the draw vs St Joseph’s showed they can make life difficult for the top three as well and teams won’t necessarily want to play them.

6th Place – Mons Calpe SC – 11 points – 3 games left

Having points on the board is traditionally better than games in hand, as the cliché goes, but it looks like going to the wire for Mons Calpe. Two of their last three games are against St Joseph’s and Europa, making the match vs Manchester 62 a must-win. Even then, 14 points isn’t guaranteed to be enough. They were stubborn vs Lincoln though, and there is every chance of nicking a result against one of the current top 3, but if they don’t, it will be a nervy end to the year for Leo Vela’s side.

7th Place – Manchester 62 – 7 points – 5 games left

Looking purely at the table, you’d say Manchester have the best chance of jumping into the top six from the bottom six sides. However, only one of their last five games is versus a team below them, which make new manager David Wilson’s task that bit tougher. The big two games will be against Mons Calpe and Europa Point – especially the game against Mons – if they can beat the team above them on the 30th November, and follow it with a win vs Europa Point, then they may have a chance of top six, depending on other results.

8th Place – FC Boca Gibraltar – 6 points – 4 games left

Boca aren’t in a bad position table wise, but the fixtures are not too kind to them, given they face Europa and Lincoln in their next two matches. After that though, they’ll need to beat Glacis in order to set up a tantalising final round game vs Lions. Talk of off-the-field issues at the club will need to be shaken off as soon as possible if the club wants to take that sixth spot and work from there in 2020.

9th Place – Lions Gibraltar – 6 points – 4 games left

Whisper it quietly, but Lions could have a chance of sneaking into the top six while no one is watching them. The win against Manchester was vital, not just because it was their first of the season, but because it kept their Championship Group hopes alive. Three of their remaining four games are against fellow bottom six sides, including matches vs Glacis and College, while their final game against Boca could be a winner-takes-all fixture depending on how Mons finish. Albert Ferri has made his team more resolute defensively; if they can improve on their poor scoring form so far, then we may see last season’s 9th place team end in 6th.

10th Place – Europa Point FC – 5 points – 3 games left

Despite only being a point behind Lions and Boca, and only two off Manchester, the lack of games left for Europa Point means that a top six finish in truth seems unlikely. To achieve this, the side would have to beat Manchester and College, while most likely also getting a surprise result against St Joseph’s too. Even then, they would still be relying on other team’s results going in their favour – it isn’t looking promising for Allen Bula’s side.

11th Place – Glacis United FC – 3 points – 5 games left

Glacis have slowly built themselves back up after a heavily disrupted start to the season, and while qualifying for the Championship Group does seem beyond them, they could still have an influence on who does make the top 6. Games against Boca and especially Lions will be tight affairs and if Glacis can take points off those teams, the likes of Manchester and Mons Calpe would be the most likely beneficiaries.

12th Place – College 1975 FC – 0 points – 4 games left

Although mathematically still possible, it is safe to say College are not qualifying for the top 6. Without so much as a point yet this season, they have been up against it from the first gameweek, and realistically these last four games should be used to try and improve where possible ahead of going into the Challenge Group, where hopefully they won’t be on the end of results such as the 12-0 and 9-1 they have suffered in recent weeks.

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Manchester 62 appoint Wilson as new manager

Manchester 62 have appointed David Wilson as their new manager, following the departure of Jeff Wood last month.

Photo © Black and Burst Photography

Wilson, who was in charge of Brunos Magpies for nearly three years before his dismissal in October, takes over a Manchester side seventh in the league, with aspirations still of finishing in the top six when the table splits.

Talk of Wilson taking on the role had been going on for a small time, especially given the core of Manchester’s squad are Gibraltarian and British players, which naturally would suggest a manager of a similar profile would potentially be a good combination. The 45-year-old has just over two weeks to prepare his squad for their next game against Lynx, with the international break giving the team time to adapt to their new boss.

FG caught up with Wilson to get his thoughts on his new job: “I’m absolutely buzzing, this is one of Gibraltar’s biggest and most historic clubs. I’ve long admired the depth of this football family, its youth system, and now I’m in a position to effect the clubs future, I can’t wait to start.”

The aforementioned strong local core was also one of the key selling points for the Scottish manager when deciding to take this role: “That’s what delighted me and made the decision easy. The local nucleus means I don’t have to spend my early months finding the talent as the club is abundant with great young players, and if their ambition and enthusiasm matches my excitement at having the chance to coach them, we will all be winners.”

Manchester 62’s remaining five games are against Lynx, Mons Calpe, Europa Point, Wilson’s former employers Brunos Magpies, and league leaders and current champions Lincoln Red Imps – the side are four points off the top six but have two games in hand on Mons Calpe, which makes the match vs Mons on the 30th November especially important in the race for the top six.

