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Camilleri: ” We shall carry on believing in our structure of developing players”

FG caught up with Manchester 62 President John Charles Camilleri to discuss his clubs season, the fact they gave more minutes to Gibraltarian’s than any other club last season, and his hopes for the club next season.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

Manchester finished the terminated season in 9th position, ending up with 19 points from 18 games – how does Camilleri feel the side did overall? “We started the season with hopes of having a team that the current club’s philosophy could follow and relate to. I believe the early changes in Head Coach was not seen helpful to the squad but the addition of David Wilson gave the team stability and structure for the remainder of the season.

Our players have tried their best every single game, they had their good days and bad days as we all have. Overall, the club is proud of what we achieved last season in regards to our HGP and it’s something we would like to follow on this season but football has many twists and turns.

As mentioned, Manchester gave by far the most minutes to Home Grown Players (HGP’s) this season – amassing a total of 11,853 minutes, some 3,740 minutes more than their nearest challengers in the HGP table, Glacis United – that commitment to locals is something the Manchester President is very proud of clearly: “Well we are extremely proud of these players, to have them put their trust in our structure and philosophy is the most rewarding factor. They deserve all the merit on the tough season we had. We as a club provide all the tools possible for them to perform at the highest level, we are extremely proud of the team bonding they have built during the course of the season (our football family).

This club being a very keen supporter and developer of local youth football our aim is to feed our players through on a yearly basis. What’s the point of the club youth coaches (volunteers) pouring hundreds of hours yearly in youth football and then not providing a platform for them to play when they reach the age of 17-23!

As with all clubs, Manchester have had to adapt to the current global situation, which led to the early termination of the 2019/20 Gibraltar National League – so how have Manchester adapted? “Well the sudden stop in football has meant that from our under 5’s through to our Seniors they have been missing out on their weekly get togethers. For us (club) the ‘family’ had been separated and not seeing them on a weekly basis was very hard, it’s not all about money or personal gains… it has been more about missing seeing each other, fighting together to overcome dificult games together and being pushed to your maximum during training which has been most hard to overcome. We had players logging on to online sessions and trying to achieve all of the above via social media stream together. (Both in Seniors and Youth)

Finally, we asked Camilleri what his hopes for Manchester 62 were next season: “My hopes for the team next year are the same as my hopes for Manchester 62 Fc and Gibraltar Football in general. We will continue to try and play a style of football which is attractive and aggressive to the best of our possibilities. We shall carry on believing in our structure of developing players for the future for our club and our national teams.

For myself as club president the top priority for Manchester 62 Fc are the following.

Be Sustainable
• Be Competitive
• Develop as much youth players as possible
• Build a even bigger ‘Football Family’
• Keep improving our Youth Academy.

The last thing we want to do is disappear like others clubs have due to financial meltdowns. It is the currents Club committees main aim to keep the 58 years of this clubs history in local football as strong as always, So our aim is sustainability sustainability and sustainability.

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Toncheff double earns Manchester 62 a point

Manchester 62 come from behind twice to rescue a point courtesy of a brace from Cristian Toncheff.

The first half got underway with Lynx on the attack and earning themselves a corner. The resulting corner was cleared as far as Agustin Doxagarat who curled his effort just wide. Minutes later Lynx took a shock lead, debutant Hafed Droubi misjudged an Ethan Jolley cross and striker Juan Pablo Sastrie was on hand at the back post to head the ball into an empty net. 

Lynx continued to dominate with the Manchester 62 defenders struggling to keep a hold of Juan Sastrie. Lynx had a great chance midway through the half, Sastrie outpaced Carl Hoefkens and cut the ball back for Carlos Sanchez to smash wide. A mistake from Jack Sergeant nearly gifted Lynx a second goal, Agustin Doxagarat excellently played in Carlos Sanchez through on goal but the midfielder dragged his shot wide.

Despite Lynx dominating Manchester got themselves an equaliser, a free-kick was awarded just outside the Lynx penalty box, Cristian Toncheff stepped up and curled his effort around the wall and past a helpless Christian Fraiz.

Lynx nearly replied instantly, striker Juan Sastrie was played through on goal and slotted his shot past Hafed Droubi but linesman Gareth Latin lifted up his flag and the goal was disallowed. The players and fans weren’t convinced with the decision. Minutes later Lynx got themselves in front, Hafed Droubi cleared a cross as far as Carlos Sanchez who struck a sweetly timed volley into an empty net. 

Just before half-time Manchester 62 were awarded a penalty for a handball, Christian Fraiz saved John Paul Duarte’s penalty but the rebound fell to Cristian Toncheff who smashed his shot in from close range making it 2-2. Lynx restarted the game and referee Glen Gilbert blew for halftime.

During the halftime break it was brought to our attention, upon video evidence, that Cristian Toncheff was inside the box before JP Duarte had struck his penalty. The fans had noticed Toncheff’s early run but this was missed by referee and linesman. 

The second half started with both teams dominating possession but neither able to create any clear cut chances. Daniel Duarte was brought on for Aaron Payas to try and change the flow of the game but it was Lynx who had the first chance, Aaron Akrapovic’s long range shot was comfortably saved by Hafed Droubi.

Both teams made numerous changes to try and grab a winner but neither were able to break down each other’s defences. Lynx looked the mostly likely to grab a winner but Sastrie’s shot went wide. Shortly after Carlos Sanchez tried his luck from a free-kick but Hafed Droubi made a great save.

Man62 were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area as Carlos Sanchez fouled Liam Clarke just outside the Lynx penalty box. Cristian Toncheff stepped up but curled his shot wide. With the last kick of the game Lynx pushed up for a winner, Sastrie received the ball on the edge of the area and struck a fierce shot which went just wide. The game was restarted and Glen Gilbert blew for full-time with the scores at 2-2.