Steven Gonzalez GFA

Steven Gonzalez GFA has 10 articles published.

Gibraltar’s Men’s National Futsal Team Record historic win in World Cup Qualifiers.

in Features

Gibraltar’s Men’s National Futsal Team travelled to Germany in April for their much-anticipated FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, on the back of a resurgent and successful domestic futsal season.

At the draw, Gibraltar had been placed in Group A of UEFA’s Preliminary Futsal World Cup Qualifiers against familiar opposition in Montenegro and San Marino and a somewhat ‘unknown’ in Germany who are an extremely ‘young’ Futsal national team hence their presence at this stage of the tournament. 

As group hosts, the DFB (German FA) had chosen the CU Arena in Hamburg, a two thousand capacity indoor venue, and as the fixtures were released, Gibraltar would have the daunting challenge of facing their German hosts first up. 

Despite not having a rich history in international Futsal, the Germans are undoubtedly a team on the up, intent on climbing up the world rankings as quickly as possible, and in the Group A opener, in front of their home crowd, they wanted to put on a show. 3-0 up at half time, they went on to an 8-0 win over Gibraltar, but none the less Gibraltar’s squad were not to down as they had their sights set on more important matters later on in the week. 

Second up for Gibraltar was Montenegro, no strangers to Gibraltar and who were the second favourites, alongside Germany, to make it through Group A of the World Cup Preliminary Qualifiers. True to form they proved to be tough opponents for Gibraltar, running out 5-0 winners as Gibraltar had Jaydan Parody sent off in the final staged of the match, ruling him out of the final group game. 

Despite being on the wrong end of the score lines in the opening two qualifiers, Gibraltar were still totally focussed on their key target for the week, the third match which would see them take on San Marino. This was the one fixture that Head Coach Jose Carlos Gil Prieto and his coaching staff had targeted and aimed for, despite the progression made by San Marino’s on the International Futsal scene.

Without the suspended Jaydan Parody, Gibraltar began with Mark Moxham in goal, Nick Castle, Kieron Garcia, Jamie Bosio and Andrew Lopez as the starting 5 with Joseph Nahon, Chris Remorino, Aiman Mkerref, Jamie Fortuna, Noufal El Andaloussi, Zane Holgado, Guy Olivero and Ashley Rodriguez primed and ready to come off the bench.

At half time, San Marino were 1-0 up thanks to an 11th minute Busignani strike leaving Gibraltar with a mountain to climb in the second half. In the 25th minute Jamie Bosio set up Noufal El Andaloussi who made it 1-1. Fifteen minutes to go and all to play for. In the 36th minute, Kieron Garcia was brought down on the halfway line. Garcia took the free kick quickly and played in El Andaloussi who slotted home Gibraltar’s second expertly past the San Marino Goalkeeper. 

Gibraltar had turned the game on its head in a little over ten minutes. A nervy last five minutes followed, which seemed like an eternity (as in futsal the clock stops as the ball goes out of play) but Moxham stood firm in the Gibraltar goal and as the final whistle went Gibraltar recorded a historic away in in a Futsal World Cup Qualifier. 

The win against San Marino meant Gibraltar finished Group A in third place, on three points behind Germany and Montenegro, who both progress into the main round of UEFA’s Futsal World Cup Qualifiers. 

The second half comeback against San Marino saw Gibraltar reach their aim of winning one of their three tough fixtures and in doing so bring home plenty of positives to build on as international Futsal across all of UEFA’s Member Nations keeps on growing and growing.   

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Working partnership between the Gibraltar Football Association and the Care Agency kicks off.   

A working partnership between the Gibraltar FA and the Care Agency kicked off on the 23rd February 2022.

The partnership, which has involved a great deal of background work and preparation put in, sees the Gibraltar FA assisting in the Care Agency’s weekly Physical Development sessions on Wednesday mornings at the Victoria Stadium Sports Hall. 

The aim of this partnership programme is to empower the individual to optimise their full potential. By working collaboratively to provide the best possible support to the community, we also improve the understanding of people with learning disabilities. 

As a result all service users from the Care Agency’s Disability Service, St Bernadette’s Resource Centre and Dr Giraldi Home who attend the sessions will take part in football themed activities, run by Gibraltar FA Coaches and staff alongside the Care Agency’s wonderful team. 

The weekly sessions are aimed at engaging the service users in a number of different skills such as shooting, catching, attempting drills, running and most importantly, having fun and ensuring everyone attending has enjoys themselves. 

The Gibraltar FA has also provided each of the service users with Gibraltar National Team kit which many of the participants wear with huge passion pride as they come to their football sessions on Wednesday mornings at Victoria Stadium Sports Hall. 

As part of the partnership, The Gibraltar FA will also look to coach interested carers, as part of the Associations Coach Education Programme. 

Speaking about the launch of the partnership with the Care Agency, Gibraltar FA General secretary Ivan Robba said: 

“The Gibraltar FA is delighted to be contributing very practically to the aims and objectives of the Care Agency. We expect this to be one of many initiatives which form part of our football for good strategy. Our coaches enjoyed the interaction with the service users and working with the carers created a great fun environment which we will build on.”

