Jonathan Costa

Jonathan Costa has 6 articles published.

Football Insight

in Sport Insight

I first started playing football back in 2014 with Lincoln red imps. Throughout my time at Lincoln red imps I learnt a lot not only as a person but as a team captain. After 5 years playing at Lincoln the decision was taken by both the club and team captains to not take out a women’s team for this upcoming season. 

I was aware that Albert Parody the owner of Lynx FC had been trying to take out a women’s team for a number of years and that there would not be a league if there were only 2 teams willing to participate. 

At that moment I spoke to all the players from Lincoln and asked if they would be willing to stick as a team and move on to lynx. We lost a few players on the way but we managed to bring the majority of players with us such as; Alex Holt, Naomi Victor, Sherilyn Orfila, Poppy Hall, Laura, and Belen. 

This year we have signed a number of young players which are improving by day. Most of them had played with the GFA under 16 team but had never actually played in the women’s league. They decided to join us this year as they feel it’s the best way for them to improve as players. 

The team are working hard at training and slowly getting used to playing together as a team. I am confident that with a few more games together the team will be able to have many of our youngsters getting used to playing as a starting 11 in the woman’s league.

As the World Cup has vividly shown, women’s football is growing in popularity and status with increasing participation, professionalisation and media attention across the world.

a professional football career for women is hard to sustain in the face of low pay, a lack of contractual support, and commitments away from the pitch. There is a need for significant change to the way women footballers are supported to play for club and country alike.

there are significant hurdles to overcome in order to make football a secure career for women. Women footballers not only face problems around pay, but also a number of challenges around other crucial aspects of their work. These include the lack of contractual stability and agent support, as well the absence of appropriate childcare. All these expose them to insecure working conditions.

My message is for everyone involved in women’s football – be it FIFA, the GFA, and UEFA, is to take women’s football seriously and ensure that more women can enjoy decent, fair work conditions as they pursue their professional football careers.

For further information, please contact the club on or 200 69695.

Grassroots Youth Football

in Sport Insight

Today we catch up with Tracey Baglietto, Lynx U6 Coach.  Tracey has always possessed a passion for sports generally and has always been involved in most sports activities; her main true passion, however, has always been Football.

She played for a very successful Victoria Stars ladies team for 5 years, winning five consecutive league titles amongst many other trophies and also played for the Gibraltar National Side.

In November 2012, she was appointed to the Gibraltar Football Association Executive Board and was a member of the GFA delegation, which was ultimately triumphant in securing Gibraltar’s UEFA Membership, becoming the 54th Football Nation to join the UEFA Family. During this time she also undertook the role of Head of Women’s Football, she went on to pass UEFA’s Women in Football Leadership Programme and travelled abroad representing Gibraltar at all UEFA Women’s Conferences.

After her departure from the Gibraltar FA in August 2015, she decided to have a break from football.  During the summer of 2016 she was offered the role of becoming the Lynx FC Youth Development Officer and Lynx U13 coach for the club for one season, which she took on board with great enthusiasm.  

At present, Tracey is now coaching the Under 6 Lynx FC team. As she has noted this is indeed quite a big challenge as she believes that in order for a child to become a successful football player or be part of the football world, players do not only need to have the skills but the discipline to flourish within this challenging sport.

She has discovered that being a coach for a youth team does take quite a vast time of your personal life as a lot of pre-planning and effort in organising that all does run smoothly within the team is imperative.  She does think that anyone taking up this role must have a vocation and a passion for this sport.  As with all other sports coaches need to be at all times up to date with all the new rules which are implemented and this in itself at times is time consuming when trying to pass on to players as old habits are tough to shy away from.  She does believe that team bounding has to be a main factor within the team and she does try her best for all players to get on which each other and at times organises a get together outside the sports facilities perimeters.

