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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)
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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.”

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Ivan Robba set to become new GFA General Secretary

Ivan Robba is set to take up the role of General Secretary for the Gibraltar Football Association, as one of a number of proposed changes by GFA President Michael Llamas QC.

Photo (C) Gibraltar Football Association

After an independent audit was undertaken on the GFA by Nicolaus Marshall, which concluded earlier last month, the current GFA President has proposed a restructure at the head of the administration of the GFA. The main part of that sees Robba take the role of General Secretary, while maintaining his role as Legal Director. Current General Secretary Dennis Beiso will assume a new role as Director of Strategy and International & Public Relations. Meanwhile, it is expected that current Vice President Ian Torrilla will now take on the role of Director of Operations, responsible, in particular, for managing the day-to-day operational affairs of the GFA.

There are a number of further changes as a result of the restructuring, including, but not limited to:

  • Charles Robba has decided that he will step down from his role as Finance Director of the GFA – who will now be recruiting for a new Finance Director. This is expected to take place by March 2020 at the latest.
  • The GFA will be looking to find new premises, and moving out of their current Irish Town premises. As part of the restructure, the move has been urged to be as cost neutral as possible, and is expected to be completed by next year.
  • During the trial period of this restructure (February to June 2020), key GFA members have been asked to identify internal cost savings that can be made as a result of the restructure. This may come from terminating the outsourcing of some work and from a review of the salary structure at the GFA.

An assessment of the restructure will take place in June 2020 by Mr Marshall, who does not work with UEFA or FIFA, but has had past experience conducting similar audits on other European FA’s. The initial audit confirmed that the GFA was held in high regard by UEFA, but it also highlighted shortcomings with the day to day running of the GFA.

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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 11 results

  • Glacis United 0-2 FC Boca Juniors (Belmonte, Chico Rubio)
  • Lions Gibraltar 2-5 Europa (Luisma, Caravaca; Yome, Dimas, Juampe x2, Quillo)
  • Lynx 4-0 College 1975 (Badr, Morente, Power, Parody)
  • Europa Point 1-3 Manchester 62 (Ahmedov; Ronan, Montovio S. De Los Santos)
  • Brunos Magpies 0-3 St Joseph’s (Ferrer x2, Boro)

  • GOALKEEPER: John Paul Hernandez (Lions)
  • DEFENDER: Jack Willbye (Manchester 62)
  • DEFENDER: Brad Power (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Fede Villar (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Francisco Belmonte Rodriguez (Boca)
  • MIDFIELDER: Mikey Yome (Europa)
  • MIDFIELDER: Jose ‘Chico Rubio’ Quiros (Boca)
  • MIDFIELDER: Mohamed Badr (Lynx)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
  • STRIKER: Robert Montovio (Manchester 62)
  • STRIKER: Salvador ‘Boro’ Delgado (St Joseph’s)
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Walker and Escobar win FG awards in November

After a month where they notched up 24 goals in 3 games, Europa duo Liam Walker and Rafael Escobar Obrero are FG’s Player of the Month and Manager of the Month for November.

Photo © C Correa Photography

FG Player of the Month – Liam Walker (Europa)

There were a number of stand-out performers this month, but Walker gets his nose in front of both Juanfri and Kike to this month’s award, having scored 7 and assisted a further 6 assists in that time. While in truth Europa had three games they were expected to win, they still had to see through these games, and as Glacis proved at times, there was the potential for Europa to slip up as they have done in previous non-title winning season’s. Walker’s contributions last month though ensured they took 9 points from a possible 9 – if he can keep that form up going forward, Europa have a real chance of winning the title.

  1. Liam Walker (Europa)
  2. Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Pena (St Joseph’s)
  3. Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln Red Imps)

FG Manager of the Month – Rafael Escobar Obrero (Europa)

In truth, it was a toss up between Escobar and Lincoln manager Victor Afonso for this award, with both winning three out of three games, and while some may disagree with the decision, we went for Escobar for the award this month having ensured Europa stay on the right track – should they win their game in hand they would be top of the league. Both Escobar and Afonso are ensuring their respective sides are not allowing any slip-ups against so-called weaker opponents, keeping up a level of performance that has made them two of the main title contenders for the last few season. In third, we opted for Lions manager Albert Ferri – while the quirks of the fixture list meant they only played once last month, he has dragged his Lions side up into contention for a top 6 spot in recent weeks, which is a good effort considering the lack of investment in the side, and recent season’s with more modest league finishes. If he gets Lions into the top 6, then there’s every chance Ferri may win this award next month.

