Sport

Rugby Visitors

in Features/Sport Insight

A team from the British Army responsible for the Army’s physical fitness has spent a week in Gibraltar.

During their visit, the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) played Gibraltar Select in 15s Rugby Union, winning 52–17, before competing in the Gibraltar 7s Tournament.

Whilst on the Rock the soldiers also helped with a number of tasks at Bruce’s Farm — a residential rehabilitation centre.

A spokesman for the RAPTC, said, “Whilst they were primarily here for the rugby, they also tested their skills at Gunwharf Water Activity Centre with the speed boat and paddle boarding and did the Mediterranean Steps, losing items to the local macaques along the way. The entire team were left in awe during a tour of St Michael’s Cave.”

“We would like to thank British Forces Gibraltar for allowing us the opportunity to visit and we hope to be back in the future.”

The spokesman added that the Corps began life as the Army Gymnastic Staff in 1860 after the Crimean War, but its reputation has since grown due to its key role in developing and maintaining soldiers’ physical readiness for military operations.

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Annual Gibraltar FA Summer Camp proves an overwhelming success. 

Given the huge interest in previous editions of the summer camp, especially last summer post all  COVID restrictions, this year’s camp would be split in to two weeklong blocks. The split would allow parents to register their children for either week 1 or week 2 of the camp and consequently, from a participation angle, ensure that more children than ever would be able to take part. Within a couple of days over three hundred children had signed up!

Planning for the camp, including appointing coaches and delegates, as well as meticulously preparing session plans for each day began well before the July start date. This allowed the Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football department to call upon the services of players from Gibraltar’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams as part of the coaching team. Familiar faces such as Shania Robba, Joelle Gilbert, Jayce Olivero, Anthony Hernandez, Daliah Salah, Josie Cummings, Kayliegh Tellez and Mollie Karp all proved to be extremely popular faces with the youngsters.

All sessions at the camp were run according to the children’s school year groups. With the emphasis of the camp being on fun, irrespective of footballing abilities and enjoying football with no pressures attached, the children were able to do so in a comfortable and familiar environment with their school friends and colleagues.

This year’s camp also saw the introduction of the Gibraltar FA’s mascots Tarik, Barbara and Nelson, all of whom were named thanks to a hugely successful social media competition and the three of the mascots went down a treat with all the children loving them. 

The Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football Coordinator, Tiago Lino Da Costa, was thrilled with the response, turnout and feedback from the youngsters and their parents alike about the Summer Camp stating:

“We have had an exciting couple of weeks with a great turnout, a variety of age groups from reception all the way up to year 7. They have all enjoyed it which is the main thing and moving to Europa Point has allowed all the groups to be together and the parent close by to watch their children enjoying their football.”

The focus for youth football on the Rock now turns on to new and exciting programmes for youngsters as well as the September start of Gibraltar’s Youth Leagues.  

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

BUSY TIMES FOR All GIBRALTAR SQUADS 

June 2022 saw one of the busiest ever international windows for Gibraltar’s Men’s National Teams with seven international fixtures jammed into a 14 day period, four of which were away from home. 

The Men’s National Team were scheduled to play in four UEFA Nations League matches, in what was to be their debut in League C of the competition, having won promotion from League D in the 2020 edition of the Nations League. Four internationals in one window was also somewhat of a unique situation, owing to the changes made due to the winter world cup, as outside of major tournament finals, no European international window will usually feature four competitive matches. 

Georgia Away, North Macedonia at home, Bulgaria at home and then North Macedonia away was to be Gibraltar’s gruelling schedule of League C Group 4 fixtures for June, and despite two difficult away days in Tbilisi and Skopje, losing 4-0 respectively in both matches, the home games against North Macedonia and Bulgaria were huge positives. Unlucky not to win both, a 2-0 defeat to North Macedonia somewhat flattered the Macedonians with Gibraltar squandering the better chances. The second home game of the week was even better for Gibraltar as they dominated against the pre-tournament group favourites – Bulgaria.  Despite conceding a soft goal just on half time a second half Liam walker penalty secured a 1-1 draw with Gibraltar once again having plenty of chances to go on and win the game.       

Gibraltar’s Under 21s also has two of their three matches this June away from home and difficult away trips in the Netherlands and Wales saw them lose 6-0 and 2-0 respectively. However, like the Gibraltar’s National Team, 2 three days before them, they were to have their moment against Bulgaria U21s when they held them to a 1-1 draw at the Victoria Stadium. Ironically and identically, it was a second half penalty that sealed the draw which could have been so different if they had taken their chances. Nevertheless, the result was a tremendous one.   

For many nations, for many national football teams of any age group, for many football associations and federations, two home 1-1 draws in the space of three days may not be much to shout about. For Gibraltar and Gibraltarians all around the world it is the complete opposite. Two 1-1 draws, one in a senior men’s international and another at men’s U21 level are two results to treasure.

