Bosio: “The Gibraltar girls put on two gutsy performances”

FG caught up with Jamie Bosio on a number of topics, including the Gibraltar women’s futsal team’s recent trip to Northern Ireland, his futsal club side Bavaria and how it feels to also be back in 11-a-side action after over a year injured, for Lincoln’s Intermediate side.

Photo (C) Rough & Ready

Bosio spent more than a year out injured but made his return with Lincoln’s Intermediate side in the latter stages of 2019 – how does it feel to be playing again? “It feels good and it has been a long road with many physical and mental challenges but I feel much stronger as a result of it.”

The midfielder, who has been capped multiple times by the national team, would understandably be a player of interest for a number of sides in January, but for now he is happy where he is: “At the moment I have no immediate playing plans but to continue with this young and talented Lincoln U23 side. Also, I’d like to focus on my future in Futsal, not just coaching but also playing in the next few years.”

Bavaria, who Bosio is involved with at a domestic futsal level, sit 7th in the league at the moment, just outside the top six spots – how does the 28-year-old view his sides season thus far? “At the moment I feel that at Bavaria we’ve had a solid start to the league season. We have one game left in the first round and our objective this season was to try to finish in the Top 6 after the league split.

This is still achievable with one game left. We’ve had a tough run of games but the performances have shown us that there is a lot of potential in our all local squad.”

A recent career development for Bosio, who outside of sport is also a teacher, is to move into coaching – most recently the Women’s Futsal National Team who are currently coached by Gayle Langtry – how has the transition from playing to coaching gone? “Being a teacher, the transition to coaching has been relatively easy as many of the traits I also find in my work life. It’s just the additional pressure of developing your knowledge in the sport, which I have been doing for the last 4 and a half years.”

The Women’s Futsal National Team continued their development over the weekend when they traveled to Northern Ireland for a double-header against their hosts – how does Bosio feel the team did? “The Gibraltar girls put on two gutsy performances against a much older and experienced opponent. Our team is relatively new to the sport of Futsal so to play the way we did, particularly in the second game, shows a lot of promise for the future.

We have some young and exciting players like Shani Robba, Reighann Olivero and Tiffany Viagas who at such a young age will only benefit from these kinds of experiences. The future is bright in Futsal!”


Omar El Yettefti to trial with West Ham

Europa Point midfielder Omar El Yettefti has been invited for a week’s trial with Premier League side West Ham United.

Omar will link up with the West Ham U18‘s for one week and will travel to the UK in two weeks after receiving parental permission from his father Abdul, a referee in Gibraltar.

The 17-year old was on the books of the Lincoln Red Imps youth system, before making the switch to Manchester 62 midway through last season – he then joined Europa Point in the summer.

The Gibraltar youth international has been one of the standout performers this season for Europa Point and will be hoping to continue his development.

Speaking to FG, Europa Point head coach Ian Hendon had this to say about Omar – “Since I arrived as the manager of Europa Point FC, Omar has been outstanding in his attitude and desire to learn. I have been so impressed with how he has developed that I contacted several clubs to see if they would invite him on trial. West Ham Utd was the 1st club to say yes and this will provide the lad an amazing opportunity to see how a Premier League Club works. I wish him all the best. Omar is a type of player Europa Point FC wants to help develop.”

Andrew Pritchard, who works for Europa Point said – “I have been involved in developing footballers for over 17 years and Europa Point FC is a club I wanted to help. Since July, the team and I have worked hard to develop players. It is exciting and rewarding to see one of our local players being invited on trial to a Premier League Club such as West Ham Utd. My aim to continue to work hard and give more players from Gibraltar the chance to progress their footballing career.”


Long-term injury for Joseph Chipolina

Lincoln Red Imps and Gibraltar defender Joseph Chipolina could be out for up to a year with a long-term injury.

The injury dates back to Lincoln’s win over Manchester 62 in December 2019 which saw Joseph Chipolina subbed off at half-time. The 32-year old has ruptured his ACL with the projected timeframe on his return is believed to be given 9-12 months, depending on the operation.

The injury will be worrying for club and country; Joseph has been a pivotal figure every time he has walked out onto the pitch and will be a huge miss especially at this part of the season.