  1. Rafael Escobar Obrero (Europa)
  2. Victor Afonso (Lincoln Red Imps)
  3. Albert Ferri (Lions Gibraltar)
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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 10 results

  • FC Boca Juniors 1-8 Lincoln Red Imps (Kike x3, Gato x2, Lee Casciaro, Blas Alvarez, Borja Gil)
  • St Joseph’s 5-0 Europa Point (Juanfri x2, Rojas, Domingo, Pedrito)
  • Manchester 62 1-4 Mons Calpe (Ruh; Salas, Carella x2, Vinet)
  • College 1975 1-6 Lions Gibraltar (Hughes; Pomares x2, Luisma, Caravaca, Pecino, Matto OG)
  • Europa 6-2 Glacis United (Juampe x3, Walker x2, Labra; Terranova x2)

  • GOALKEEPER: Jamie Robba (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Ethan Jolley (Europa)
  • DEFENDER: Thomas Hastings (Lions)
  • DEFENDER: Andres Salas (Mons Calpe)
  • MIDFIELDER: Antonio ‘Gato’ Ramon Rincon (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Ayoub El Hmidi (Mons Calpe)
  • MIDFIELDER: Domingo Ferrer Lopez (St Joseph’s)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
  • STRIKER: Abraham Pomares Fernandez (Lions)
  • STRIKER: Juanfri Pena Garcia (St Joseph’s)
  • STRIKER: Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln)
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How yellow and red cards could decide final Championship Group team

Disciplinary record, or a one-off match, could decide who finishes in sixth place and takes the final Championship Group spot, if Mons Calpe and Lions both end up on 15 points at the end of the first round.

Photo © Rough & Ready

Going by the official league rules (see image below), if teams can’t be separated by points, head-to-head or head-to-head goal difference, then Fair Play rules are applied to separate teams in the league. With Mons Calpe drawing 1-1 against Lions back in September, the first three rules would not be possible to separate them if the two sides were to finish on level points. This would require Mons Calpe drawing against Europa in their final game, and Lions taking six points from their final three matches (vs Europa, Glacis & Boca). Crucially, goal difference does not get taken into account, a rule which came into place for this season after teams benefited from putting double-digit scores past depleted and noncompetitive sides at the end of the season.

The official Gibraltar National League rules from the GFA site, explaining the tie-breakers if teams finish on level points.

The two sides are believed to have similar disciplinary records, with both sides recording 28 yellow cards so far (albeit Lions have played two games fewer than Mons), while Mons have had 1 more red card than Lions. However, they would hold the advantage in that they have less games left to pick up cards than their top six rivals, who would have to be on their best behaviour in the last three games should this outcome occur. Of course, should Mons beat Europa, then this situation would not crop up as Lions would require 8 points from 3 games to finish level with them, which is impossible in the 3 points for a win setup.

Should Glacis beat Lions, they also have a chance of finishing top 6, however their head to head is worse against Mons, having lost 5-0 to them earlier this season, so this scenario could not occur – they would need Mons to lose to Europa, and Glacis to beat Lions, Boca and Lynx in their final three games to qualify.

Should Mons and Lions tie in fair play ruling, a one-off match would have to be fit into calendar, likely with extra time and/or penalties required if necessary to decide who takes the last spot – which would be a thrilling finale to the first half of the season.

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Lincoln’s Intermediate side maintain unbeaten record

Lincoln Intermediate maintained their 100% record in the Intermediate League this season when they beat Glacis Intermediate 4-0 on Sunday, with the return to action of Jamie Bosio and Pibe an added bonus for both Malcolm Martin’s side, as well as Lincoln’s first team in the second half of the season.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Lincoln, who won the Intermediate League and have actually yet to lose a league game since the division was created, beat a Glacis side who before the game had only lost one of their eight fixtures, with a lot of the younger players in the Glacis team featuring for both the main and U23 sides.