The Gibraltar FA would like to thank the Minister for Equality and Social Services, The Hon Samantha Sacramento MP and the Care Agency for their commitment to bringing this partnership together. 

February Internationals kick off a busy Year for Women’s football on the International Scene.

in Sport Insight

Gibraltar’s Women’s National Team kicked off a busy year for Women’s Football on the international scene, with two international Friendlies in February, away in Andorra and then at home to the Faroe Islands. 

The two friendlies were part of the February FIFA international Window for Women’s Football and gave Gibraltar Head Coach, Janssen Olivero, a much-needed test against for his young Gibraltar squad against two very tough opponents, as he looks to build his team up towards entering UEFA’s next European Qualifiers. 

First up was Andorra away, on the 16th February, in what proved to be a game of two halves in the Estadi Nacional in Andorra La Vella. After a bad start, Gibraltar somehow managed to find themselves 4-0 down and shellshocked before a bursting run by Pizzarello down the left-hand side, where she took the ball from inside her own penalty area, ripping through the Andorran defence, before crossing for Joelle Gilbert to slot home Gibraltar’s only goal of the game. 

At half time, Janssen Olivero rallied his team, and made some crucial tactical changes before sending the Women’s Team out in the second half with nothing to lose. And they did not disappoint dominating the second half. Despite the 4-1 at the final whistle,  Gibraltar had taken control of the of the game after the interval and even though they could not break through a solid Andorran defence their determination and desire was there for all to see. The result slightly flattered the hosts, however valuable lessons were learnt, most importantly that at international level any mistakes made are punished by the opposition.

Gibraltar’s Women then returned to the Victoria Stadium to face the Faroe Islands on Sunday 20th February putting on a much better performance, in front of their home crowd, against much tougher opposition despite having injuries to key players Pizzarello and Doody.  

Playing on the counter with quick, aggressive forward running thanks to the speed of Joelle Gilbert, Shania Robba and Reighann Olivero, Gibraltar were always a threat to their Faroese opponents, who only won the game thanks to a misplaced pass which was picked up on by Mortenson who fired home the only goal of the game.  

Again, despite the score line, Gibraltar looked much more confident with plenty of youngsters on show and gaining valuable international experience. And Ellie Mason, playing international football for the first time slotted straight into the heart of the team bringing with her all her knowledge and expertise from playing professionally in the Championship, in England, with Lewes FC. 

After the two matches, Head Coach Janssen Olivero was happy with the week, despite the score lines, saying:

 “We faced an opposition who have come up against some top nations and are involved in World Cup Qualifiers against some of the toughest nations there are in Women’s Football.”

“It’s a massive step up for us. We put a lot of emphasis on a different style of play and it showed the versatility that these players have. Today I thought we found the right balance of solid at the back whilst also being a threat going forward.”

The attention, on the international scene, now turns to Futsal, with Gibraltar’s Women’s Futsal National Team who are set to host Moldova, Slovakia and Belgium in the Preliminary Round of the UEFA Women’s Futsal Euros at the Tercentenary Hall in May with the tournament schedule to be announced very shortly. 

Gibraltar FA Club Assistance Programme & Mental Health First Aid Officer

in Sport Insight

CAP aims to raise awareness and to provide help to players and club personnel who may be suffering from mental health and behavioural issues through a confidential counselling service deigned to assist individuals in making fundamental and positive changes in their way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. 

As well as counselling sessions, CAP will also provide the opportunity for each club to appoint a Mental Health First Aid Officer. Once appointed, this person would receive training by Club House Gibraltar funded by the Gibraltar FA and importantly, the role of the Club Mental Health First Aid Officer will become a mandatory part of the Domestic Club Licensing Regulations as from season 2023/24.

Furthermore, the Gibraltar FA will also be providing mental health awareness courses, which all club coaches will be encouraged to attend, aimed at training coaches and staff members to spot the signs of any potential behavioural and mental health issues in players of all ages.  

The Gibraltar FA is ready to enrol individuals on these courses, which will be valid for three 3 years, when refresher courses will be on offer to renew certifications.

The CAP programme will also be used as part of the reintegration process for any players or club officials who have received large suspensions for offences they have committed on the field of play. More details of this part of the programme will be published in the Gibraltar FA’s Disciplinary Regulations in due course. 

General Secretary Ivan Robba commented:

Statistically one in four people experience mental health issues, meaning that within the Gibraltarian footballing community, there is likely to be a significant number of individuals who are suffering. 

We, as an Association, are determined to use football as a force for good in our community and we a are committed to helping our members, our players, our coaches and all of our clubs’ staff and representatives as much as we can. With the launch of our CAP, if anyone is in unfortunate need of such help the right framework is now in place for individuals to receive confidential and professional help and assistance.”  

