The first blog on football in Gibraltar, up since March 2010
The draw for the 2013/14 Rock Cup has been made, with 21 teams hoping to win the trophy.
The 20 teams from the two senior divisions, as well as a Gibraltar Under 15 select side, make up the teams for the draw, as the eight Premier Division sides, plus FC Olympique, FC Magpies and Leo Parrilla FC get byes to the second round.
Pegasus vs Britannia XI
Cannons vs Lions Pilots
Sporting Glacis vs Boca Juniors
Mons Calpe vs Red Imps
FC Hound Dogs vs Gibraltar U15 Select
Pegasus/Britannia vs Olympique
Gib Phoenix vs Lions
Cannons/Lions Pilots vs FC Magpies
Lincoln vs St Joseph’s
Sporting/Boca Juniors vs College Europa
Glacis vs Leo Parrilla
Mons Calpe/Red Imps vs Lynx
Hound Dogs/Gibraltar U15 select vs Manchester 62
After todays draws in Nyon for the 2014/15 UEFA Under 17 and Under 19 preliminary qualifiers, both of Gibraltar’s youth teams will be preparing for trips to Ireland.
For the Under 17′s, they can look forward to facing the hosts, Scotland and the Faroe Islands between September 22 – 27.
Some of the Under 17 team could potentially then make the step up to the Under 19 team, who have to wait until November to go to Ireland, facing the hosts, Switzerland and Malta. Those matches are between the 13th and 18th of the month.
It was a proud moment for Gibraltar on Tuesday evening as they took part in their first ever UEFA international match.
After a successful Team54 campaign, Gibraltar became a UEFA member in May and faced Slovakia in their first game.
Slovakia are no pushovers. After all, they defeated Italy 3-2 at the last World Cup and progressed to the knockout stages at the expense of their opposition.
However, that was four years ago and this time round they failed to make it to Brazil. For this match, many players were rested including Martin Skrtel and Marek Hamsik.
Gibraltar’s team were facing a moment of history but it wasn’t full of unknown names as you may expect. Lining up for the Gibraltarians were ex-Premier League defender Danny Higginbotham and Barnsley’s Scott Wiseman.
The game started as many would expect, with Slovakia dominating and Gibraltar soaking up the pressure.
Freiburg’s Guede had an early shot superbly saved by the legs of Jordan Perez in the Gibraltar net, while at the other end Liam Walker had a long-range free-kick saved.
Half hour passed and it was still goalless, with Gibraltar perhaps surprising a few. The most impressive factor was the style the Gibraltarians tried to play, despite not getting much of the ball.
As the game edged towards the interval Slovakia had two great chances to take the lead. The first led to Daniel Duarte having to clear the ball off the line and a few minutes later a diving header went just wide- but the keeper would claim he had it covered.
Slovakia continued to press and create space but failed to really test Jordan Perez in the Gibraltar net. At half-time, it was goalless.
In the second-half the onslaught continued. Slovakia committed men forward, while Gibraltar did the opposite and defended strongly.
Substitute Kyle Casciaro had to make a very important block after Slovakia cut-back a free-kick, with the ball probably finding the net if he didn’t get in the way.
Slovakia striker Bakos forced another save from Jordan Perez, who was having a great game.
Unfortunately, Gibraltar winger Robert Guilling was forced to be stretchered off with 25 minutes to go.
The substitutes had been made and it was now down to the eleven men on the field to see out the game. A draw would be a remarkable result for the Gibraltarians and that was what they were close to achieving.
As the game entered the final stages, Gibraltar were still under the cosh but holding their own. Impressive performances from Jordan Perez and Danny Higginbotham had played their part hugely.
Perez was forced into another save from Sestak’s volley, then made another solid save to deny Guede, who was very impressive for the Slovakians.
3 minutes of time were signalled and Gibraltar were very close to a historic result.
In the 92nd minute, Slovakia had a chance from a corner which cannoned back off the bar.
The new boys survived and celebrated the 0-0 draw like it was a victory. Many expected Slovakia to record a comfortable victory but the boys from the rock were solid and disciplined at the back.
In their first game since joining UEFA, the Gibraltar National Team grabbed a very commendable 0-0 draw against Slovakia.
Jan Kozak’s team, comprised entirely of professionals despite the likes of Martin Skrtel and Marek Hamsik missing, could not find a way past Gibraltar keeper Jordan Perez, who alongside a defence of Scott Wiseman, Danny Higginbotham and both Roy and Joseph Chipolina, stemmed Slovakia’s attacking potency spectacularly.
For Allen Bula, he can be proud of the performance his team put in, especially when they spent most of the game having to defend from the Slovakians. The result will not only be greeted with great positivity in Gibraltar, but should also be taken notice of worldwide, especially when some may have presumed Gibraltar would be on the end of thrashing after thrashing after joining UEFA. Tonight proved that Gibraltar can hold their own against established nations, and that they aren’t simply ‘cannon fodder’ to the so called elite of UEFA.
For Gibraltar, the next major senior date is February 23rd, when the draw for the Euro 2016 qualifiers take place.
