Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

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.

Day 1

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,
    Albert Cumbo. 
  • 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.

Day 2 

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. 

The final 

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.”

First Gibraltar Team to compete in the Gothia Cup

in Features

The Gothia Cup is the world’s largest youth football tournament and for the first time ever a team from Gibraltar will be travelling to Gothenburg, Sweden to take part in the international tournament taking place from Sunday 16th to Sunday 23rd July. 

The tournament has been organized since 1975 by professional football club BK Häcken. The trip has been made possible with sponsorship from Pär Magnus Roos, who became the owner of Europa Point FC just over a year ago. 

The tournament is so much more than football. There will be opportunities for the under-14s team consisting of between sixteen to eighteen players from Gibraltar to meet people from all over the world, including Australia, Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and North America and for them to make lifelong memories and friendships

The youth team will be travelling with two trainers: Kai Soithongsuk and Luke Timmins. When not training or competing, they will have free time to explore what is on offer in one of Europe’s premier event cities and to take advantage of some of the wonderful sights and activities available in Gothenburg. 

Head of Youth at Europa Point FC Martin Falkeborn says that the kids are very much looking forward to the tournament.

Padel to the Metal

in Features

Staying Active and Socialising with a Fun Racquet Sport

As we age, it can become more challenging to stay active and find activities that keep us engaged and socializing with others. This is where padel comes in – a fun and accessible racquet sport that’s perfect for older people in Gibraltar.

Padel is a sport that combines elements of tennis and squash, played on a smaller court surrounded by glass walls. The sport has become increasingly popular in Gibraltar in recent years, and it’s not just for young people. Older people are also discovering the joys of padel, with many finding it to be an ideal way to stay active and socialize with others.

One of the great things about padel is its accessibility. The smaller court and slower pace of the game make it easier for older people to play, even if they haven’t played a racquet sport before. Additionally, padel is a low-impact sport that’s gentler on the joints than other sports, making it an ideal option for older people who may have joint problems or other injuries.

Playing padel can also have significant health benefits for older people. The sport is a great cardiovascular workout, helping to improve endurance, agility, and speed. It also requires players to use their brains, improving cognitive function and reaction time. Padel is a perfect way to keep both the body and mind active, which is essential for maintaining good health as we age.

But perhaps the most significant benefit of padel for older people is the social aspect of the sport. Padel is typically played in doubles, which means players are constantly communicating and working together as a team. This fosters a sense of camaraderie and community that extends beyond the court. Many older people find that playing padel provides a great opportunity to meet new people, make friends, and feel part of a community.

Fortunately, there are many places in Gibraltar where older people can play padel. The Gibraltar Padel Tennis Association’s (GPTA) state-of-the-art facility at the Bayside Sports Complex offers coaching sessions and tournaments for players of all levels, including older people. There are also other venues around the Rock that offer padel, making it easy for older people to find a place to play.

In conclusion, padel is an excellent sport for older people in Gibraltar who want to stay active and socialize with others. With its accessibility, health benefits, and social aspects, padel is an ideal way to stay engaged with the world around us, meet new people, and have fun while doing it. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to try something new, padel is a sport that everyone can enjoy regardless of age.

It’s just like tennis, except fun, easy and totally unpretentious.

Where did Padel come from? 

The roots of padel are found in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1969, when a businessman, Enrique Corcuera, adapted his home squash court to integrate elements of platform tennis, which is essentially a slightly edited, smaller version of tennis that can be played year-round.

Playing on the new court, Corcuera created something he called Paddle Corcuera.

As the story goes, Corcuera would invite friends over to play his newly invented game. One of them, Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a Spanish prince, was so inspired that he decided to build two courts of his own in his home town of Marbella, in 1974.

Half a century on, padel, as it is now known, is played by more than 25 million people worldwide, and is recognised as one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.

Are padel and tennis balls the same?

A tennis ball has a diameter of between 6.54cm and 6.86cm. A padel tennis ball, meanwhile, has a diameter between 6.35cm and 6.77cm.

Where to play padel? 