The Gibraltar FA’s Human Resources Manager, Julian Valverde has been instrumental in setting up this project and added:  

“Mental health has always been very much of a taboo topic in society. Having experienced issues myself I know first-hand how lonely one can feel whilst suffering We all have our own demons that we sometimes battle silently. If there is one piece of advice I can give anyone is that you are not alone, support is out there, and talking about it really does help.  This is essentially why we have introduced CAP, to offer footballers in Gibraltar somewhere private and confidential to turn to if they find themselves in need of help, support or someone to open up to.”

Youth Football Christmas Tournament

in Sport Insight

Proves to be a great success

Ahead of the festive break, the Gibraltar Football Association organised a very successful Christmas Tournament for all of Gibraltar’s young footballers from the ages of six to sixteen. 

Under the guidance of the association’s new Youth Football leadership team, the weekend long tournament was centered around a community and family atmosphere with fun themed activities on offer, off the pitch, in the Victoria Stadium’s MUGA area as well as food and refreshment provided for all players taking part in the tournament. The aim of the weekends was a simple one – to give Gibraltar’s young footballers an enjoyable competitive footballing send-off ahead of their Christmas break.  

As is customary, at all Gibraltar FA organised youth football events and matches, Association Delegates were on hand to ensure the tournament run smoothly and First Aiders were in attendance at all times.    

In what proved to be something of a first in youth football locally, in recent times, the strongest teams in certain age groups were moved up a ‘level’ (age group) to play against older children. This would allow them to challenge their skill sets and also to make each tournament more and more competitive. 

Depending on the amount of teams and players, each age group had its own bespoke tournament in the traditional 5 or 7 aside formats and tailored at giving each team the maximum amount of playing time.  

Tournament organisers Scott Wiseman and Jansen Moreno were delighted with the way the tournament and weekend as a whole went, with over 400 youngsters taking part across all the different age groups, and are already looking at laying the groundwork for future tournaments throughout year and commented:

“On behalf of everyone at the Gibraltar FA, we would like to thank everyone involved in the tournament for making the weekend so successful and especially to our match officials, referees and delegates who dealt with the whole weekend programme tremendously given the different formats, age groups and matches. 

A huge thanks must also go to our clubs who instantly bought into the idea and to all of the parents for supporting the tournament throughout the weekend. We are already looking at how we can incorporate tournaments like this on a more regular basis throughout this year and beyond so that we can begin to ensure our youngsters are playing as much football as possible.”

The sports story of 2021

in Features/Sport Insight

A year of tears, fears and recovery

PLANET Earth’s struggle to shed the shackles of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic is at last showing signs of success and, as always, sport leads the way on the road back to normality. Come with me as we take a look at the highs and lows of this desperate year.

JANUARY

3rd: Death of Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers, forever synonymous with what is probably the world’s best known football anthem, Liverpool FC’s You’ll Never Walk Alone, passed away aged 78 after a short illness, believed to be cardiac related.

Darts crowned the year’s first world champion when Wales’s Gerwyn Price secured the PDC title for the first time, the pugnacious ex-rugby league star comfortably overcoming Scotland’s Gary Anderson 7-3 at London’s Ally Pally.

25th: Chelsea sack coach and club legend Frank Lampard.

FEBRUARY

5th: Scotland win rugby’s Calcutta Cup, stunning England 11-6 and ending 38 years of anguish since Bonnie Prince Charley’s troops last prevailed over the ‘auld enemy’ at Twickenham.

7th: Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset defending champions Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to lift the Super  Bowl. A 30-second TV advert during the event cost an astonishing £4 million.

20th: Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her second Australia Open beating American Jennifer Brady in straight sets in the women’s final in Melbourne.

21st: Novak Djokovic outclassed Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win his ninth Australian Tennis Open.

27th: Wales wallop England 40-24 in Cardiff  to win rugby union’s Triple Crown for the 22nd time in an exciting game marred by some controversial refereeing decisions.

MARCH

1st: Liverpool icon and legendary TV sports presenter Ian St John passed away after a long illness, aged 82.

7th: Snooker’s world number one Judd Trump retained his Gibraltar Open crown, whitewashing Jack Lisowski 4-0 in the final that, because of Covid lockdown, had been switched to Milton Keynes.

13th: One of boxing’s true greats ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler passes away, the fearsome shaven-headed legend is counted out at age 66.

16th: Rachael Blackmore, riding Honeysuckle, becomes the first female to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Charismatic Rachael went on to finish top rider at the festival.

19th: The Cheltenham Gold Cup returned to Ireland as Minella Indo, ridden by Jack Kennedy at odds of  9/1, won steeplechasing’s Blue Riband event.

20th: Death claimed Leeds United legend Peter “Hotshot” Lorimer, aged 74.

24th: Gibraltar’s international goalkeeper Dayle Edward Coeling, who at the time plied his trade with Irish club Glentoran, made Fifa’s Team of the Round, following a truly herculean performance for his country in the 3-0 World Cup qualifier loss to Norway at the Victoria Stadium.

26th: Wales are confirmed as rugby union’s Six Nations champions when closest opponents France were sensationally beaten 23-27 in Paris by Scotland.

27th: Gibraltar was the venue as Londoner Dillian Whyte avenged last year’s surprise defeat to Alexander Petovkin in the Rumble on the Rock rematch, impressively stopping the Russian in the 4th round.