She states, that within Lynx FC Grassroots Football is taken on board very seriously, thank you mainly to Mr Albert Parody who is the club owner and who he himself is a strong believer and is a top football lover himself.  Lynx FC do currently have  teams within all age groups and this in itself does involve a lot of hard and dedication from our now Youth Development Officer Mr Joaquin Buhagiar, who spends most of his free time at the club, organising and ensuring that all teams are adequately equipped with all football equipment, kits and above all that all age groups do comply with all the rules & regulations set upon by the Gibraltar Football Association. Tracey is both grateful to Mr Parody and Mr Buhagiar.

Grassroots Football in Gibraltar is one of the most popular sports, that’s why she feels that all clubs and indeed the Gibraltar Football Association do have a day to day challenge in trying to work together as one in promoting and placing all the mechanisms so that this sport does progress to the high standards which is expected.  

She senses and appreciates the great work carried out behind the scenes by all i.e. GFA, clubs, coaches and most importantly the players & supporters. However, during these current difficult times which has hit all aspects of our lifes, football has also been hit badly and it has only been because of the great effort from the GFA Youth Committee and all clubs in working together and  trying tirelessly to bring back grassroots football these past few months that this has now been achieved. 

The kick-start of the youth season she says has been a great triumph; friendly matches have now started to be played albeit behind closed doors as for now this she says will no doubt become the “New Normal” for the time being.  She has expressed that the look on all the children, coaches and all those involved is just priceless so that in itself is the greatest reward this sport can take back.

However, she is a firm believer that there are enough quality and scope with the youth sections for Gibraltar football to not now but in the near future give the opportunity to our now youngsters to progress professionally abroad within the Elite teams.

For further information, please contact the club on or 200 69695.

The Hard Yards

in Sport Insight

Lynx FC’s sporting director and head of Futsal, Karl Zarb reveals his trials and tribulations to Gibraltar Insight.

An accountant by profession since the age of 18 and currently the finance manager for a local construction company he was to find his true passion in Futsal when he was 14 years old (24 years ago now) in the old futsal league where he used to play as a goalkeeper and since then he knew it was meant to be. Unfortunately, futsal in Gibraltar ceased and for many years he was unable to enjoy the sport locally until 2013 when Gibraltar became UEFA’s 54th member and to his delight, Futsal returned to the rock. Futsal is a fast-paced, intense, and adrenaline-driven sport and that is what made me fall in love with the sport.

The team that has impressed him the most was Rock 54. The team was to become one of his initiatives whilst with the Gibraltar FA Futsal Committee, to help develop young local players for the futsal national squad. The team was made up of 17-20-year-olds who had no knowledge or experience in futsal and to see them learn and develop at the pace they did it is the highlight of his career in futsal. Many of these players have been or are now part of the Gibraltar National squad and that makes him extremely proud. Although I was very young at the time the best local futsal player for me must be Louisito Bonavia

In 2013 when Gibraltar joined UEFA and futsal was re-established locally, Karl decided to form his futsal team called Gib Scorpions FC where he worked extremely hard on this project and spent close to 4 months scouting players. He built a team that went unbeaten the full season and was the first to qualify and compete in the UEFA Futsal Cup. A very inexperienced team for the standard of futsal we experienced but they did extremely well and managed a draw in their final match.

The high was the huge amount of success we had in such a short time. The low was having to give up the project he had worked so hard for to join the Gibraltar FA Futsal Committee, but he was confident that it was the best move to continue progressing in his futsal career

In 2014 Karl was given the opportunity by the previous futsal president to join his committee and he did not hesitate to take on the challenge and help develop futsal in Gibraltar. He spent three and a half years working with the committee and he is extremely proud of everything he managed to do and achieve during that time. Having organised two FC Barcelona Futsal Camps with the attendance of Ferrao (current best futsal player) seeing close to 120 children enjoying themselves and a futsal coaching clinic with five of the world’s best futsal coaches were definitely the highlights during his time. He would have loved to be able to carry out some of the other projects in his development plan which included developing youth futsal as the key to success for the future but unfortunately, his expectations and ambitions were far higher than those of the Gibraltar FA and he, therefore, decided to call time.