Gibraltar is luck to have a  number of courts on the here on The Rock. With Padel being the the no2 sport in Spain and over 22,000 courts through out the country there are many options across the boarder. Courts in in Gib can be found at Sandpits Giibraltar (Gibraltar Sandpits Lawn Tennis Club) and the Bayside Sport Complex.  

What are the rules? 

Padel is scored in sets of six games, with two games difference – or a tiebreaker if the game is split. Best of three sets wins the match and the serve is always underarm.

The Benefits of playing

Besides the fact that it’s easier than tennis, there are plenty of health rewards to be reaped:

  • • It improves cardiovascular fitness
  • • It helps build core, glute and leg strength
  • • It improves balance
  • • It improves coordination
  • • It improves mental focus
  • It helps ‘delay mental ageing as it requires constant concentration and change of tactics’
  • It’s a great form of social interaction

Padel Gear:

  • A padel racket (these should be provided at your local club, but as they’re usually made of plastic and foam, they’re super affordable for any of you who would like to invest in your own)
  • Depressurised balls (slightly smaller than tennis balls)
  • General activewear
  • Padel or clay court shoes (these may not be essential, depending on where you play – standard trainers can also work)

For more information visit:

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Resilience Through Sport Sessions Delivered with The Mindspace Project to St Joseph’s Upper Primary School Year 3 Pupils. 

The Gibraltar Football Association and The Mindspace Project teamed up to deliver a resilience through sport session, to the Year 3 pupils, at St Joseph’s Upper Primary School during the March International Window as part of the school’s Project Week.  

The aim of the morning’s activities, which took place at the Europa Point Sports Complex,was to encourage the children to believe in themselves and demonstrate how when approaching anything that they may find themselves faced with, adopting a positive mindset with belief in themselves, they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

The sessions were run by Gibraltar FA Coaches and experts from the Mindspace Project’s Team and began with the children being divided into groups. First up the pupils were involved in various activities that encouraged them to trust each other and work as a team. 

The Mindspace Project then got the children to think about how their different feelings when they achieve something they have been striving for, and conversely and how they feel when they don’t achieve a particular goal or target, they may be setting themselves. With interaction a key part of the sessions, the pupils discussed theirspecific feelings and learned how to train their minds to transform negative thoughts into positive ones and alsohow to help their friends and classmates deal with any of their negative feelings.

The children were inspired to have a positive outlook and to believe in themselves and their abilities. Through the activities and using football as a vehicle they were shown and learned the importance of teamwork and the power of positive thinking. 

Another key part of the morning was the emphasis on the value of perseverance and how it is essential to overcome all obstacles and achieve success. This is something that is key to any footballer becoming successful in his or her career. 

The Gibraltar FA is committed to empowering children through sport and encouraging them to develop important life skills such as resilience, teamwork and positive thinking. The session with St Joseph’s Upper Primary School was a great success and the children left feeling motivated and inspired. The Association is committed to activities like these will continue to work with organisations like the Mindspace Project to do all it can to empower Gibraltar’s youngsters and help them realise their full potential whether it be in a sporting environment or in their general lives. 

Gotheborg visits Gibraltar

in Features

The world’s largest ocean-going wooden sailing ship will arrive in Gibraltar for the first time

Gothenburg, 10 February 2023 – The ship Götheborg of Sweden, the world’s largest ocean-going wooden sailing ship, today announced that Gibraltar will be the second stopover on the ship’s European Tour 2023. It is the first time the ship visits Gibraltar. Götheborg will be in Gibraltar 6 – 9 April and will be moored at the Mid Harbour Marina.

Götheborg of Sweden is a unique replica of an 18th century Swedish East India Company merchant ship that sank outside of Gothenburg in 1745. The replica took ten years to build and was launched 20 years ago, in 2003. In 2023, the ship is sailing in Europe and invites people to sail along as deckhands on board or visit the ship while in port.