APRIL

10th: Three weeks after becoming top rider at the Cheltenham Festival, Rachael Blackmore created further history by becoming the first female to win the Grand National, the Tipperary girl giving a masterful performance on board 11/1 shot Minella Times.

11th: Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to win a Major title, sparking wild celebration in his native nation when the 29-year-old donned the famous green jacket of The Masters at Augusta.

25th: Manchester City created history when winning the Cariboo League Cup for the fourth time in a row, beating woeful Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in a disappointing Wembley final, at which Covid-19 restrictions had been lifted sufficiently to allow 8,000 spectators to attend..

MAY

3rd: Mark Selby won his fourth World Snooker Championship, the 38-year-old Leicester man comfortably defeating Shaun Murphy 18-15 at Sheffield’s Crucible. 

11th: Manchester City are crowned Premier League champions with three games to spare when nearest pursuers Manchester United are beaten at home by Leicester, making it mathematically impossible for Pep Guardiola’s brilliant side to be caught.

15th Leicester City won the FA Cup for the first time, beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final at Wembley.

26th: Heartache for the Red Devils as Villareal snatch the Europa League Cup from Manchester United’s grasp after an unforgettable 11-10 penalty shootout in the final at Gdansk, Poland.

29th: Underdogs Chelsea win their second Champions League title, stunning Manchester City 1-0 in the final in Oporto, Portugal.

JUNE

5th Adayar wins the Epsom Derby at 16/1, giving jockey Adam Kirby his first success in the classic.

12th Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic was a surprise winner of  the French Ladies Tennis Open, beating Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.

13th Peerless Serb Novak Djokovic roared back from two sets down to win the French Men’s Open, his 19th grand slam, overcoming Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic five-set final.

20th Spanish golfer Jon Rahm nets his first major title when winning the US Open at Torrey Pines.

JULY

10th Australian Ash Barty was crowned Wimbledon Ladies champion beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in an entertaining three-set final.

11th: Novak Djokovic claimed his 20th Grand Slam when capturing  the Wimbledon Men’s title, outpointing promising Italian Matteo Berrettini in a four-set final.

Heartbreak for England as Italy come from behind to win the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 final at Wembley, the Three Lions succumbing on penalties after extra-time, their old bogey, spotkicks, once again proving their downfall.

18th: American Collin Morikawa captures the British Open golf championship at Royal St George’s with an impressive 15-under par total taking him two shots clear of the field.

Lewis Hamilton overcame a 10-second penalty, imposed  for a shunt that put chief rival Max Verstappen out of the race and taken to hospital, to controversially win the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone.

23rd: The 2020 Summer Olympics finally got underway in Tokyo after being delayed for a year by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

August

7th: South Africa rather fortuitously sealed a 2-1 series win over the touring British and Irish Lions with a gritty 19-16 victory in the final Test in Capetown.

8th: The curtain came down on the Tokyo Olympics and, despite the restrictions imposed to combat Covid-19 resulting in mainly spectatorless events, there were many sparkling performances. Team GB equalled the total medal haul of 65 achieved in the London 2012 Games.

11th: Chelsea added the European Super Cup to their Champions League title, beating Villareal at Windsor Park Belfast. The match had ended 1-1 after extra time and the Londoners held their nerve to pip the Spanish side 6-5 in a bottom-clenching penalty shootout.

25th: Fondly remembered as Lord Ted, former England cricket captain Ted Dexter passed away, aged 86.

SEPTEMBER

5th: Gibraltar celebrated as local rower Jack Prior helped Team GB win the European U23 Eight Rowing Championship in Kruszwica, Poland.

The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics concluded with Team GB amassing an outstanding haul of 124 medals, a total that saw the Brits finish second in the overall medal table, behind China but ahead of both the United States and Russia.

11th: Bromley schoolgirl Emma Raducanu astonished the tennis world by winning the US Open, the 18-year-old qualifier incredibly capturing the title in New York without conceding a single set in her fairytale 10-match run to glory.

12th: Russian Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s brave bid to win all four slams in a calendar year when beating the great Serb in straight sets in the US Open final.

19th: One of football’s brightest stars was extinguished as England and Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves passed away, aged 81.

26th: Team USA trashed Europe 19-9 when regaining the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, serving ominous notice that Uncle Sam’s youngsters look assured to arrest Europe’s dominance of recent years.

OCTOBER

9th: Tyson Fury survived two 4th Round knockdowns to stop  Deontay Wilder in the 11th in Las Vegas, completing a  clean sweep for the Gypsy King in the fight trilogy between the two warriors. Surely there won’t be a Fury-Wilder-4, they’re catching up Rocky!

10th: France come from behind to beat Spain 2-1 in a high-quality Euro Nations League final in the San Siro, Milan.

26th: Revered Rangers and Scotland ex-player and manager Walter Smith passes away, aged 73.

NOVEMBER

11th: Steven Gerrard announced as Aston Villa manager after a very successful spell resurrecting Glasgow Rangers’ fortunes.