With a squad not blessed with many more experienced Gibraltarians, compared to previous seasons, new manager German Crespo will need to look towards his younger players such as Julian Del Rio, Craig Galliano and Ethan Thorne-Llambias to fill the void.


Lions pair win FG monthly awards in December

After being successful in their pursuit to be the sixth and final team to make the Championship Group, Lions duo Albert Ferri and Alberto Caravaca are FG’s Manager of the Month and Player of the Month for December 2019.

Photo © C Correa Photography

FG Player of the Month – Alberto Caravaca (Lions)

Lions two main striker, Alberto Caravaca and Luisma, were key figures in getting their side across the line in to sixth place in the final weeks of the season – and with five goals in three matches, Caravaca is the one who edges out his team-mate for player of the month in December. The attacker, who also plays futsal for South United, scored in all three matches he played, and his braces against Glacis (3-1 win), and Boca (6-4 win) were vital in getting Lions above Mons Calpe come the league split.

The duo may find goals a little harder to come by in the Championship Group, although with both of them scoring in the 5-2 loss to Europa, they will still fancy their chances of adding to their goal tallies of eight and six respectively. In third this month is Domingo Ferrer, who scored in both of St Joseph’s matches in the month – a player who arguably goes under the radar given the goalscoring exploits of Juanfri and Boro, but an important part of Saints side nonetheless.

  1. Alberto Caravaca Castro (Lions)
  2. Luis Manuel ‘Luisma’ Casas Dominguez (Lions)
  3. Domingo Jesus Ferrer Lopez (St Joseph’s)

FG Manager of the Month – Albert Ferri (Lions)

Last month, we mentioned the job Ferri was doing at Lions and hinted that if he could get his side into the top six, which at the start of the season seemed unlikely, that he would be a contender for this award in December – and he managed just that, beating Glacis 3-1 and Boca 6-4 to take the last spot over Mons Calpe. Even in defeat against Europa they showed some of their battling qualities, taking a 2-0 lead against the current league leaders, and giving them a scare before eventually falling to a 5-2 defeat where the difference in fitness levels told clearly.

Ferri, and Lions in general, will be under no illusions at to the size of the task in hand in the second half of the year, but in getting to the top six, they have guaranteed their growing number of promising young players more games against the best sides in Gibraltar, which can only serve to benefit their long-term development as footballers. The Gibtelecom Rock Cup could be a potential avenue for a good run in the second half of the season, draw permitting of course.

  1. Albert Ferri (Lions)
  2. Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)
  3. Rafael Escobar (Europa)

Managerial changes for Lincoln & Magpies

The festive period has brought us more managerial changes with Lincoln & Brunos Magpies announcing their new appointments ahead of the league restarting in less than two weeks.

After defeat to St Joseph’s in mid-December, Lincoln brought an end to Victor Afonso’s time in charge of the club with U23 coach Malcolm Martin leading the team out in their final game of 2019 against Manchester 62.

From a rumoured 4 man wishlist, it would be Germán Crespo Sánchez who would get the nod to take Lincoln forward into 2020. The 44-year old led Real Jaen to 101 points last season, winning the regional league, but missed out on promotion when they lost 3-0 Algeciras CF, who would later go on and win promotion to Segunda División B.

The other managerial change is one which caught us by surprise, which was the departure of Alfonso Cortijo as Magpies head coach after just over two months in charge. In the 5 games Cortijo took charge, Magpies won 3 and secured a spot in the Championship Group.

Spanish media outlet Europa Sur announced that Magpies had signed defender Javi Gallardo from Algeciras and also Juan Mari Sanchez, the ex-Gibraltar Phoenix & FC Boca Juniors manager.

Magpies unveiled their new manager this afternoon, while saying that Juan Mari will be joined by his coaching team of Jose Ortega and Adrian Conde. The trio will be working alongside existing coach Garry Turner-Bone and goalkeeper coach Benjamin Parody.


Gibraltar National League review

With the first round of fixtures complete and the league split into two groups – here’s our team by team review of how each has performed so far this season.

  • Europa FC (Position: 1st – Championship Group)

Full of confidence from their Pepe Reyes Cup victory, Europa started their league campaign with an emphatic 4-1 win over rivals Lincoln – who they had beaten for the Pepe Reyes Cup, just five days prior.

Apart from their fortunate draw against St Joseph’s, and a couple of minor wobbles against Glacis & Lions, the Greens have rarely looked troubled this season and would arguably be favorites to win the league this season.