Bulgaria are the nation that produced Hristo Stoichkov, and his band of brothers who reached the semi finals of USA ’94. In more recent times they have been spearheaded by Dimitar Berbatov alongside Stilyan and Martin Petrov. Bulgaira are the team that were in League B of the previous edition of the UEFA Nations League. Gibraltar is a team, that in their eyes, should not be a problem for them. 

A country with a population of 6.9 million humbled by two draws in three days at the Victoria Stadium. And, in truth, when one looks back upon the two games Bulgaria can consider themselves fortunate to leave Gibraltar with two draws when arguably they should have left with two defeats. 

Gibraltar’s goal scorers, two offensive midfielders at different ends of their careers, Liam Walker and Dylan Peacock both clinically slotted away their spot kicks under the iconic gaze of the Rock of Gibraltar, however in these two ‘David versus Goliath’ fixtures the performances were team efforts with not one player in the Gibraltar shirt shirking responsibility, hard work, grit, determination or an ounce of passion in playing for their shirt, their fans and their country. Both results masterminded by Head Coaches Julio Ribas and David Ochello and their sensational backroom team and support staff.

Two draws. Yes, two draws, but for Gibraltar they mean more. In terms of the size of our nation, our population, our footballing infrastructure, the number of pitches available to us, these results simply should not happen. 

But football simply isn’t played on paper. It is played with heart, passion, desire and a willingness to pull on your nations jersey and simply give every ounce of energy, putting your body on the line, being first into the tackle, first to make that all important block. It’s blood, sweat and tears, and when this is combined with Gibraltarian grit and sheer determination to punch above our weight, anything is possible!  

Gibraltar FA launches its all-new schools coaching Team

in Features

The Gibraltar FA’s new School Coaching team has been visiting a selection of local schools in recent weeks, delivering fun themed football sessions tailored towards all schoolchildren no matter what their football knowledge and skill levels may be.

Under the guidance of the Association’s Football Development Officer, Scott Wiseman, the team includes Gibraltar Men’s National Team Players Jayce Olivero, Julian Valarino, Anthony Hernandez and Kian Ronan (absent from the photo) alongside Chris Ward, Jake Victor, Kaira Sene, Alan Martin and Dan Bent (also absent from photo). Players from the Gibraltar Women’s National Teams will be joining the programme shortly. 

The Association’s school team have begun regular sessions this term during daily P.E. sessions at Notre Damn Lower Primary School, Governor’s Meadow Lower Primar School, St Joseph’s Lower Primary School and Bishop Fitzgerald Upper Primary School with other schools around Gibraltar joining the programme in the new school year. 

As part of the programme the Gibraltar FA will be providing the schools with equipment such as footballs and bibs for their use. 

The Gibraltar FA’s Football Development Officer, Scott Wiseman said:

“We are delighted that our Schools Programme is up and running and I would like to thank the schools and the Department of Education for all of their help and assistance.

As the new school year starts in September, we want to be able to have our coaches visit all local schools, to make fun and enjoyable football an integral part of the P.E. curriculum, for children of all footballing abilities. And by using our Men’s and Women’s National Team players as role models all those aspiring young footballing stars of the future can enjoy being coached by our internationals as well as look up to and dream of one day emulating them.

I would also like to thank all of the teachers, at all of the schools we have visited so far, and those we are planning to visit in the future for the amazing welcome they have given all of our coaches and integrating our team into their P.E. sessions.” 

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. 

Cheltenham Festival

in Sport Insight

FOUR DAYS OF PURE RACING BLISS

SPRING has sprung, March has arrived and the Cotswolds is once again buzzing as it’s about to unveil the annual Cheltenham Festival, the finest four days of National Hunt racing anywhere in the world. Forget imposters Royal Ascot, Kentucky, Breeders Cup and Arc weekends – all pygmies that pull up short when pitted against this iconic extravaganza, a spectacular coming together in glorious friendly combat of the greatest jumping thoroughbreds of Britain and Ireland. With the spectre of Covid-19 receding and restrictions being lifted, the sold-out signs are already up, as punters in their thousands from all corners of the home nations and beyond prepare to partake in the annual pilgrimage to Prestbury Park and indulge their love affair with the sport of kings.

Twenty-eight races, seven on each of the four days, herald the intense rivalry between British trainers and their counterparts crossing the Irish Sea to duel for the Prestbury Cup, the prestigious prize awarded to the winning nation. Last year, the Brits were routed 23-5, and, if current betting shows are an accurate reflection, this renewal could well turn out to be more of the same.

Having a flutter adds immensely to the festival fun, and I have put together a bet involving the four championship races – the Arkle, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother and the Gold Cup – along with the ever-popular Stayers Hurdle. The wager is called a Super Yankee or, curiously, it is also known as a Canadian and consists of various combinations totalling 26 bets. Come with me while we have a look at the action, and good fortune if you choose to invest.