14th: Australia win cricket’s ICC T20 World Cup for the first time, chasing down a record target of 179 to beat neighbours New Zealand in the final in Dubai.

Word by Roger Shrapnel


How do you define the values of a sport?

We all understand the concept of fair play in sports, but the international rugby community has always prided itself on something more than just that. Defining those values is difficult but worthwhile and a number of rugby organisations, from the national bodies and unions down to individual clubs, have taken the time and effort to do just that, especially over the last couple of decades as the concept of ‘rugby values’ have become more, well, valued. This has given us a rich variety of value sets across the rugby planet, each with their own cultural take on the matter but, by and large, they are generally similar. 

Incidentally, one of the beauties of having a consistent set of values across the globe is that no matter where you end up, if you want to play or watch rugby you will be doing with likeminded people who will welcome you, even if you’re wearing the opposition colours!

So what are these rugby values and how do they fit in with rugby in Gibraltar?

Recently, Gibraltar Rugby Football Union underwent a restructuring programme and, as part of this, they set down their own set of rugby core values using the acronym R.I.D.E.; Respect, Inclusion, Discipline, Enjoyment. And on the surface of it, that sounds quite neat, but it is worth considering the impact of these values and their effect, not only in rugby but in the wider community that lives on the Rock and beyond.

The enjoyment experienced by the participants, coaches and many volunteers that make up Gibraltar rugby could be regarded as the ‘pay-off’ of the other three elements that make up the GRFU’s rugby values system. Certainly, given the numbers and recent growth, not just in players but in qualified coaches as well, there is plenty of evidence that people are enjoying themselves. On a Saturday morning you will regularly see around two hundred children, from 2 years old to under 17s, training and playing on the rugby pitches at Europa Sports Complex.

The GRFU is rightly proud of these numbers and it is the inclusiveness that you see in rugby which helps drive this. Rugby is often said to be a game for all shapes and sizes so any new player that turns up is welcomed with open arms. The sport is very good at finding your special talent or strength and developing it so that you become an essential part of the team. It runs deeper than that though. Go to any rugby club and you will not only find that range of body types and skill sets, but a massive diversity of people. Most teams will contain young bucks and seasoned campaigners. Coppers rub shoulders with students. Senior managers will share a pint with shop workers. You see this with the youngsters as well as they develop social networks outside of the usual school and family environment as they learn to play alongside and rely upon each other in a game.

It goes without saying that a lot of this only works with a degree of discipline. Rugby is a physically and mentally demanding sport with many specialised skill sets. The players have to be mindful of this and how they apply themselves, both in training and in the game. The reward here is that they will improve as players and develop as individuals. Rugby is often held up as a bastion of good sportsmanship and a lot of that can be attributed to the discipline and respect shown on the pitch, not least to the referee and the laws of the game. There is a wonderful story of a referee awarding penalty against a 120kg international player during a game where the player responded with a meek “Sorry, sir.” 

Respect is very much entwined with the values outlined earlier; respect for the referee but also to the opposition. Rugby has a great tradition of both teams applauding each other after the final whistle and sharing a drink with your opposite number in the clubhouse bar. 

Respect isn’t limited to just the pitch; with rugby’s natural drive to socialise, it spills over into other areas of a participant’s life. With the recent increase of both community and environmental awareness across society, volunteers from all sections are regularly involved in charitable endeavours to improve the world around them, respecting their environment and the people in it. Rock Scorpions raised money during the 2020 Movember prostate cancer awareness campaign whilst other individuals have tapped into the natural generosity of the union membership to raise money for other worthwhile causes like the Sepsis Trust or the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Benevolent Fund. The Mini and Youth section have been particularly active in this area where the players and parents have worked on more than one occasion with the Nautilus Project on environmental improvement works, like local beach clean-ups, and fundraisers for Childline.

 At a recent coach development course, where the GRFU brought in academy coaches from a Rugby Premiership club in England, the lead coach talked about developing players, especially young players, as people, not just rugby players. This is very much part of the culture within Gibraltar Rugby. Long may it remain that way.


Gibraltar’s U19s make their International Futsal Debut

Gibraltar’s Under 19s made they competitive international debut, at the beginning of November, as they hosted their UEFA U19 Futsal Euro Preliminary Round Qualifying Group at the Tercentenary Sports Hall.

Group B in the Preliminary Round, drawn earlier on in the year, would throw up North Macedonia and Montenegro as Gibraltar’s U19 Futsal Euro opponents. Interestingly, two nations who have visited the Rock in the past in various other UEFA competitions, both in football and futsal. 

Before a ball was kicked, Montenegro were arguably the pre-tournament favourites, and as had been decided by the draw, they would be up against Gibraltar first, in other words a baptism of fire for the Group hosts in international U19 Futsal. 

However, under the expert guidance of Gibraltar’s Futsal Head Coach Jose Carlos Gil Prieto, Gibraltar got off to a flying start. Spurred on by the noisy and raucous home crowd, Gibraltar were 2-0 up after 11 minutes and indeed went into the half time break 2 up. In the second half Montenegro U19s had calmed down and began to show their class. As the game developed the visitors scored 6 unanswered goals to lead 6-2. A late rally by Gibraltar saw the U19s pull one goal back to meaning their first ever international was an extremely positive 6-3 defeat. 