Gibraltar XI: Perez, Wiseman, Higginbotham, R Chipolina, J Chipolina, R Casciaro, Duarte, Walker, Guilling, Lopez, Priestley
Subs Used: Greene, Sergeant, Bado, K Casciaro
Ahead of Gibraltar’s first international friendly since joining UEFA, against Slovakia in Faro, coverage on the event, as well as sub-stories such as former Stoke and Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham making his international debut aged 34 has been notable worldwide.
Websites such as Sky Sports, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent have stories on the matter, whilst on a more global scale, sites such as Reuters, Latino Post and even the South China Post being amongst the sites giving column inches to the story.
Locally, the game has received the expected coverage in the likes of the Chronicle, Panorama and YGTV. However, the biggest coverage locally goes to GBC, who are showing the game live both on their TV channel, GBC HD, and online. The program starts at around 7:25pm, five minutes before kick off in the Estadio do Algarve.
National manager Allen Bula has picked his squad for the friendly against Slovakia, which will be Gibraltar’s first since joining UEFA.
The squad, which consists of 19 locally based players, also has three ‘English’ players, in Barnsley’s Scott Wiseman, Danny Higginbotham of Chester, and Adam Priestley, who plays for Farsley. San Roque CD’s Liam Walker, who played for Portsmouth last season, also makes the team.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Perez (Lincoln), Jamie Robba (Lynx), Kevin de los Santos (Manchester 62)
Defenders: Roy Chipolina (Lincoln), Scott Wiseman (Barnsley [England]), Ryan Casciaro (Lincoln), Matt Reoch (Manchester 62), Danny Higginbotham (Chester [England]) Jack Sergeant (Manchester 62), Joseph Chipolina (St Josephs), Yogen Santos (Manchester 62)
Midfielders: Liam Walker (San Roque CD [Spain]), Robert Guilling (Lincoln), Jeremy Lopez (Manchester 62), Daniel Duarte (Lincoln), Julian Bado (Lynx), Daylian Victor (College Europa), Kyle Casciaro (Lincoln)
Forwards: Lee Casciaro (Lincoln), Al Greene (Glacis) George Cabrera (Lincoln), Adam Priestley (Farsley [England]), John Paul Duarte (Lincoln)
The game against Slovakia kicks off at 6:30 PM local time (7:30 Gib time) on Tuesday 19th in the Estadio do Algarve in Faro, Portugal.
Match: Gibraltar vs Slovakia (Friendly Match)
Date: November 19 2013
Stadium: Estadio do Algarve
Kick Off: 18:30 local time
Gibraltar’s friendly against Slovakia on November 19 in the Algarve will be an historic occasion, as the men’s national team takes to the field for the first time as full UEFA members. Slovakia may be fairly unknown as a footballing nation in Gibraltar, outside the talents of Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel and Napoli’s Marek Hamsik, but they have a significant pool of talent at their disposal. This can be seen in the fact they have picked a squad entirely consisting of professional footballers, whilst also resting stars such as Hamsik and Skrtel.
Slovakia’s Last 5 games:
14/8/13 D 1-1 @ Romania
6/9/13 W 1-0 @ Bosnia and Herzegovina
10/9/13 L 2-1 vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
11/10/13 L 1-0 @ Greece
15/10/13 D 2-2 @ Latvia
Tomas Kosicky: 27 year old, currently at Novara Calcio in the Italian Serie B. Has never represented Slovakia, but has played for Catania in the Serie A.
Pavol Bajza: 22 year old, also based in Italy, playing for Serie A side Parma. Has represented Slovakia U21 on 11 occasions, but yet to play for the senior team.
Kornel Salata: 28 year old centre back, playing for Russian side Tom Tomsk on loan from FC Rostov. Has 24 caps for Slovakia, including an appearance in the 2010 World Cup vs Paraguay. Is part of the noticeable Hungarian population in Slovakia.
Martin Dobrotka: 28 year old who plays at centre back for Czech team Slavia Prague. Best known domestically in Slovakia for scoring a ‘Hand of God’ goal for Slovan Bratislava in 2009, as his team won 1-0 vs FC Nitra via his 89th minute goal. Played once for Slovakia in 2009, vs Cyprus.
Pavol Farkas: Also a 28 year old centre back, plays for Italian Serie B side Ternana, on loan from Chievo. Played once for Slovakia in 2006.
Lukas Stetina: 22 year old centre back, plays for Czech team Dukla Praha (a club perhaps known to Gibraltarian’s and Britons for this song by Half Man Half Biscuit). Played for Slovakia at Under 21 level, and was also formerly of Ukranian team Metalist Kharkiv.
Martin Juhar: 25 year old who can operate at full back or the midfield positions. Dobrotka’s team mate at Slavia Prague. Came through the ranks at MFK Kosice when Gibraltar manager Allen Bula was their Head of Football Development, Played for Slovakia at Under 21 level.
Viktor Pecovsky: 30 year old defensive midfielder who plays for MSK Zilina. Scored the winner in the away game at Bosnia and Herzegovina. Has ten caps for Slovakia.