Coming from Sète in the south of France, Gibraltar will be the second stopover on the European Tour 2023. After the stopover in Gibraltar, a long and adventurous sailing leg through the Straights of Gibraltar, along the coast of Portugal and across the Bay of Biscay is waiting.

“We are delighted and proud to welcome the magnificent ship Götheborg to Gibraltar for the very first time”, said Vijay Daryanani Minister for Business, Tourism & The Port – HM Government of Gibraltar. ” We are now looking forward to the opportunity for visitors to board and experience the Götheborg before she sets out through the Straits of Gibraltar to head north.”

The ship will be moored at the central location Mid Harbour Marina and will be open to the public during its stay in Gibraltar.

“ We have passed Gibraltar on two occasions before; last year after our stopover in Malaga and in 2007 on our way back to Sweden from China. Now we are excited to finally make an official stopover in this iconic place.”, said Kristoffer Bennis, Expedition Director at Götheborg of Sweden.

Last year, Götheborg of Sweden created great attention during her expedition. She made 13 stopovers in eleven countries across Europe. More than 60,000 people visited the ship during the different stopovers, and 500 people sailed with the ship as deckhands. One of the most noticed and publicised stopovers was London, where thousands of people greeted the ship as she sailed up the Thames and passed Tower Bridge.

Possible to sail along as a deckhand

As Gibraltar is announced as the second stopover on the European Tour 2023, the possibility to apply to sail along as a deckhand on board on the first and second sailing legs, from Barcelona to Sète, and Sète to Gibraltar, are opened up. A longer sailing leg consisting of the first six weeks of sailing has previously been published, with the possibility to sail along for free. With separate sailing legs being published, it is now possible to join just one sailing leg as a paying deckhand.

To sail the ship, a crew of 70 people is needed. About 20 persons are professional crew. The other 50 are deckhands, who are members of the public that sail along for the adventure, experience, and opportunity to learn how to sail an 18th century ship.

European Tour 2023

Götheborg will depart from Barcelona 20 March 2023, and head for its home port Gothenburg in Sweden where it will play a central part in the city’s 400-year jubilee at the beginning of June. The ship will make six stopovers during the 2023 expedition, and will invite visitors on board in ports, as well as offer the opportunity for people to sail along and experience sailing an 18th century ship.

Short facts: The ship Götheborg – history

Götheborg is a full-sized replica of an 18th century ship, that was owned by the Swedish East India Company, and that ran aground and sank outside of Gothenburg in 1745. In 1984 marine excavation of the original ship Götheborg was initiated and in 1995 the building of a new Götheborg was started. Eight years later, in 2003, the ship was launched, and between 2005-2007 the ship sailed the historical route to Asia and back. After that several expeditions around Europe were carried out, the latest one in 2015. In 2021 the ship sailed from Gothenburg to Stockholm and back, and in 2022 the ship sailed in Europe.

Cheltenham Festival

in Features/Sport Insight

COUNTDOWN to the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival is but a few dawns away, with the starter’s flag soon to be raised on the world’s most eagerly anticipated race meeting – four days of jumping paradise that takes place annually deep in the Cotswolds, when the best steeplechasers that Britain can field seek to repel the increasingly powerful Celtic challenge crossing the Irish Sea, an invasion that in recent times has simply annihilated local resistance, as evidenced a year ago when the final race of the meeting was run and the totting up done, the score in the Prestbury Cup challenge between UK and Ireland trainers was a thundering 18-10 triumph to the Emerald Isle, a tally just a tad more respectable than the 23-5 “greenwash” of the previous year.

From Aberdeen to Penzance, Belfast to Tipperary, Cardiff to the Isle of Man, they will travel in the tens of thousands, rail strikes or not, impatient, straining at the leash, destination Cheltenham, the charming spa town nestling at the foot of Cleeve Hill that annually hosts the world’s most  spectacular National Hunt festival – four days of pure punting pleasure, long in anticipation, have finally arrived, starting on Tuesday 14th and ending on St Patrick’s Day, Friday 17th.