The second match of the tournament saw Montenegro beat North Macedonia 2-0, justifying their tag as pre-tournament favourites, meaning they clinched Group B and progressed into the main qualifying round of the UEFA U19 Futsal Euro.           

That meant the final game of the group, North Macedonia v Gibraltar was a straight shootout for second place. Once again Gibraltar’s youngsters took the lead, however this time their opponents, North Macedonia, hit back immediately and began to stamp their authority in the game racing into a 4-1 lead. With 5 minutes to go Gibraltar wrestled back the initiative pulling a goal back and immediately deploying their ‘flying’ goalkeeper. What followed was a 3-minute onslaught on the Macedonian goal, but chance after chance was squandered and wasted by the hosts. 4-2 the final score to the visitors. 

Despite the two losses, Gibraltar’s U19s have plenty of positives to take from their international bow. Many for the players in the squad are still young in the U19 age category so they will get a second chance at this level in two years’ time and their performances have proved that they can look forward to a bright futsal future!     

The Gibraltar football launches two historic partnerships for the Gibraltar National League

in Features

Last month, ahead of the start of the domestic club football season on the Rock, the Gibraltar Football Association announced the launch of two initiatives aimed at developing the image and raising the profile of the Gibraltar National League. 

The first of these two initiatives is a partnership with Footters, a live football streaming platform who have live online coverage of multiple leagues from Europe, South America and beyond. An integral part of the deal struck between the Gibraltar FA, and Footters is that every match in the National League this season will be broadcast live and completely free of charge. Therefore, to watch all of the Gibraltar National League, supporters just need to register on the site, or download the Footters app and sign up, and click on match of their choice. 

Further information, including how to go about signing up for the streaming service, can be found on the Footters website :https://play.footters.com/category/1/9

The second initiative is an extension of the excellent work being carried out by the Gibraltarian marketing company, The Bulb, on behalf of the Gibraltar FA to also incorporate the National League.

Consequently, the Gibraltar National League will now develop its own brand identity and social media presence. The initiative is aimed at helping the League and the Clubs to develop their social media visibility and online presence, much in the same way as The Bulb has been able to do with Gibraltar’s national teams. 

Speaking about the new initiatives, the Gibraltar’s FA’s General Secretary, Ivan Robba, said: 

“These two initiatives are the start of a great step forward in domestic football in Gibraltar. 

Not only have we begun an exciting new season in the Gibraltar National League, but we also embark on a whole new journey in which these two fantastic initiatives are aimed at taking the League on the next level in terms of international visibility and I am very pleased that the Gibraltar FA is helping our league and clubs in this way. 

Footters are the market leaders in our region in relation to online streaming solutions for leagues that are not bought up by huge TV companies. Simply having the Gibraltar National League on their platforms will open up a whole new, massive potential audience that would never have got to see local domestic football in the past.  

“The Bulb  are a modern and dynamic Gibraltarian Marketing Agency who have worked with us for several years now and have been integral in  revolutionising the  Gibraltar FA’s digital platforms and the visibility of our national teams. This expertise will now become available to the National League and our Clubs, so it promises to be a very exciting 2021/22!” 

Dylan Trenado, CEO of The Bulb commented: 

“I am extremely proud to extend our relationship with the Gibraltar FA and I am delighted that Gibraltar’s Football Clubs and Gibraltar National League have placed their trust in us. 

As a company we are extremely excited to begin this journey in raising the image and profile of the Gibraltar National League to a level it deserves. 

We hope that this is just the start of long-term relationship and with the amazing team at The Bulb, I am sure that it’s a partnership that will flourish.

On a personal note I couldn’t be prouder to form part of this historic agreement and, along with the backing of my team, the hard work is already under way to ensure that by working together with the Gibraltar FA, the GFLA and our clubs, we can take Gibraltarian domestic football on to new and exciting heights.

Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers enjoy another successful International Super Masters Competition.

in Features/Sport Insight

Gibraltar’s walking footballers travelled to Denmark in August as the reigning International Super Masters 65+ Champions, after triumphantly winning the previous tournament in 2019 in Paris. 

The global Covid 19 pandemic meant that Gibraltar were unable to defend their title in 2020 as the annual tournament was postponed for a year given various lockdowns across many countries and the travel restrictions that have been in place. Actually, the postponement meant that Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers reigned as International Super Masters Champions in the over 65 age group for two years. 

Covid 19 has had some wide-ranging effects on many global tournaments and sporting events, many of which have been cancelled, shelved, and completely removed from international calendars. As soon as the Super Masters was rescheduled for 2021, Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers were determined to travel to Copenhagen safely, to defend their title. 

Yet for the majority of the Rock’s Walking Footballers, competing internationally is just a bonus and something to look forward to. Their twice weekly sessions using the facilities at the Bayside Sports Complex and the Victoria Stadium are much more important. For them, walking football provides a much-welcomed opportunity to exercise and take part in physical activity and do so in the sport they love and have loved for so many years. 