THE ARKLE 

(Tuesday 15th March – 15:10 CET)

OPPORTUNITY knocks for the novices of the jumps game to follow in the hallowed hoofprints of the immortal Arkle who this race commemorates, by far and beyond the greatest steed since Pegasus to fly a fence. While none of the current batch of youngsters is destined to attain such fame, this race offers realistic hope of victory to beleaguered British trainers who have routinely suffered ignominious thrashings by routinely falling under the flailing hooves of the Irish invaders. My selection EDWARDSTONE, trained by Alan King at Barbury Stables in Wiltshire, has been most impressive in winning his last four chases and I’m more than hopeful that “Eddy” can see off the visitors and produce a home victory – a rare event indeed!

CHAMPION HURDLE 

(Tuesday 15th March – 16:30 CET)

BEING an unashamed honours graduate of the Fred Flintstone Caveman Academy,  my views on female emancipation do not include giving lasses the leg-up on any selection carrying my hard-earned dosh, a stance that sees me perched on the horns of a double dilemma, as not alone will my selection be ridden in my favourite festival race by a jockette, but the beast itself is also a member of the fair sex. Fragrant HONEYSUCKE, yet to taste defeat in 14 races, will be ridden by lovely Rachael Blackmore and the pair, successful in this race last year, will be seeking to repeat the feat and retain the crown this time round. Not only was Rachael the first female to ride the Champion Hurdle winner but the Tipperary girl went on to secure the Top Rider prize over the four days, and a month later sensationally became the first woman to ride the winner of the Grand National. The pity was that due to Covd-19 restrictions this ground-breaking event was achieved in front of a virtually deserted grandstand. HONEYSUCKLE and Rachael  are short-priced favourites to do the double and should they be successful the famed Cheltenham Festival roar will carry all the way to Casemates.

QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE 

(Wednesday 16th March – 16:30 CET)

EAGERLY anticipated rematch between SHISHKIN, trained in England by Nicky Henderson and Energumene, the hope of Ireland, trained by maestro Willie Mullins, the pair having memorably  clashed at Ascot six weeks previously when SHISHKIN narrowly prevailed in a race described by legendary punter Harry Findlay as “the greatest ever”.  Well, I reckon Harry must have had a fair few quid on the winner to warrant such an accolade, but it was undoubtedly a fantastic spectacle and the prospect of the renewal quickens the pulse, a contest in which I expect SHISHKIN to confirm his superiority and keep the prize at home.

STAYERS LONG DISTANCE HURDLE 

(Thursday 17th March – 16:30 CET)

THE STAYERS – possibly the most popular race of the entire meeting, mainly because the same faces turn up year after year and the public get to know and love them. The classy CHAMP, another star trained by Nicky Henderson, has been burdened with my selection and I can picture the green and gold hoops of owner JP McManus coming late and fast up the Cheltenham Hill to scoop the pot.

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP  

(Friday 18th March – 16:30 CET)

THE CHELTENHAM Gold Cup, the holy grail of steeplechasing, is the highlight of final day of the festival. It’s dangerous to be dogmatic about which steed will hit the winning line first, as my bank account bears cruel testimony, but I believe beyond reasonable doubt the Cheltenham Gold Cup will once again be making the crossing to the Emerald Isle, but the burning question is which of the Irish legion of runners will be the victor. A PLUS TARD is the one for me. Hopefully, it will round off the last leg of our Super Yankee beautifully. And then it’s off to the bar. Cheers!

WHO WILL RULE THE ROCK?

in Features

Lee Prickman and Francis Becerra have been handed wild card places at the BetVictor Gibraltar Open in March.

The two wild cards, nominated by the Gibraltar Billiards and Snooker Association, will be in the field for the world ranking event which runs from March 24 to 26 at the Europa Sports Complex.

Tickets on sale now at www.buytickets.gi and it’s a fantastic opportunity to see many of the world’s most decorated players. The full line up will be announced in March.

The tournament has been running since 2015, when it was won by Hong Kong’s Marco Fu. Shaun Murphy, Ryan Day and Stuart Bingham lifted the trophy in the following three years, then in 2020 and 2021 the event was dominated by Judd Trump.

A spokesman for WST said: “We are thrilled to be heading back to Gibraltar, one of our favourite locations on the global circuit. After missing out on the trip last year it will be exciting to return, especially for the players who love the atmosphere and beaches of Gibraltar as well as the superb snooker venue.

“And for the fans it’s an incredible opportunity to see a wide range of the best cue kings on the planet. The full line up of players will be announced in due course.”

The Ministry of Sport is thrilled to host this event once again and promises to deliver a spectacular show for the spectators of this great sport.

This year’s tournament is the eighth and final event in the BetVictor Snooker Series which has been running throughout the 2021/22 season. The player who tops the unique ranking list for those eight events will earn a massive £150,000 bonus.

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.”

1 2 3 7
0 £0.00
Go to Top