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Report By Eddie Guerrero.

 

On the 21st November a contingent from Walking Football Gibraltar departed for Tavira Portugal to play a set of friendly matches against the East Algarve Walking Football club. Two teams participated, a 60+ years of age and a 70+ years of age.

The following were selected for the 60+ squad: Michael Segovia; Joseph Lopez; Anthony Gingell; Anselmo Ochello; James Perez; Albert Cumbo; Mario Glynn; Mario Prescott; Frank Baglietto; Andy Sene. Manager: Brian Mañasco.

The following comprised the 70+ squad: Diego Martinez; Eddie Guerrero; Victor Figueras; Alex Marzan; Charles Fortunato; Gerry Britto; Mohammed Moudden; Hector Lugaro; Jon Reyes; Clive Beltran. Gerry Britto assisted by Eric Abudarham managed the side.

On Tuesday 22nd November each squad played two games of 20 minutes each with a water break after 10 minutes.

The 70+ side played first and in their first game they beat their opponents 1-0, the only goal was scored by Mohammed Moudden. This was a very competitive game which enabled each side to gauge the strength and weakness of each other. This game was a three touch affair which meant that on a fourth touch a free kick was awarded to the opposing side.

On the second game the Gibraltar side proved their superiority and beat their opponents 2-0, both goals were scored by Mohammed Moudden who once again was the most outstanding player on the field.

Then came the turn of the 60+ side. Again this was to be a 3 touch game. Both sides played a very cautious game sizing each other and trying to protect their goal. The game ended goalless. It was evident that the local side were a seasoned team that played together frequently and had adopted a very effective game of quick passing. Our team were individually more technical.

In the second and last game of the morning both teams got somewhat frustrated with the absence of goals and it became rather heated on occasions with the referees having to intervene and calm nerves. In the end another goalless affair. It was evident that much talking was to become necessary by the managers to calm nerves for the return match on the Thursday.

Our very own referee Dennis Jones and a local referee officiated on all the games. 

On Thursday 24th November the teams once again faced their opponents from the East Algarve Club. On this day and due to restrictions on the time allocation of the pitch at the Eduardo Mansinho Sports complex, they could only play one game of 20 minutes duration. On this day it was unlimited touch games. 

The 70+ side once again took to the field first. Their opponents were presumably short of a couple of players who had played the previous day and agreement was reached for them to field a new player who the previous day had played with the 60+ team, he was obviously under 70. He evidently made a difference in the run of play and he was the one who scored their only goal. But this did not deter our side and when our injured skipper was able to play in the second half the whole game changed and our team dominated until the end of the game. The game ended in a draw 1-1, our goal was scored by Mohammed Moudden who thus had scored all the goals from both the Gibraltar sides.

Our 60+ then faced their opponents. It was obvious that this side was stronger than the one that played on Tuesday. The game was a very friendly and sporting affair, the local side played a much superior game moving the ball very effectively and disciplined which resulted in them scoring two goals. Our team was unable to respond although a great move through the defence by Brian Mañasco was unlucky not to have reached the back of the net.  

Our visit to Tavira has thus been a very worthwhile endeavour  and it has given our squads much needed international opposition and a taste for what is to come in the future. The 70+ squad once again proved that they have reached a standard of fitness and tactical game that will enable them to ably participate in international games within their age group. Undoubtedly Mohammed Moudden was the most outstanding player of the 70+ squad and will be suitably recognised.

The 60+ squad had a very creditable performance and are now fully aware of the standard of opposition that they will have to face when they play in the Eurocopa next April. They played some outstanding moves in all their games and pride of place must go to Michael Segovia who in goal was robust and fearless.

Accompanying the contingent was Gabriel Benatar the Sports Therapist allocated by the GFA. Gabriel was indeed a guardian angel in curing all the aches and pains of all our gallant and ageing footballers. Thank you Gabriel and we hope to see you with us in the future.

Special mention must be made of the excellent work carried out by all our managers and coaches, namely Mario Prescott, Brian Mañasco, Roy Stych, Gerry Britto and Eric Abudarham who gave their all to prepare both squads. Also our secretary Charles Fortunato and our treasurer Albert Langston for their administrative endeavours to get us to Tavira and back. The contingent safely returned to Gibraltar on the 25th November. 

Our venture into Portugal could not have come to fruition without the financial sponsorship from the Gibraltar International Bank and the GFA. Without the continued sponsorship and GFA affiliation walking football would not be able to succeed and prosper in Gibraltar. The inspiration and encouragement from all the staff at the GFA headquarters has been fundamental in the success of Walking Football in Gibraltar.