Furthermore, there is also a very important social side to Walking Football.Over a post session coffee tales and anecdotes from their younger days are frequently recounted and always with smiles and laughter across the faces of the footballers. 

As they left this August for the Danish capital though, defending their title was firmly on their mind, “Ready to go” one team member told the local press whilst previewing the tournament. They also had their eyes on the two other events in the over 65 category, the penalty shoot-out and the running event in which they would compete in for the first time. One thing was for certain, Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers had not lost any of their competitive edge!  

In the main event they were once again one of the standout teams in the tournament which was played in a 5 aside round robin format, somewhat similar to futsal, with matches lasting 15 minutes Despite a valiant effort Gibraltar were toultimately finish runners up to Wales. 

The running event, which was a first for our over 65’s saw them put in another valiant performance, finishing in 3rd place, but the best was yet to come. 

The third event in Copenhagen was the penalty shoot-out. With Eric Abudarham in goal, reigned supreme! The victory meant that they had finished in 3rd place or higher in allthree events they entered in Copenhagen, so overall hugely successful and proud week for Gibraltar’s walking footballers.  

Speaking after the tournament Gibraltar Walking Football Chairman, Eddie Guerrero, who was in Denmark said: 

“I am extremely proud of the performance of all my players and coaching staff in the three competitions that we participated in the Copenhagen Tournament. The hard training and preparation carried out prior to our departure for Copenhagen paid dividends and it demonstrated once again that despite our small catchment area we can compete with the best. We now look forward to the next international tournament to be held in Zurich in May 2022.”

 

WHAT IS WALKING FOOTBALL? 

Walking Football is a different version of the beautiful game.
Walking Football is a walking pace version of football for men and women.  It is a non-contact activity where any player who sprints, runs or jogs while the ball is in play concedes a free-kick to the other team.

HOW WALKING FOOTBALL IS PLAYED
• Running is not allowed. A participant always has to have one foot on the ground.
• Matches are played with modified formats (5v5/6v6) on smaller pitches with shortened game times
• It is a non-contact version of the game.
• The ball cannot be kicked above head height.
• There is no heading of the ball.
• The focus is on fun and making friends.

The full travelling party to Copenhagen consisted of: 

Players: Abudarham Eric, Baglietto Frank, Federico Eliott, Figueras Victor, GuerreroEddie(Player/Manager), Lugaro Hector, Martinez Diego, Moudden Mohamed, Pecino Jaime, Perez Jimmy, Sene Andy, Zammit Charles.

Accompanying Members: Ghio Luis, Fortunato Charles, Langston Albert.

Travelling officials: Gibraltar FA Delegate: Asquez Leslie, Physiotherapist: Mitchell David, Manager: Guerrero Eddie, Asst Manager: Britto Gerry, Coach: Stych Roy, Assistant Coach: Field George, Contingent Coordinator: Beltran Dennis, Match Delegate: Reyes Jon, Referee: Jones Dennis. 

The Gibraltar FA Academy is officially launched

in Features/Sport Insight

The Gibraltar FA is delighted to have officially launched its latest initiative aimed at the development of future generations of local footballers – the Gibraltar FA Academy.  

For the first time ever, all youngsters who want to play football, whatever their skill levels and abilities, will register with the Gibraltar FA Academy, instead of the Associations club members, which has been the case up until now. 

The first Gibraltar FA Academy cohort will begin in September 2021 for all children who are entering Reception and Year 1 this academic year. All other young footballers will remain with their clubs as per last year. 

The Academy, which is open for all children, (boys and girls), will run in conjunction with school years, so the children attending will be enjoying their football with their friends, as opposed to potentially being split up into the more traditional footballing age groups.  Sessions, which will will run in line with the school calendar, will take place on Wednesday evenings and Sunday Mornings, at the Victoria Stadium.  

A key part of groundwork that has been done, prior to launching the Academy, has been an in-depth recruitment process, overseen by the Gibraltar FA’s Technical and HR Departments, to ensure all the new Academy coaches are trained in basic first aid and safeguarding as well as have passed all the relevant local authority (Royal Gibraltar Police) vetting procedure. This is over and above the standard coaching badges and qualifications that each Academy Coach is required to have. 

The Gibraltar FA and its Club Members believe that every child should have the right to participate and play football, regardless of their individual skill level and ability, free from pressure of any kind placed upon them. Therefore, the new Academy will begin the process of setting each youngster off on their footballing journey, where they can hopefully progress and develop their talent and one day fulfil their footballing dream whilst simultaneously and simply allowing each child to have fun whilst playing football. All of this will be carried out in a safe and inclusive environment in which all children will learn the basics of our game.

An integral part of the Gibraltar FA’s commitment to youth development, the Academy is the product of a year-long collaborative process between the Association, Gibraltar’s football clubs and other stakeholders within the football community.

