Football Insight

in Sport Insight

My father was a professional Footballer, and therefore the game naturally runs through our veins. My Career took place as a footballer in my hometown Algeciras, in The lower divisions. I later progressed to the professional Level in Estepona and Ceuta, and UD Los Barrios. My most prolonged stay at a club was to take place at the Balona, where I had Played Three Seasons. My coaching career later took over, and I’ve had the privilege of training my hometown, Algeciras C.F. where we had gained promotion with UD Los Barrios, CD San Roque, CD Guadiaro and UD Tesorillo and finally C.D. Villanueva de Córdoba In la Segunda B. 

Thanks to Football, I was lucky to have gained an unforgettable experience by managing “invidentes de la ONCE” in Algeciras and be crowned Champions with the C.P. Botafuego Algeciras within the Real Madrid project Foundation. In my Last Years, I’ve Evolved In Gibraltar with Lynx FC as my first club. This is my second term with the yellow warriors, having managed Lincoln Red Imps after my first spell with Lynx, where I had worked with the youth and Had the opportunity of directing the First Team, which later won the Championship. I later participated in a UEFA competition with Lincoln Red Imps and its challenges both on and off the pitch.

I first joined Lynx, thanks to a friend in common with Albert. His name was Jesse Britto, and we had played together in La Balona. He always spoke highly of Lynx Football Club, and I guess it was inevitable I would end up with the yellows. In January 2014, I had left San Roque FC and ventured into a new challenge with Albert Parody, the current owner and Managing Director of the club. He also takes a managerial role within the senior squad. The Gibraltar League had taken off at an astronomical rate after being accepted as a UEFA member the previous year, and the yellows were having an excellent season. 

Lynx was a club to be respected within the top tier, and they are no different from what we see in today’s Football. The yellows are a humble club, with a dressing room that responded as a family. This is our unique formula and the reason for having been at a touching distance of qualifying for the UEFA competition. One of our most memorable campaigns came in the 2015 Rock Cup Final against Lincoln. There was a point in the game where we had led by a goal, but Lincoln proved to be a stronger side, considering their financial power from recent Champions League qualification, which became a handicap for us.

The National League has continuously evolved. The teams’ level has gone up with each season, bringing in better Players and coaches year on year. 

Almost All the local Clubs in Gibraltar have a semi-professional structure with all training aspects improving by the year. It does not go without saying that the game has demanded our officials to improve and become a respected entity with the organisation. We have seen a significant investment placed in our grassroots. It is visible with local players playing for their country against the best and bringing home a respectful score and even group qualifications when others perceived us to be the whipping boys of Europe. This was no longer to be the case. 

Each season, we have seen an increase of Local players on the pitch enforced by the Gibraltar Football Association. The federation had implemented a rule to enforce clubs to have a minimum of five Gibraltarians on the pitch. There will always be mixed reviews about the regulation, but I find the law to be fair. Yes, the league takes place in Gibraltar, and it was not customary to previously see very little locals given a chance to play in other football clubs. I understand the board of directors within the GFA have to increase local players and have a healthy crop of talented players for the national team. The only thing I would have changed is the time of the rules being enforced. 

I see it too soon to try and increase the local numbers made available in so little time. We should have gradually made the changes. With the already growing challenges presented by UEFA, the National League level can do more damage than good to a local player that is yet to develop. 

An area I believe should have received further attention from the Gibraltar Football Association was the Under 23’s. Having taken this route, we would have allowed continuous growth with our youth players and taken them through the ranks. Since my time in Gibraltar, I have shown a constant concern for our youth development as a whole and not as an individual club because, as cliche as it may sound, they are our future – Bradley Avellano, Sheilom, James Parkison, Juju, Jaydan Parody, Michael Ruiz and Francis Huart are working extremely hard and I have confidence they will be the future of Gibraltar. 

Albert has been the person who has been there for me since day one, and he has always given me the confidence to not only speak of football but in the personal too. Albert is the face of Lynx, and he is what makes the mighty yellow what it is today. Even though he is a father figure to his players, he always demands the best in us. Since the first day I had joined Lynx, we had a great synergy and understood each other. 

Even though he dedicates many hours to the club, he is very fortunate to have a good group of volunteers giving their all for the club like Deirdre Copello, Elaine Rodriguez, Jack Noble, Jeky Buhagiar, Jimmy Cavilla, Jonathan Costa, Juan Acris, Karl Zarb, Kathy Noble, Lenny Wornall, Scott Houghton, Sergio Rivelli and Stevie Roche. I have also seen Albert grow within his managerial role, and he has adapted to the times, and it is no surprise he has become the longest-serving local manager in Gibraltar. Many may say that he is his own boss, but the stats do not lie. 

I strongly feel this season is there for the taking, and we could finish in the top 4 if we maintain our game plan and never give up attitude. It is by no means easy for us to compete against those that are financially wealthy from their participation in the UEFA competition, so we must grab the 4th opening with both hands. I believe we have good results to show our determination, but we will never be complacent or take the opportunity for granted.

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