Tomas Kona: 29 year old defensive midfielder who plays for Slovak team FK Senica. Has three caps for Slovakia, and also has experience in the Europa League.
Stanislav Sestak: 30 year old who can play as either a winger or striker. Plays for Turkish team Bursaspor. Sestak is formerly of VFL Bochum, scoring 28 goals over three seasons in the Bundesliga. Has 48 caps for Slovakia, scoring 12 goals in the process.
Karim Guede: 28 year old who can play central midfield or in the striker positions. Is a naturalised Slovakian international, having been born in Germany to a Togolese mother and French father. Five seasons in the Slovakian leagues allowed him to be picked for the national team, and the now SC Freiburg player has played nine times for Slovakia.
Tomas Dubek: 26 year old left midfielder, who won the Corgon Liga player of the season award last season for MFK Ruzomberok. Made his debut for Slovakia earlier this year against Liechtenstein.
Frantisek Kubik: 24 year old winger/striker, who plays for Arsenal Kyiv in Ukraine. Has experience playing in Holland and Russia as well, for ADO Den Haag and Kuban Krasnodar respectively. Played once for Slovakia, against Luxembourg in 2011.
Erik Jendrisek: 27 year old striker/winger who plays for German second tier side Energie Cottbus. Formerly of Schalke, Hannover and Kaiserslauten, he has played 34 times for Slovakia. Signed for SC Freiburg in 2011, just two days before they sold Papiss Cisse to Newcastle.
David Depetris: 24 year old, Argentinian born striker, who recently pledged his international future to Slovakia after five seasons at AS Trencin. Now at Turkish Super Lig side Caykur Rizespor, Depetris made his debut in the 1-1 draw against Romania. Scored 35 goals in 33 games for AS Trencin in the 2010-11 Slovak second division.
Jakub Sylvestr: 24 year old striker who plays for German second division team Erzgebirge Aue. Formerly of Dinamo Zagreb and Slovan Bratislava, Sylvestr has also played twice for Slovakia.
Filip Holosko: Possibly the most experienced player in this team, 29 year old Holosko is a striker who plays for Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig. Alongside 62 caps for Slovakia, Holosko has played for Besiktas in both the Europa League and Champions League.
Jan Kozak: 59 year old manager who enjoyed a solid career in what was then Czechoslovakia. Took over Slovakia in July 2013. Notably was the manager of MFK Kosice when Allen Bula was Head of Football Development. Played 55 times for Czechoslovakia, including the 1982 World Cup in Spain, and Euro 1980 in Italy, where he scored in the 3rd place playoff penalty shootout victory against the hosts. One of Kozak’s team mates for Czechoslovakia was Antonin Panenka, to whom the chipped penalty was given his name, after using it to win the 1976 European Championships.
In the final game of the Under 17 qualifiers, Gibraltar fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against hosts Armenia.
Gibraltar, who took the lead through Lincoln’s George Wink in the 15th minute, were leading most of the game, and it took two goals in the last 15 minutes for the host nation to snatch a result from Stephen Head’s team. Armenia’s goals came from Hovhannes Ilangyozyan and Hovhannes Panosyan, both of Banants Yerevan.
The result, and the performance to go with it, shows the incredible progress the Under 17′s have achieved in recent months, especially when you consider Armenia has a population of almost three million people, compared to Gibraltar’s population of under 30,000 people. This game will give the team confidence that they can beat teams that may be considered superior to them, and today marks a notable step in their development as footballers on the biggest stage.
The national ‘A’ team are set to play their first official game since joining UEFA; a friendly vs Slovakia in the Algarve Stadium on November 19, according to Slovakian FA.
Gibraltar, who are in Portugal on a training camp at that time, will ‘host’ Jan Kozak’s team in the stadium they will call home for Euro 2016 qualifiers, until the new stadium at Europa Point is completed.
Manager Allen Bula could have a full compliment of players to pick from, potentially including naturalised players Danny Higginbotham and Scott Wiseman of Chester and Barnsley respectively.
Edit* Since that announcement, a friendly against the Faroe Islands on March 1, at the Victoria Stadium, is also scheduled, according to Your Gibraltar TV. The friendly would come almost 3 years to the day since the 3-0 victory back in 2011.
In the second game of the Under 17 qualifiers, Gibraltar U17 fell to an 8-0 defeat against a strong England U17 team.
England, who are celebrating the 150th birthday of their FA today, saw Newcastle’s Adam Armstrong and Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke get doubles, whilst Liverpool pair Seyi Ojo and Tom Brewitt, alongside Isaiah Brown, also of Chelsea, and Fulham’s Patrick Roberts also scored in a comfortable win for the Three Lions, who are all but qualified from Group 7.
Gibraltar kept England out for 30 minutes, but a 30 yard effort from Armstrong led to a fairly regular stream of goals for a team filled with players at Premier League clubs. Despite the scoreline, Gibraltar will have learnt massively from the experience of playing against players of that level, which can only aide their development as players.
The final game for Gibraltar is against hosts Armenia, on Tuesday afternoon at 1pm Gib time.