Karl presented many ideas and projects to the Gibraltar FA but most importantly keeping in line with youth development, was the creation of a futsal academy and the introduction of futsal at schools but was not approved. When he left the Gibraltar FA, he knew there was only one club he could join that would match his ambitions and that was Lynx FC.

Karl once quoted “It was the easiest and best decision I have ever made in my futsal career, from day one I was welcomed as part of the family and have always received full support in everything I have proposed and decisions I made. I am confident that together we will achieve great success both on and off the field. The team spirit, desire to win and the discipline within Lynx FC is what makes us such a formidable force locally. My ambition and aim in the next 5 years are to continue building and developing a squad that will very soon be able to compete at the highest level and be able to progress in the UEFA Futsal Champions League. There are many areas Gibraltar must improve on, but Youth and coach development are at the top of that list”

Covid has been a disaster for futsal especially in Lynx’s preparations for this season’s UEFA Futsal Champions League. Re-scheduling of matches, cancellation of training allocations, limited training resources, travel restrictions and financial uncertainty are just some of the negative effects of covid. Constraints accelerate skill development. Just as the constraints of futsal force players to develop creativity and better ball-handling skills, constraints in our lives often force us to make choices and cultivate talents that would otherwise go undeveloped.

At the beginning of last season, both Karl Zarb and CEO Jonathan Costa discussed the possibility of providing exposure of the Lynx FC brand abroad and at the same time provide a higher playing field for their players, through matches and training opportunities. In January Lynx FC visited Manchester Futsal where three of our players had the opportunity to train with their squad and planned to return to play in a tournament in the following months but unfortunately, covid has put a halt on their projects in Manchester. Since then, Lynx FC had the privilege of competing in a tournament in Portugal against the likes of Braga Futsal.  Further development opportunities are still on the horizon for their players next week when they travel to Andorra to play some matches against the current champions FC Encamp in preparation for the UEFA Champions League at the end of November.

Karl Zarb has had his hands full this season and has surely stamped his name in the history of Futsal but we know nothing is impossible in Karl’s books as he later went to state “Constraints accelerate skill development; Just as the constraints of futsal force players to develop creativity and better ball-handling skills, constraints in our lives often force us to make choices and cultivate talents that would otherwise go undeveloped.”

For further information, please contact the club on or 200 69695.

Life after COVID

in Sport Insight

Since its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to almost all countries of the world. Social and physical distancing measures, lockdowns of businesses, schools and overall social life, which have become commonplace to the spread of the disease, have also disrupted many regular aspects of life, including physical activity.

As the world hopes to recover from COVID-19, there will be significant issues to be addressed to ensure the safety of our sporting events at all levels and the well-being of our sporting organizations in Gibraltar. In the short term, these will include the adaptation of events to ensure the safety of athletes, fans and vendors, among others. In the medium term, in the face of an anticipated global recession, there may also be a need to take measures to support participation in sporting organizations, particularly for youth sports.

When life has finally returned to normal, I think football will change for the better. We should see the reversal of a power balance that has swung the wrong way for too long, switching it back in favour of the clubs. I would certainly expect that to happen in all countries and not just in Gibraltar, where the financial implications of COVID-19 are hitting particularly hard. Players and agents will have to lower their expectations, and we will see fewer instances of football clubs being held to ransom over deals and contracts.

Anyone going in saying, ‘This guy wants this money, and I want this amount for doing the deal’, might have to face a new reality. Do you want the club to go out of existence, and then there’s no club to play at? If agents ask too much then clubs will say: ‘No problem, we’ll do something else.’

Mass gatherings around the world look like the very last port of call but I think a positive knock-on effect will ultimately be that fans and players are brought closer together, and the atmosphere in our Victoria stadium could improve even further.

Being cynical, I think you have to say a lot of clubs in Gibraltar will see this as a decent opportunity to reboot. It is hard to argue against that happening in a lot of cases, if you take out the emotion and passion of it. Club owners have seen their own businesses decimated overnight. Given owners are going to be hit in the long term, I really think it could be another 10 years before we get back to a financial level similar to now.