  • St Joseph’s (Position: 2nd – Championship Group)

Seen by many as the “team to beat” this season – Saints have really pushed on from their success in the Europa League and become very strong title contenders.

Juanfri & Boro have picked up from where they left off last season with 27 goals so far between them and will be hoping to carry it on into the Championship Group.

  • Lincoln Red Imps (Position: 3rd – Championship Group)

An injury-plagued first few months has left the current league champions in third, four points off leaders Europa and two behind St Joseph’s – both teams which the Imps have recorded losses against this season.

With a replacement of manager on the horizon and the January transfer window opening in a few weeks – the Imps will be looking to spend big and try to turn their current deficit around.

  • Lynx FC (Position 4th – Championship Group)

Unbeaten in their opening five games, Lynx has turned a lot of heads this season by what may be seen as overperforming this season (considering when you look at how much clubs around them are spending).

The Croatian trio of Bukvic, Kokorovic, and Marcius gave Albert Parody the foundation to build a team that he has cleverly done. With his star man Marcius gone, Albert would need to find an ideal replacement quickly, while also find a full-back, which we have singled out as a weak point in his team.

  • FCB Magpies (Position: 5th – Championship Group)

There was a lot of promise surrounding Magpies at the beginning of the season. Last season’s Second Division champions had already been planning for the National League from early this year and looked to be putting a strong squad together.

Any promise was quickly dashed when Magpies were hammered 6-0 by Europa which then followed two straight defeats and the sacking of head coach David Wilson in-between.

The replacement with the experienced Alfonso Cortijo was a great choice and will now see how he fares in January when he is able to clear the deadwood from his squad and bring in his own style of players.

  • Lions Gibraltar (Position: 6th – Championship Group)

After a slow start, Lions managed to pick the pace at the end of October and since then, recorded 4 wins from 5 games to secure a spot in the Championship Group on the final round.

As expected, it will be difficult for Lions to compete against the top three but will be using this opportunity as a time to give valuable experience to Ferri’s younger players – while this is also a great chance to entice sponsors and help the club gain some revenue in the process.

  • Mons Calpe (Position 7th – Challenge Group)

This season has definitely been one to forget for Mons Calpe, compared to others. After competing at the top. the team found themselves scrapping against Lions which they would end up missing out on.

With their financial problems rising up once again, questions have been raised about whether Mons will even put out a team for the second half of the season.

  • Manchester 62 (Position: 8th – Challenge Group)

It looks like a choice between Mons or Man62 for the winner of the inaugural Challenge Group trophy. After Jeff Wood and Juanfran Fernandez Perez, the club appointed David Wilson as their new head coach – one which we feel is the right choice to take this young squad forward.

Wilson would already have an eye on a number of players he’d like to bring in, but one player which he may have trouble trying to hold down is Gibraltar U21 international Kian Ronan who has been excellent so far – we will be surprised if his competitive nature will see him wanting to play in the bottom group.

  • FC Boca Juniors (Position: 9th – Challenge Group)

After pulling together a squad at the expense of Gibraltar United – things looked quite promising for Boca with the squad which they were putting out in pre-season.

But, the lack of team gelling was clear to see, and the wrong choice of manager to go with it – Boca found themselves dropping lower and lower down the table – when you throw in a lack of funding by the final month or two of the season, it’s a good thing they didn’t move up group.

  • Europa Point (Position: 10th – Challenge Group)

The heights which Europa Point once found themselves seem like an eternity away. Now, they find themselves struggling at the bottom of leagues while scratching at results.

Credit to them though, they have found a number of good players, such as goalkeeper Conor O’Keefe, who has been their standout performer while also giving some valuable game time to experienced striker Jeremy Lopez, and 17-year old Omar El Yettefti; we sure clubs will be keeping an eye out on the teenager in the next few years.

  • Glacis United (Position 11th – Challenge Group)

From the glory days of Glacis in the past, the club has been hit with a prime example of how money has changed football. From winning trophies, Glacis now find themselves fighting in the bottom half for most seasons with very little hope of ever returning to what they used to be.

The club has been a stepping stone for players such as Michael Ruiz to get regular action in the top flight, while using the experience of Jonny Di Toro and Michele Di Piedi to pass on their knowledge to their young squad.