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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 7 results

  • College 1975 0-4 Boca Juniors (Cortes x3, Chico Rubio)
  • Glacis United 2-3 Manchester 62 (Terranova x2; Clenahan, Perez, Montovio)
  • Lions Gibraltar 0-4 St Joseph’s (Juanfri x3, Boro)
  • Mons Calpe 0-2 Lincoln Red Imps (Colubali x2)
  • Europa Point 2-3 Magpies (Bent OG, Ahmedov; Moulds OG, Ford, Assumpcao)

  • GOALKEEPER: John Paul Hernandez (Lions)
  • DEFENDER: Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln)
  • DEFENDER: Matthew Clenahan (Man 62)
  • MIDFIELDER: Michael Negrette (Man 62)
  • MIDFIELDER: Pietro Terranova (Glacis)
  • MIDFIELDER: Chico Rubio (Boca)
  • MIDFIELDER: Mattheus Assumpcao (Magpies)
  • STRIKER: Juanfri (St Joseph’s)
  • STRIKER: German Cortes (Boca)
  • STRIKER: Idelino Gomes Colubali (Lincoln)
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Hernandez: “I believe that the team has progressed”

We caught up with Lions & Gibraltar U19 international goalkeeper John Paul Hernandez to get his thoughts on his side’s defeat to St Joseph’s last weekend, the friendly tournament in China with the U19’s and more.

Hernandez reflected on his side’s 4-0 defeat to St Joseph’s last weekend “Although we might not have created as many opportunities as we would have wanted to, I believe that the team worked hard throughout the game and gave a good shift defensively. I believe that the team has progressed since the beginning of the season and is showing great potential for this coming season. Despite the result, it was a good game.”

We asked Hernandez to rate Albert Ferri who is into his second year as Lions head coach, “Our current head coach has always believed in us and supports us 100%. He is very passionate about his role and always acts in a professional manner. His belief in the youth and homegrown players has given us the confidence and trust needed to perform at this high level.”

Late in September, the Gibraltar U19’s travelled to Chinese Taipei for a friendly tournament – we asked him how he felt the tournament was, “The tournament in Taiwan was a great experience. We played 3 matches against tough opponents. We won the first game against Hong Kong and lost the other two by just one goal. I think the results were good considering the size of Gibraltar compared to the rest. The Gibraltar national team performed at a high standard whilst being very competitive in all games. It was a great learning curve for the squad and there was great team spirit throughout the tournament. This was a great opportunity for me to grow as a goalkeeper. I felt extremely proud of representing my country once again.”

After making his first start of the season last weekend – we asked John Paul about his goals for the season – “As always my goals this season are to improve my abilities and to perform at the highest standard possible. I look forward to continuing to form part of the National Team and hope to become a valuable asset to my club Lions Gibraltar FC.”

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Ribas facing goalkeeping headache ahead of Internationals

Julio Ribas looks set to have a goalkeeping headache as he prepares Gibraltar for their November internationals against Denmark and Switzerland.

Lincoln Red Imps goalkeeper Kyle Goldwin is favourite to keep the number one jersey for the November internationals with Dayle Coleing still injured and Matt Cafer out of form.

Coleing re-injured himself in the away defeat to Kosovo a few weeks back but even though scans came back positive, it still looks very unlikely that he will come back in time to reclaim his starting spot.

Gibraltar’s third-choice keeper Matt Cafer was dropped from National Team training today and with his off-field antics yet to be resolved, his days in the squad are seemingly numbered.

Jamie Robba must be wondering every week how he isn’t in the squad; arguably Gibraltar’s most inform keeper continues to miss out despite his team sitting top of the Gibraltar National League.

Lynx’s Bradley Banda was Cafer’s replacement in training today (and Coleing’s replacement for the Georgia game) and we wouldn’t bet against him taking his position in the 23-man squad in the near future.

With the U21’s having three international fixtures, around the same time as the Gibraltar senior team, Julio Ribas definitely has his work cut out for him ahead of the qualifiers.

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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 6 results:

  • FC Boca Juniors 1-1 Europa Point (Cortes; Balev)
  • Brunos Magpies 1-3 Mons Calpe (Assumpcao; El Hmidi, Breakspear OG, Dos Santos)
  • St Joseph’s 8-1 Glacis United (Boro x4, Juanfri x4; Gallo)
  • Manchester 62 0-7 Europa (Carrascal x2, Sanchez, Dimas, Bautista, Labra, Walker)
  • Lincoln 4-0 Lynx (Kike x2, Britto, Gato)
  • GOALKEEPER: Leandro Evangelisti (Mons Calpe)
  • DEFENDER: Andrew Hernandez (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Guillermo Perez Sanchez (Boca)
  • DEFENDER: Antony Moulds (Europa Point)
  • DEFENDER: Ethan Britto (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Liam Walker (Europa)
  • MIDFIELDER: Borja Gil (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Ayoub El Hmidi (Mons Calpe)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juampe (Europa)
  • STRIKER: Boro (St Joseph’s – Star Player of the Week)
  • STRIKER: Juanfri (St Joseph’s)