The Gibraltar FA’s General Secretary, Ivan Robba, is thrilled to have been able to launch the project:

“The establishment and launch of the all-new Gibraltar FA Academy is a hugely important step forward for youth football in on the Rock. It represents a shift in focus and a whole new approach towards the way in which our youngsters will begin their footballing journey. Young footballers will now enjoy learning and playing football, regardless of their ability, and their skill levels and this is something all of us involved in Gibraltarian football have been striving to achieve for many years.

I am particularly pleased that the Academy brings together the sterling work that has been carried out over the past year by ourselves at the Association in close co-operation with our Clubs, who have always been instrumental and hugely important in youth football in Gibraltar. This project shows everyone that the football community, as one, is pulling in the same direction, and the right direction, to ensure our children and our children’s children can have the best possible opportunities to learn and enjoy the beautiful game that we all love in a safe, comfortable and fun filled environment.”

The Gibraltar Football Associations summer camp comes back with a bang!

in Features/Sport Insight

The Gibraltar Football Associations’ Summer Camp came back with a bang this year, with over 150 children between the ages of 5 and 12, taking part the two week-long programme of fun themed football activities.

As a result of COVID related restrictions, the 2020 edition of the annual Summer Camp had to be cancelled. However, with youth sport up and running once again, the Gibraltar FA set out an ambitious plan to make the 2021 edition the best summer camp yet!  

Planning for the Summer Camp began well over three months before its scheduled start date of the 12th July. Key to everything was a planned and targeted recruitment drive to secure a team of motivated, enthusiastic and skilled coaches to deliver the sessions at the camp. In fact, all of the selected coaches not only had to prove they had their relevant coaching licenses, but they had to attend safeguarding and basic first aid courses as well as go through a Royal Gibraltar Police ‘vetting’ process to. 

Once all of the Coaching staff were in place, a number of preparation seminars were arranged by the Gibraltar FA’s Technical Department, led by Desi Curry the Association’s Technical Director, along with Laura McGinn the Gibraltar FA’s Women’s Football Manager and Jansen Moreno who has recently become the new Football Development Officer.  These seminars set out the clear plan for the two weeks of the camp, with each day mapped out, giving each of the coaches the preparation they needed to deliver an enjoyable footballing experience to every youngster at the camp. 

Another first for the 2021 edition of the summer camp, was the move to online registration, allowing parents to register their children digitally, free of charge and from the comfort of their own home.  Registrations were opened up on the 1st of June and within 48 hours the camp was oversubscribed!

As the children arrived at the Victoria Stadium for the start of the Summer Camp, on the 12th July, they were met by Gibraltar FA staff who signed them all in individually and directed them to their relevant areas, groups and sessions. Another main difference this year saw the move to split the children up into their school year groups as opposed to their traditional footballing age groups. This move proved to be extremely positive as it ensured that not only were the children attending grouped with other children of the same age, but most importantly with their friends, giving them a greater opportunity to enjoy themselves and have fun at the camp.  

Furthermore, not only were the children enjoying their football with their friends and classmates, they were doing so on the new recently re-laid pitches at the Victoria Stadium! The brand-new surface on the Stadium’s main pitch is a state-of-the-art and FIFA certified. 

The long overdue upgrade on Pitch 2, which has seen the same surface installed as on the main pitch, is just the start of the Association’s long-term goal of developing all footballing infrastructure on the Rock. 

One of the key aspects to the children’s enjoyment of the summer camp was the Friday ‘Jumping Castle Day’. Bouncing castles were brought in to give the children something else to enjoy during their time at the camp and this added feature proved to be a huge hit amongst all of the children present.  

Another innovation in this year’s edition of the camp was the installation of a giant football recycling bin, following the theme of the dolphin recycling bins that can be seen at Gibraltar’s beaches. With the need for all the youngsters to remain hydrated at all times, the Gibraltar FA has always been acutely conscious of the fact that it is not always easy for children to ensure they bring a reusable water bottle on a daily basis, or indeed every time they play football at one of the facilities at the Victoria Stadium. Therefore, the new recycling bin, which had been produced in conjunction with Selina Ltd, already provides an excellent collection point for any single use plastic that needs to be disposed of at the Stadium. All coaches at the summer camp were actively encouraging any of the youngsters in attendance to make use of the bin should they need to, as well as stressing the importance of recycling any single use plastic. 

Speaking at the conclusion of the camp, the Gibraltar FA’s Technical Director Desi Curry was extremely delighted with the 2021 edition and already looking forward to exciting new initiatives on the horizon for youth football on the Rock: 

“I am extremely grateful to all the staff who meticulously planned the event for well over three months to ensure we were totally prepared. Each and every one of our 25 strong coaching team and all of our extra on-site support staff who we have had have been amazing. We have been very pleased to be able to welcome over 150 children, on a daily basis, for the two weeks of the camp in a fun safe and inclusive environment for them to enjoy playing and learning about football with no pressure on them at all. As a result, we have now set the standard in terms of the quality of the sessions and Coaching camps that the Gibraltar FA can put on and this Summer camp is just the beginning of a whole new programme for youth football that will develop over the next few years in Gibraltar.”  

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