Cheltenham prides itself on the reputation the town has built up over decades for Race Week, but that goodwill is under strain this year as racegoers face eye-watering accommodation charges, with hotels shamefully hiking prices for Festival week by a whopping 500percent. And on-course costs have soared as well, with the price of a pint of Guinness rocketing to £7.50. There were north of 300,000 pints of the black stuff reportedly sold at last year’s meeting – do the maths, that’s truly a tidy total sum indeed. No such accommodation costs for yours truly, as my wonderful and very generous big sister Maureen every year welcomes me into her house, which actually overlooks the racecourse – how lucky am I!

I have picked out six of the 28 races over the festival’s four days in which I will be waging war with the bookies, and these are my thoughts should any of you dear readers want to follow me in.

The Arkle Challenge Cup  

(Tuesday, 14th, 2.10 GMT)

Named after Arkle, indisputably the greatest steeplechaser of all time, this first championship race showcases the emerging talents of the top novices within the British Isles and has been won by some of the greats on their road to superstardom, hallowed names such as Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre. Nothing of that calibre line up this year, but JONBON, trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by legendary Irish punter JP McManus will be burdened with my grubby tenner to score for the home team.


(Tuesday 14th, 3.30 GMT)

Barring accidents or a possible lightning strike from one of the UFOs reportedly circling the globe, the second championship race of the festival will be won by CONSTITUTION HILL, the exciting English-trained youngster who some of the more excitable racing press journos have been attributing Pegasus-like qualities to, will further lift local gloom and undoubtedly be crowned Champion Hurdler, with Irish challenger State Man following the selection home but at some distance.

The Mares’ Hurdle  

(Tuesday 14th, 4.10 GMT)

Honeysuckle, one of my all-time favourite racehorses and winner of 16 of her 18 top grade races, had to be included in my six festival picks as this will be her final performance, with age appearing to catch up with the lovely lady recently and win or lose Honeysuckle will be off  for a date to mate with a top class stallion afterwards. Should “Honey” sign off as a winner on the course where she has won three Grade Ones, including two Champion Hurdles, there won’t be a dry eye at the festival, most certainly including my own.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase 

(Wednesday 15th , 3.30 GMT)

Prior to his last outing ENERGUMENE looked to be banker material to retain the festival’s third Championship race, the Queen Mother Champion Chase he won so decisively last year, but doubts have now crept in following a poor performance last time out when finishing only third at odds-on. However, I’m willing to give the exciting Irish flying machine another chance to redeem his previously sky-high reputation and resume winning ways.

The Stayers Hurdle  

(Thursday 16th , 3.30 GMT)

Beloved by the racing public as they  become increasingly familiar with and attached to the runners as the same horses keep turning up year after year – none more so than defending champion FLOORING PORTER, who is attempting to win the race for the third time in a row. Trained in Ireland by Gavin Cromwell (tricky surname for an Irishman), I’m very hopeful  of FP once again flooring the opposition up the punishing Cheltenham hill and achieving the hat-trick.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup   

(Friday 17th, 3.30 GMT)

The Gold Cup, Cheltenham’s blue-riband event and the ultimate steeplechasing prize, appears destined to once more cross the Irish Sea, according to most experts anyway, who the majority of whom are suggesting that hotpot Galopin Des Champs has only got to turn up to claim the crown, but, bravely or more likely foolhardily, I’m looking to English-trained BRAVEMANSGAME to cause the upset and spoil St Patrick’s Day revelries.

The Cheltenham Festival is far and away the highlight of my racing year, and having a small flutter adds bigtime to the experience, so may I suggest that the above six selections be placed in a multiple wager called a Heinz, (57 bets in total, hence the name). At 10p a bet the outlay comes to just £5.70, a modest sum that will add interest over all four glorious Festival days. Good luck whatever you back, bash the bookies and celebrate in the sun with cider in Casemates. Cheers, I’ll drink to that!

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Gibraltar FA February Mid-Term Camp proves another overwhelming success. 

With the February mid-term break now a feature in Gibraltar’s annual educational calendar, the Gibraltar FA’s Youth Development team set up a camp for children of all footballing abilities up to the age of 12 during the recent school holidays.

