Walking Footballers at EuroCopa 2023
EuroCopa 2023 – Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers (Gib WF) in the aged 60+, took part in the EuroCopa 2023 Walking Football international tournament held at Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal on the 17th and 18th April 2023.
The travelling party comprised 13 players and 6 officials including a referee and a Sports Therapist, at the tournament which took place in the Estadio Da Nora, Ferreiras, in Albufeira.
A total of 40 teams from 9 countries, split into two age categories of 50+ and 60+ had travelled to the popular Portuguese town in the herat of the Algarve, with Giibraltar competing in the 60+ age category which saw a total of 19 teams split into one group of 7 teams and 2 groups of 6 teams each. Gibraltar were drawn into Group 3 alongside East Algarve Olhao, Brackley Sinners, Pimlico Burgundians, SC Farense and West Hartlepool Strollers.
The 17th April saw the group stages take place and Gibraltar’s walking footballers were on fire, finishing top of the group with a total of 13 points from a possible 15, and easing into the final stages scheduled for day 2 with some impressive results:
- Gib WF 2 – SC Fearense 1,
Goalscorers: Brian Mañasco,
- Gib WF 3 – Pimlico 0, Goalscorers: Albert Cumbo and Gilbert Licudi.
- Gib WF 1 – West Hartlepool 0, Goalscorer: Mario Glynn
- Gib WF 4 – Blackley Sinners 0, Goalscorers: Tony Gingell, Brian Mañasco, Mohamed Moudden and Andy Sene.
- Gib WF 0 – East Algarve Olhao 0.
saw the top 3 teams of each group and the best placed 4th team split into two groups of 5. Gibraltar were drawn into in Group B alongside Bolton Nomads, Walking Lions, SC Farense and Cardiff City in what proved to be much tougher set of opponents. Nevertheless Gibraltar were undefeated throughout the group matches winning 1 and drawing three. A second-place group finish behind Walking Lions meant they were through to the semifinals:
- Gib WF 0 – Cardiff City 0.
- Gib WF 0 – Bolton Nomads 0.
- Gib WF 1 – Walking Lions 0,
Goalscorer: Mario Prescott.
- Gib WF 2 – SC Farense 2,
Goalscorers: Mario Prescott
and Albert Cumbo.
Sheffield FC, were Gibraltar’s semi final opponents in what proved to be highly contested game which could have gone either way. Unfortunately for Gibraltar Sheffield FC broke the deadlock with a well taken free kick and managed to hold to win the game despite an impressive Gibraltar performance.
was between Sheffield FC and East Algarve Olhao and although Sheffield were considered the better team, East Algarve Olhao won the match after a penalty shoot out.
Gibraltar then had to face Walking Lions in the third place playoff. Walking Lions were a team of Spanish players from Bilbao who impressed throughout the tournament not only because of their footballing ability and their skills but for their sportsmanship and friendly attitude to all the teams, in particular towards Gibratar. This game was played in the best spirit traditions of football which ensured both teams enjoyed it to the full. In the end an excellent goal from Gilbert Licudi clinched the game for Gibraltar and a third-place finish.
The Gibraltar Walking Football Committee stated at the end of the tournament:
“The Walking Football Committee would like to thank all the team at the Gibraltar FA for all their support in enabling Gib WF to participate in international tournaments such as this. Special mention must be made of Gabriel Benatar who was the Sports Therapist assigned by the Gibraltar FA to accompany the team in the Algarve this week. This is not the first time that Gabe has travelled with our Walking Footballers and once again his performance was second to none. His care and attention in the pre match preparations and throughout all the matches was instrumental in ensuring that all our players remained fit for play.
A very proud achievement in finishing in 3rd place out of a total of 19 teams in the 60+ age category. Gib WF only lost one game throughout the tournament and that was the semifinal. The excellent preparative work and top class management, throughout the tournament, by the team manager Brian Mañasco ably assisted by Roy Stych and Mario Prescott, were crucial and central to the excellent results achieved by the team on the pitch in the Algarve. Once again in our short walking football history we have proved that our teams can compete at international level against the best with ability and confidence. The Gibraltar Flag flew very prominently and proud in the Algarve.”