I think there will be a correction and prudent approach generally but I’m not convinced that clubs that qualify for UEFA competition won’t continue to pay top dollar for top players. I still think we will see big fees. If you look at the last five to 10 years, there has been an incredible rise in the scale of National League wages, which affects clubs like ours who continuously fight from being a position away from changing our full business model. The market has run away with itself.

It’s a scary time for all of us in Gibraltar. There’s going to be less money in the game and fewer jobs. Offers will be smaller, especially at our level. People are going to have to take cuts. You also have to think about the future. If there isn’t any football after contracts expire you have to find a job. If football doesn’t start until later in the year, you’re not going to get paid for three or four months so it’s time to get into the real world. If football’s not on, there’s no one to coach or scout and many sporting individuals will have to look outside the sport.

I believe the early days of our return in Gibraltar may see change, whether that is the attendance in the Victoria stadium or how we travel to UEFA matches. But as not many people like change even when it’s for the better, if there is any long term it will, for sure, happen slowly. I think we may well eventually return to how things were.

These are unprecedented times where imagination has to come in, and I think the present situation may breed a more creative kind of scouting. Clubs will put more energy into looking for bargains lower down the divisions in other countries, or in smaller foreign leagues. You’re always trying to find a hidden gem but the rewards for reaching beyond the obvious may be even greater now.

Top players and their agents will still command big money, and it won’t affect owners at the top tier of the National league as much but there will be changes until the Gibraltar Football economy recovers. For players coming through the ranks, even at National League level, there are likely to be lower salaries and more incentivised contracts.

If there are more incentivised contracts and less money guaranteed, then clubs will have to be more open in terms of their budgets and commercial income. There’s a danger some clubs might use the crisis to low-ball players and that’s risky because they may lose out to other clubs willing to pay. But this could be a reset for football with young, hungry talent coming through. Owners still want to win, ultimately and qualify for UEFA competition, and after two or three years of taking stock they will dig deep again.

We are positive that we will recover but we will inevitably see the gap between ‘big’ clubs and smaller sides in the Gibraltar national league widening as the wealthier teams recover more easily. The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have very considerable effects on the sporting world as well as on the physical and mental well-being of people around the world, but we will continue to capitalize on the benefits that sport and physical activity can bring in the age of COVID-19 and beyond.

The heartbeat of Lynx Football Club

in Sport Insight

The Lynx clubhouse is the heart of Lynx football club, boasting the largest premises owned by any Football club in Gibraltar.

In 2014, Albert Parody and his team made a financial commitment to take the yellows to new heights and consequently initiated an investment to the once derelict building that had stood empty for 7 years, previously owned by a Gibraltar Hockey team. This purchase was one of most significant events undertaken by the Club in its short history and was by no means possible without the unselfish commitment of Julian Bellido, an old servant of the club and former general manager.

It has been amazing to see the club’s facilities expand alongside the senior and youth teams becoming a central hub of all that Lynx F.C. stands for.

Located at 41/3 Europa Road, the club provides the space needed to keep any team on its feet, from Rest Rooms, changing rooms, Gyms, Cafeteria, meeting room, offices, Meditation room, Physio treatment room, hot and cold bath facilities and many more, making the Lynx Club the most equipped clubhouse in Gibraltar.  Through the hard work of volunteers, contractors and the Lynx committee, The club has been developed into one of the finest football complexes in Gibraltar.

Since Lynx F.C. was established in 2007 they have always worked alongside the community to ensure they are the club of the people. This has included supporting various charities and societies along the way including Little Smiles, Gibraltar Alzheimer’s & Dementia Society and Alcoholics Anonymous, bringing pride and honour in supporting those who support us. Success has not been achieved without hard work and the Club has been blessed with a fine range of individuals who have given their time to help Lynx achieve its goals.

Each year, Lynx hosts various events for a variety of age groups, opening their facilities for the benefit of the community; hosting a large variety of events from birthday party celebrations to family get-togethers or just a quick coffee and a bite to eat on lunch breaks. With limited facilities available up at Europa Point, the Lynx family are honoured to be able to host such a diverse range for individuals or groups needs.