The camp run sessions every morning (expect the bank holiday Monday) during the February school holidays, at the Victoria Stadium, and saw over 300 children attend daily. 

Split into their school year groups, from Reception right up to Year 8, the children were able to enjoy fun themed football, mixing learning and competitive sessions, with the emphasis on enjoyment, all run by Gibraltar FA Coaches. 

In a change to recent camps, the mid-term camp was split into two with the younger children (aged to school year 3) taking part in the first of the morning sessions, and the older children (Years 4-8) attending the second session of the day. 

The camp also proved an excellent learning opportunity for the Gibraltar FA’s young new coaches, who were paired up with a more experienced colleagues to run the sessions allowing them to gain valuable experience. 

Additionally, amongst the coaches were current Gibraltar Internationals, such as Goalkeeper Dayle Coleing, all of whom proved to be a huge hit with all of the youngsters at the mid-term camp.  

The Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football Coordinator, Tiago Costa ,was thrilled with the way the week went, stating: 

“It has been a really good camp. We made some changes to our usual format in relation to splitting the camp up into two sessions but importantly, the kids have loved it, they have enjoyed it and they have all had fun which is the main thing! We are already planning ahead and looking forward to our Easter Camp which will take place in the next set of school holidays, and we can’t wait to see all of our young stars once again enjoying their football!”

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

A busy Start to 2023 for Gibraltar’s Referees and Match Officials 

Gibraltar’s Referees and match officials held their annual five-day FIFA Winter Camp, in January, on the Rock.

The Winter Camp, part of the continuous development of the Associations Refereeing Teams saw all Gibraltar Football League Match Officials taking part as well as selected other Gibraltar Referees and Referee Observers.

FIFA Referee instructor Alan Snoddy delivered technical presentations on incidents including upper body challenges, handball, persistent player misconduct and holding offences.

The five-day camp also focussed on the physical aspect of refereeing with FIFA Refereeing Fitness Instructor, Simon Berivik with YoYo/Ariet assessments, Sprint tests carried out alongside Fitness Theory and Analysis sessions.

Match situations that have arisen throughout the current season in the Gibraltar Football League were presented by the Gibraltar FA’s Refereeing Department as well as video analysis of three specifically arranged friendly matches that formed part of the camp.

This year, guest speakers featured prominently starting with Nadine Pardo-Zammitt and Siobhan Gregory who delivered a presentation on International Netball umpiring and the setup at the Gibraltar Netball Association

Current Gibraltar international, Scott Wiseman, was also a guest speaker at the camp, talking to Gibraltar’s Referees about a player’s perception of a referee and an officiating team.      

Speaking about the FIFA Winter Camp, the Gibraltar FA’s Referee Manager, Adrian Bacarisa, stated:

“Once a year we take the opportunity to hold a FIFA MA Course for referees. This is the fifth time that we have held such a FIFA supported training camp which has been held either abroad or in Gibraltar. These camps provide referees, assistant referees, referee observers and selected lower category referees the opportunity to live as a team spending five days together sharing experiences and team building. The camp also exposes them to more professionalism as we work on getting our match officials to be better and minimising mistakes.

This year,  a number of guest speakers took us through their own expertise providing a variety of topics increasing the knowledge and awareness of our match officials. I would also like to thank Gibraltar FAs U17 & U19 teams, FCB Magpies, Glacis Utd, Manchester 62 and Europa Point for providing teams to play friendly matches during this training camp.”

Gibraltar Match Officials FIFA Listed for 2023

Gibraltar has once again had four of its Match officials FIFA listed for 2023. The four match officials who have gained their international status are:

• Referee: Jason Barcelo

• Assistant Referees: Michael Mascias and Daniel Gomez

• Futsal Referee: Zyl Sheriff

FIFA listing means that the officials are able to officiate in International and European competitions.

All four were presented with their FIFA badges for 2023 by the Gibraltar Referees’ Committee Paul Grech and Gibraltar FA Referee Manager Adrian Bacarisa at last weekend’s Winter Camp.