As well as the side having been a springboard for some of their younger talent, such as Julian Del Rio and Craig Galliano, to make appearances in the first team this season, the U23 side have also acted as a first playing step in the return to first team football of both Jamie Bosio and Pibe. Bosio, who missed 14 months of football after suffering an injury for Gib United last season, joined Lincoln’s Intermediate side both as a way to get back into the game, after Gib United went bust in the summer, but also to help Lincoln’s youngsters both on and off the pitch using his experience, having played for the national team 12 times. The midfielder returned as a sub last week and was afforded a standing ovation against Manchester 62’s Intermediate side upon his return, while he also played 30 minutes vs Glacis Intermediate yesterday.

Meanwhile, for Pibe, who joined Lincoln from Mons Calpe in the summer, the striker will be looking to get back into regular first team action soon, helping to spearhead an impressive attack on paper for Lincoln – although he will have stiff competition to earn his place up top for Victor Afonso’s side, with the likes of Kike and Idelino Colubali getting in on the goals this season already.

For Malcolm Martin, the aim will be to continue developing the next generation of Lincoln youngsters with the aim of getting them as regular first team players, especially when you consider the likes of Roy Chipolina, Lee Casciaro and Kyle Goldwin are all 34 or older – he’ll also be hoping to catch the eye as a manager too, with there being a belief especially within Lincoln circles that he could make the step up to coach one of the youth national sides in the not too distant future.

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Gibraltar National League: Team of the Week

Matchday 9 results

  • Europa 6-1 Boca Juniors (Walker x2, Yome x2, Juampe, Labra; Formica-Corsi)
  • Glacis United 4-0 College 1975 (Brinkman, Lopez, Londero, Guerrero OG)
  • Lynx 5-0 Manchester 62 (Kokorovic, Gonzalez, Badr, Seatory x2)
  • Mons Calpe 0-6 St Joseph’s (Juanfri x4, Garro, Rojas)
  • Magpies 0-3 Lincoln Red Imps (Coombes, Hernandez, Colubali)

  • GOALKEEPER: Ivan Moreno (Glacis)
  • DEFENDER: Jack Sergeant (Europa)
  • DEFENDER: Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s)
  • DEFENDER: Hrvoje Bukvic (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln)
  • DEFENDER: Miguel Londero (Glacis)
  • MIDFIELDER: Antonio ‘Gato’ Ramon Rincon (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Antonio Gonzalez Garcia (Lynx)
  • MIDFIELDER: Julian Brinkman (Glacis)
  • MIDFIELDER: Mikey Yome (Europa)
  • STRIKER: Juanfri Pena Garcia (St Joseph’s)
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Belarus beat valiant Gibraltar

Goals in either half secured Belarus a 2-0 win over a Gibraltar side which put in a positive display.

David Ochello brought Ethan Santos, Andrew Hernandez & Jayce Olivero straight into the squad, replacing Stefan Ramirez, James Parkinson & Evan De Haro while Leon Clinton led the line and Ayoub El Hmidi dropped to the bench.

Belarus nearly opened the scoring in the opening 50 seconds but Ilya Ahkurin shot just wide from inside the box. Jaylan Hankins would be called into action a few minutes later, making two great saves to keep the score at 0-0.

Belarus were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute for a handball which was scored by Pavel Sedko. Jaylan Hankins would make an excellent low save to deny the visitors a second goal then Jayce Olivero would see his shot blocked on the other end.

The Belgian referee blew for half-time with Belarus leading Gibraltar 1-0.

Shkurin squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 on the 53rd minute as the Belarus striker headed the ball wide from Shevchenko’s cross. Ochello would make his first substitution a few minutes later with Shaun De Los Santos replacing Leon Clinton.

After missing a number of chances, Shkurin would make no mistake in the 58th minute as he easily beat his marker in the air and headed the ball past Hankins to make it 2-0.

With about 20 minutes remaining, Ochello made his second substitution with Ayoub El Hmidi replacing Dylan Peacock. Bram Van Driessche did enjoy the sound of his whistle but the lenient eventually showed his first yellow card to Gibraltar defender Jamie Serra.

Ochello made his final two substitutions in the 89th minute with Michael Ruiz & Stefan Ramirez replacing Jack Breed & Jamie Serra.

There were no further goals in the three minutes added time and Belarus walked away with a 2-0 win.