Posted: 10/18/2018


         The Wild Bunch..the only wild troupe of Barbary apes in Europe, originally from the Atlas mountains, live at the top of the Rock of Gibraltar.

         A decade ago I took the frequent one hour ferry from Tangier in Morocco to Algeciras and then a short bus ride over the border to GIB.. You have to cross the airport runway, closed when there is an incoming or outgoing flight for the bus into town. Immediately on the right is Victoria Stadium, home to the local league and now to the national team after major improvements. Only a FIFA member for 2 years they had been forced by UEFA to play home matches away in Faro in Portuguese Algarve a four hour drive each way. That is where they won their first ever match, a friendly against Malta.

      In March they beat Estonia, also a friendly, at Victoria Stadium.. I have the official programme. However in a sensational 4 days they have now won two competitive matches in the lower reaches of the UEFA Nations League. The first was in Yerevan, Armenia with a late penalty for a 1-0 historic victory,ending a 22 competitive losing streak. and then at home to Liechtenstein 2-1 after falling behind. Its the first time they have ever scored twice .a much better record than Germany has IN ONE YEAR !!.. George Gabrera in the 61st minute followed by Joseph Chipolin 6 minutes later. Wild scenes on the Rock.

     There are plans to built a bigger stadium, with a capacity of 6,000 in the near future. In the 4th tier of The Nations League Victoria Stadium is sufficient, but what about future qualification opponents and fans from England, Holland, France, Germany etc?

     The Federation and the top clubs such as Lincoln Red Imps, Gibraltar United, College Europa receive huge amounts of cash from UEFA and FIFA to fund expansion, a proper office, training pitches and coaching staff, while the team are still part timers, policemen, customs officials, port workers and shopkeepers.

      At the moment they are in second place in League D, Group 4 after 4 matches to FYR Macedonia with nine points. They have 6, the same as Armenia, with Liechtenstein with 3. Next month they host Armenia and are away to FYR Macedonia in Skopje. Can they make it 3 wins in a row?