International recognition is the pinnacle of every referees career and shows how much room for progression and development there is in perusing a career in refereeing in Gibraltar.  Anyone interested in becoming a referee can visit and start their journey in becoming either a football or Futsal Referee.


in Features/Sport Insight



(Feb 4th – aMarch 18th)

RUGBY’S revered event, the Six Nations championship, by some distance the sport’s most popular annual tournament, so beloved the capacity of all host stadia, whether it be Twickenham, Paris, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin, or even Rome, could be filled more than twice over such is the fervour this tournament engenders, kicks off on 4th February for a six-week celebration of the great game. This year’s championship has powerful added significance as it’s World Cup year and all six countries will be in action in the Webb Ellis Trophy starting next September in France.

Bookmaking opinion is split between France and Ireland as to which to make favourite for the Six Nations title, while Wales and England have both hit the panic button with last-minute sackings of their chief coaches – Wales welcome back tried and trusted Kiwi Warren Gatland following a disastrous last season that included defeats to perennial strugglers Italy and, astonishingly, a home defeat to second-tier nation Georgia, while Twickenham HQ’s patience finally ran out with Eddie Jones’ feeble excuses, replacing the Aussie serial apologist with popular ex-England star Steve Borthwick.

Looking elsewhere, history shows that Ireland struggle when burdened with the tag of being made favourite, as my financial scars over the years bear testament to, but, probably illogically, I’m tipping the Green Machine to be crowned champions, mainly because their two most dangerous opponents, France and England, have to come to Dublin’s fair city to wage war at the cauldron that is Fortress Aviva.

Must-Watch Juggernaut TV Clashes:

11th Feb – Ireland vs France
KO 15:15 (CET)

25TH Feb – Wales vs England
 KO 17:45 (CET)

11th Mar – England vs France
KO 17:45 (CET)

18th Mar – Ireland vs England
KO 18:00 (CET)


(April 15th – May 1st)

SNOOKER is going through turbulent times at the moment with troubling tales of corrupt match-fixing sweeping through the game and ten players banned by the World Snooker Tour, including Chinese star Zhao Xintong, who is ranked number nine in the world, so it follows that the World Championship, starting at the hallowed home of the sport, the Crucible in Sheffield on 15th April, will be under intense scrutiny as the giants of the game, defending champion ‘Rocket Ronnie’ O’Sullivan and last year’s beaten finalist Judd Trump, among other household names, seek to restore snooker’s reputation.

Winner of the Masters’ title in January, Trump boasts the best current form and is my tip to avenge last year’s final defeat at the hands of O’Sullivan, but write off the ‘Rocket’ at your peril!


(July 3rd – 16th)

WIMBLEDON 2023, minus Roger Federer – arguably the greatest player of all time, but indisputably the most stylish professional practitioner to have ever picked up a racquet – and with chief rival Rafael Nadal beset by injury woes as Old Father Time demands his dues, the road ahead for Novak Djokovic to claim his eighth singles title is clear, with the only possible obstructions being  the volatile and ill-disciplined Aussie Nick Kyrgios and beleaguered Daniil Medvedev who, by accident of birth, can expect a somewhat frosty spectator experience should authorities relent and allow the Russian to compete. The great and defiantly unvaccinated Novak will surely hold the trophy aloft on Sunday, July 16th.

In the Women’s Singles, Britain’s Emma Raducanu continues to disappoint since sensationally winning the US Open as an A-level student in 2021. Knocked out in just the second round of this year’s Australian Open, the charge against the Bromley girl is that there are too many distractions in her life, modelling commitments, multiple changes of coach etc, and becoming a multi-millionaire at such a tender age. This is Emma’s opportunity to recapture the magic that saw her stun the tennis world in New York two years ago, and emulate her idol Virginia Wade by winning Wimbledon in front of an adoring full house. Girl, would that blow the Centre Court roof off!