  • College 1975 (Position 12th – Challenge Group)

Unfortunately, College has turned out to be the league’s whipping boys with a goal difference of minus 62 and recording heavy defeats on six occasions.

It is quite bizarre when you see 18-year old Zayne Da Costa rarely featuring in the National League, yet he is top goalscorer of the Intermediate League with 10 goals – maybe we will something different from College in 2020.


More financial unrest for Mons Calpe

There is unrest in the Mons Calpe squad as players are speaking out on unpaid wages – a repeat of last season.

Near the end of last season, Mons Calpe players staged a sit-down protest over unpaid wages and once again, the club has continued to do so. Players are said to be owed for more than two months.

It is alleged that players from the squad were threatening to fail to turn up for the last two games but due to a rule in their contract which prevented them from doing so, they agreed not to turn up for training.

Their 7-0 defeat to Europa yesterday meant Lions qualified for a top 6 spot meaning Mons Calpe will be in the Challenge Group with Manchester 62, FC Boca Juniors, Europa Point, Glacis United and College 1975.

There are already questions being raised on whether the club will continue to run or pull out of the league completely.

Mons Calpe has confirmed to FG that they will be making an announcement soon.


Rafael Escobar signs new three-year Europa contract

Rafael Escobar has committed his future to Europa FC by signing a new three-year deal with the club.

Following the sacking of Jordi Roger at Real Balompedica Linense last weekend, Spanish media were reporting of a possible return for Escobar to La Balona.

The 50-year old managed Balona from 2010 to 2016, most famously when he led his side to out to face Athletico Bilbao in the 2015-16 Copa Del Rey.

The current league leaders moved swiftly to tie their head coach down to a long-term deal and continue to focus on the league split while looking to successfully defend their Gibtelecom Rock Cup next year.


Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 12 results:

  • St Joseph’s 2-1 Lincoln Red Imps (Juanfri, Domingo; Pibe)
  • Manchester 62 0-2 Brunos Magpies (Perez, Ford)
  • College 1975 1-9 Mons Calpe (Urenda; Carboni x3, Carella x2, Robba x2, Vinet, Morgan)
  • Europa 2-0 Lynx (Labra, Juampe)
  • Glacis United 1-3 Lions Gibraltar (Terranova; Caravaca x2, Cintas)

  • GOALKEEPER: Jamie Robba (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: David Bautista Martos (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Thomas Hastings (Lions)
  • DEFENDER: Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Alain Pons (St Joseph’s)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
  • MIDFIELDER: Brian Perez (Magpies)
  • MIDFIELDER: Kevagn Robba (Mons)
  • STRIKER: Oliver Ford (Magpies)
  • STRIKER: Leonardo Carboni (Mons)
  • STRIKER: Alberto Caravaca (Lions)

Robba: “we have I think the best squad in the league”

We caught up with goalkeeper Jamie Robba to get his reaction on St Joseph’s win over Lincoln Red Imps yesterday, the Gibraltar national team and more.

Second-half goals from Juanfri & Domingo Ferrer Lopez secured Saints a 2-1 win over Lincoln – we asked Robba how he felt the team played, “The team performed exceptionally well, every individual did his part and that gave us the win.”

We asked Robba how confident he feels heading into the league split after the result, “Well against Europa although we played well and dropped two points in the last 5 minutes, we were left with a bitter taste. We know that we have a very good squad but in football, it doesn’t count for anything if you don’t get results. The win against Lincoln confirmed our belief and showed everyone else, that this season, we are here to compete for the title.”

Jamie Robba hasn’t featured for the Gibraltar senior team since 2016 and despite holding the most clean-sheets for any Gibraltarian goalkeeper last season, he is yet to turn the head of head coach Julio Ribas, much to be bemusement of others.

With Matt Cafer & Chino not in the greatest of forms for their clubs, people are starting to wonder if this is Jamie’s time to get that deserved call-up which has eluded him for so long. We asked him if he would welcome a return to the squad, “What Llanito wouldn’t want to be in the national squad?”

St Joseph’s will now go into the league split in the top two – we asked Robba if he feels this current Saints squad is the best he has been involved in and has enough to win the league, “100%. We have, I think, the best squad in the league and by far the best team atmosphere that I’ve ever been around.”