Monday, November 25, 2013

UEFA's newest and smallest member not along for the ride

November 19, 2013 will go down in the memory of all football fans from the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar as a day never to be forgotten as their side made their competitive debut with a 0-0 draw against Slovakia.Cheered on by around 500 fans who had made the trip of around 150 miles to the Portuguese city of Faro, where Gibraltar will play their home games until a new stadium is constructed on the Rock,wholesale Dsquared Long Sleeve T-Shirts sale from homepage. the Gibraltar side dug deep and held on for a famous result.Not bad for a team whose star players are former Stoke City defender, Danny Higginbotham and Barnsley defender Scott Wiseman, who made three appearances for the England Under-20 side, while the majority of the squad play in the Gibraltar Premier League.With a population of just 30,000 inhabitants, Gibraltar replaces San Marino (32,000) as the smallest nation to be accepted by UEFA, although as coach Allen Bula explained to Xinhua the day after that historic debut, that does create problems."There are about 600 registered players playing at senior level on Gibraltar,Lululemon Women's Pants but you have to narrow it down to see who has the quality to play in Europe and in reality I have a pool of about 60 to 80 players I can pick from," he said.Isuzu Auto PartsBula had been coaching in Slovakia with MFK Kosice when his country came calling and he admitted that despite the limited resources, he couldn't turn the offer down.A man used to bringing the best out of the youngsters with MFK Kosice, Bula is looking to implement a style of play which combines the best of Spanish touch football with the more rugged elements of the English game, that most residents in Gibraltar follow and watching their display in Faro, the message got though as his players pulled off tackle after tackle after their more physically imposing rivals.That could be because for Bula, simply accepting defeat because of your size is not an option and is not impressed by counties such as San Marino, who have only won 1 game in 118 attempts: a friendly at home to Liechtenstein and who have just 2 draws in competitive games. 

"Some people think it's OK for small countries, to lose, but I don't," he said. "I don't want a pat on the shoulder when I lose.canada goose jacket women I've got my targets and they are crystal clear. We're competing in Euro 2016 so that means at the end of the tunnel there is France and that is my aim.That European qualifying campaign marks the successful campaign by the Gibraltar Football Association, which was founded in 1895 and is one of the oldest in the World, to become the 54th full member of UEFA.The request to join FIFA, the governing body of World football, was rejected in 1997 and Gibraltar's attempts for full recognition have always met with opposition from Spain, which claims Gibraltar as its own territory.Successive attempts were turned down,Wholesale Lingerie Sexy Lingerie the most recent being in 2007, but in May this year UEFA voted in favor of granting Gibraltar full membership, an even which was celebrated by a half day holiday on the Rock.Gibraltar and Spain will be drawn apart in any qualifying competitions and the fact is Gibraltar are going to find qualification for any major competition to be extremely difficult, not just because of the limited pool of players and the fact that for the moment, they have to play in Portugal, but also because they will be bottom seeds in any qualifying group and will miss the chance to take on sides such as Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein etc.If they are to pull off what on the face of it would be a footballing miracle and qualify for France 2016, Gibraltar is going to have to do it the hard way, but Allen Bula has no doubts who he wants to face."I'd love England in the group, it would be a dream for us to play against England and play in Wembley and it would be a dream to play in Wembley and beat England," he said.Big words, but Allen Bula is a man and Gibraltar a team for whom merely taking part is not enough, they are here to compete and if their first game is an indication of anything, they will do that with courage and with dignity.

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