(July 20th – Aug 20th)

FOOTBALL came agonisingly close to ‘coming home’ for the men in both the Euros and recent World Cup before the scourge of the penalty shootout and Harry Kane’s ‘pigeon killer’ came into play to cruelly shatter Three Lions’ dreams, but no such doorstep stumble for the ladies on that glorious 31st July night at Wembley Stadium, when the Lionesses devoured Germany 2-1 to clinch their first Euro Championship.

And now for the big one – 32 nations, including England and Ireland, will take part in the FIFA 2023 World Cup Finals, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with the final scheduled for Sydney on 20th August. Defending champions, the United States are strongly fancied to retain the title, but if the Lionesses recapture the spirit of that unforgettable last night in July, then football may well be truly coming home.


(Sept 8th – Oct 28th)

FRANCE hosts the 10th Rugby Union World Cup which starts on September 8th, with the opening group game being an absolute awe-inspiring snorter, featuring the hosts taking on the mighty All Blacks – Les Bleus vs New Zealand – a pairing that could well be repeated seven weeks later, in the final itself. Of the nine previous world cups, southern hemisphere giants New Zealand and South Africa are tied with three triumphs each, with Australia successful twice, leaving England as the sole European winner, an historic victory gained in 2003.

France, as hosts, probably represent Europe’s best hope of repelling southern hemisphere giants, defending champs South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but Ireland, currently world-ranked number one, and a resurgent England should not be overlooked.


(Oct – Nov – Dates TBA)

INDIA hosts the ODI World Cup this autumn in the 13th edition of the competition, rearranged because of delays in the qualification schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, as the home nation, no surprise that they feature high on most experts’ lists as favourites to claim their third world title.

Recently crowned T20 World Cup winners England, unrecognisable from the side that were whitewashed by the Aussies in the Ashes Down Under just 18 months ago, pose the biggest threat to an India triumph, but never under-estimate the Three Roses’ recurring ability to throw in at least one wobbly among the googlies, as was perfectly illustrated by defeat to minnows Ireland in the group stage, a result that nearly wrecked their triumphant T20 campaign.

Traditional heavyweights, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan can never be discounted, so buckle up for an exciting finale to a stellar sports year.


in Features/Sport Insight



Darts supplied the year’s first world champion when Scot Peter “Snakebite” Wright won his second PDC World Open title and with it a cool half-a-million quid when beating Michael Smith 7-5 in the final at Alexandra Palace, London.


Australia complete a 4-0 humiliation of an abject England side in the Ashes cricket series Down Under.


Ash Barty thrilled an ecstatic Melbourne Rod Laver Arena when she became the first home  player since 1978 to win the Australia Ladies Open, beating American Danielle Collins in straight sets in the final.


Rafael Nadal roared back from two sets down to overcome Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in an epic 5hr-24min Australia Men’s Open final, giving the 35-year-old Spaniard a record 21st slam. Sadly, the tournament will probably be best remembered for the deportation of unvaccinated defending champion Novak Djokovic.


Round One of rugby’s Six Nations sees Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup, controversially edging out England 20-17 at Murrayfield.

Los Angeles Rams grab victory from the jaws of defeat courtesy of a last-minute Touchdown to pip Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in a thrilling NFL Super Bowl final.

The charming sport of Curling supplied Team GB’s total tally of two medals in the Beijing Winter Olympics, with gold coming in the Women’s final to add to the silver gained in the Men’s event the previous day.

The Carabao Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea produced a pulsating 0-0 draw with the Men from the Mersey clinching victory 11-10 in a bottom-clenching penalty shootout.


Australia and the world of cricket recoiled in disbelief at the news of the sudden death at age 52 of Shane Warne, universally acclaimed as the world’s best-ever spin bowler, following on from the passing of another Aussie cricket legend Rodney Marsh, aged 74, just a few hours earlier.

Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup when guiding A Plus Tard to victory, the historic event coming just three days after the Tipperary girl retained the Champion Hurdle crown aboard Honeysuckle at the festival.

France clinched the Grand Slam when comfortably brushing England aside in the Six Nations Championship in Paris, while Ireland lifted the Triple Crown when routing Scotland in Dublin.