This year, Lynx are looking at expanding their planned events with family and friends at the centre of all they do and cannot wait to serve the mighty yellows. These will be focused on children, adults and families not only within Lynx F.C. but the wider community as well. To have a dedicated department for events Jonathan Costa recently approached Stevie Roche to become Head of Events for the club with the senior assistance of Kathy Noble.

Alongside the support of the fellow committee members, Stevie will be introducing new ideas and planned events within the Clubhouse. We have used the time during the pandemic to brainstorm ideas for the coming year and look forward to not only getting the Lynx family involved but also to reach out to the wider community. 

With such advanced facilities available at the club we are looking forward to building memories for families and friends. Please check our website or social media for details of forthcoming events and if you would like to host an event with Lynx, please call: + (350) 200 69695 /

Inside Lynx’s Youth Academy

in Sport Insight

The Lynx Youth Academy returns in full throttle recruiting boys and girls ranging from ages 5 – 14 years with one simple message: “All skill levels are welcome”.

This month we get to meet Joaquin Buhagiar, well known to his friends as “Jeky”. Jeky commenced his coaching career in the late ’80s whilst playing for a reserve team. Most Youth coaches pushed their youth players to the limit in search of a victory, but Jeky felt it was of great importance for the kids to have fun and enjoy the game. This mindset allowed the players to rediscover themselves and grow a passion for the game in a healthy environment. The kids had also learnt the importance of socializing with others and treating their teammates as equal members. Training every day, learning the basics of passing the ball, holding possession, shooting at goal, giving the kids the required tools to enjoy football, saw a significant improvement in the kids.

Later that year, success came naturally to the players, who won the cup by 2-1 in the final. Jeky treasures that moment, as the team had a child with a physical disability and no belief in himself, but not only did Jeky give him the opportunity of being part of the team, he also gave him a taste for victory having made clear that everyone would play in every match. He remembers that moment as if it were yesterday, even though today’s first-team players weren’t even born in those days. Jeky had substituted one of his players and before going in, he told the player to stay beside the opposing keeper so that he couldn’t go out to get the ball. They got a corner and the ball hit him on the head and went into the goal, leading his team to victory and crowned champions of the tournament. From this day on, the kids were like a band of brothers and started to win everything under the sun. 

Jeky took his youth team to a Liverpool tournament consisting of under 14s and even though they lost in the final 2-1, they brought back an unbelievable experience. They were invited to play the following day at the school of excellence of Liverpool FC, and the kids were all nervous in the changing room, but Jeky calmed them with this message: “Guys we came here to play in a football tournament. We missed out on winning the final but who cares, we have been invited to play against Liverpool FC, so let’s go out there and play football as you know, and don’t forget to have fun.”

This speech was to make history, as the team went out to win the game by an incredible 12 – 0. After the under 15 season Jeky decided to give it a rest, after consecutive top place finishes and a memorable 4 – 1 victory in the Pepe Reyes Cup Final. Jeky was to become a hot prospect within the coaching ranks, boasting a wealth of knowledge bringing out the best in his players throughout his coaching career. Jeky is now Head of the Youth Academy of Lynx F.C., a position previously held by Raymond Gomez. Jeky is very proud to be part of the Academy along with his Youth Coaches Tracey Baglietto, David Costa, Craig Fortunato, Andrew Martinez, Colin Finlayson, Paco Hernández and senior members Albert Parody and Raymond Gomez. 

Raymond is now placing his full efforts as a Youth Coach of the Lynx Youth Academy and he will always be best remembered for his successful term as Head of the Youth Academy from 2014 – 2018. His presence was instrumental to the Youth’s growth and took on the mantle of adapting to the major changes implemented from becoming a UEFA member. Raymond had set the foundations for many years to come and we have been very fortunate to have such a strong team. 

We are forever grateful to know that our children’s futures are in safe hands and we cannot wait to see you join the mighty yellows, by calling us on 200 69695 or 57712000, now. 

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