Reigning world number one and holder of both the Australian and British Open titles Ash Barty shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement from the game at the tender age of 25.

Robert Milkins pocketed the £50,000 first prize when he beat Kyren Wilson 4-2 in an all-English final of the Gibraltar Snooker Open at the Europa Sports Complex.


Ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Irish-trained surprise packet Noble Yeats won the Aintree Grand National at odds of 50/1.

Scottie Scheffler lived up to his world number one ranking when easily winning the US Masters at Augusta, the 25-year old American donning the famous green jacket and trousering  an eye-watering first prize of 2.7 million dollars.


‘Rocket  Ronnie’ O’Sullivan pocketed his seventh World Snooker Championship title and half-a-million sterling when easily snookering Judd Trump 18-13 at The Crucible, Sheffield. 

It was deja vu on the double as Liverpool added the FA Cup to their Carabao triumph, with Chelsea again succumbing in the final, and once more the tie was decided only after a tense penalty-shootout, which the Men in Red won 6-5.

Heartbreak for Rangers in the Europa League Final, when the Glasgow giants were pipped in a penalty shootout by German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

Manchester City clinched their sixth Premier League title in spectacular fashion, coming from two goals down against Aston Villa to win 3-2 and consigning arch-rivals Liverpool to the runners-up spot.

More misery for Liverpool as the Mersey men falter in the Champions League Final in Paris, cruelly losing 1-0 to Real Madrid, despite totally dominating the game, but unable to beat inspired ‘keeper Courtois.

Racing legend Lester Piggott, the greatest jockey of all time, dies in a Geneva hospital, aged 86.


Wales seal their place at the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals, beating Ukraine 1-0 in playoff at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Legendary Wales rugby union flyhalf Phil Bennett passed away, aged 73.

Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick, 27, wins the US Golf Open at Brookline Massachusetts.


Spain’s Carlos Sainz triumphs in a thrilling F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina came from a set down to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon Ladies final.

Super Serb Novak Djokovic captures his seventh Wimbledon Men’s title, comfortably seeing off the challenge of volatile Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

Australian golfing sensation Cameron Smith won the 150th British Open at St Andrews, thrillingly coming from four shots down on the final day to lift the Claret Jug.


England were crowned UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 champions with a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory against Germany to win their first major title in front of a record crowd. 

Nothing could separate the sides after a physical first half, before Ella Toone’s outrageous chip put England ahead and blew the roof off Wembley. 

Germany found themselves back in it 17 minutes later though, as Lina Magull finally got past a stoic Mary Earps to take the game to extra-time. 

But substitute Chloe Kelly provided the decisive goal on 110 minutes, poking home from close-range before wheeling away in celebration in front of 87,192 fans. 


Premier League football kicks off earlier than usual because of the mid-season suspension owing to the Qatar World Cup. At time of writing I’m deliriously happy because my beloved Arsenal proudly sit atop the table, a full five points clear of nearest pursuer, defending champions Man City.


The sporting world united in grief at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaras, a mere 19, captures the US Men’s Tennis Singles title, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in the all-European final in New York.

Not a dry eye in the house, among the ladies anyway, as Roger Federer confirms his retirement after defeat in Laver Cup doubles with his close friend Rafael Nadal, a stubborn knee injury forcing the elegant Swiss to call an end to his stellar career.


Max Verstappen clinches his second  F1 championship when winning the Japan Grand Prix.


Heartbreak for England Women as they lose a dramatic Rugby Union World Cup Final 34-31 to New Zealand at Eden Park.

Better news next day as England triumph Down Under in Melbourne, when the Red Roses pruned Pakistan, comfortably capturing the T20 World Cup for the second time.

Qatar World Cup: November 20 – December 18

Another World Cup, this time it’s the turn of the footy boys to travel, and as I write the Wales and England teams are airborne, enroute to their date with destiny in the Middle East –  we wish both squads well  in their quest for glory.

1 2 3 9
0 £0.00
Go to Top