Tuesday 29 October 2013

Gibraltar to make senior UEFA debut in 3 weeks

Gibraltar will play their first official game as a UEFA member on November 19th when they take on Slovakia in a friendly at the Estádio Algarve in Portugal.

Venue..the Estádio Algarve.
The news was announced this morning by the Slovakian FA with the game set to be played in Faro due to the fact the UEFA standard stadium in Gibraltar is not yet completed standards yet and the complications of the Gibraltarians playing matches in Spain.

A kick off time is yet to be announced. Initially it was thought that Gibraltar's game against Estonia next March would be their first as UEFA members but it will now be versus the Slovakian's, a side who reached the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup.

Later today the Gibraltar Football Association announced another friendly, against the Faroe Islands on March 1st at the Victoria Stadium.

The Gibraltar under-17's are currently competing in UEFA's European under-17 Championship qualifiers in Armenia after the under-19's finished their maiden qualification campaign in the Czech Republic earlier this month.

Monday 21 October 2013

Football potentially back on the schedule for Micronesian Games

Against the odds football might be an included sport at the 2014 Micronesian Games which could result in the participation of a number of non-FIFA teams.
Rarity..a Pohnpei representative outing.

The games are being held in Pohnpei, one of the states of Micronesia, and in September the organising committee stated  football was under consideration provided enough teams are interested to play and a playing field can be prepared in time. 

Developments arose on Thursday when Charles Mitchell, president of the Palau Football Association, stated "I got a call from the Palau National Olympic Committee and they said football was on. They informed me to submit a budget and start training".

Should the rumours be true then Palau could find themselves up against hosts Pohnpei (formerly managed by Englishman Paul Watson) and fellow states Chuuk and Yap, but not the Micronesia national team. Guam, Kiribati and the Northern Mariana Islands are also potneital entrees.  

The games are to be held from the 19th to the 29th of July but ex-coach Watson was doubtful as to football being played when we interviewed him last year. In contrast to Pohnpei Palau have not played since 1998 and you can read our April interview with Mitchell here.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Tuvalu tour the Netherlands as they hope to grab FIFA's attention

For the past two months Tuvalu's national football team have been on a tour around the Netherlands playing a variety of lower-league Dutch club sides. In doing so they became only the third Oceanian team to visit Europe, after New Zealand and Tonga. 

Experience..the tour will prove valuable
For Tuvalu to even be in the Netherlands is a major achievement. The island nation has only one football pitch, and partly for this reason, they have never played a home match. 

That the tour is even happening is largely thanks to one man – Dutchman Paul Driessen. Paul is the driving force behind the Stichting Dutch Support Tuvalu (SDST), an organisation dedicated to developing football in Tuvalu and helping the Pacific country reach its target of FIFA membership.

Although Tuvalu attained independence in 1978 and has since frequently competed in the South Pacific Games, attempts to join FIFA have ran into difficulties. The governing body has repeatedly denied Tuvalu membership, citing a lack of infrastructure in Tuvalu (a regulation which, it must be assumed, other Pacific FIFA members are exempt from). 

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) have proved less than helpful in their own right – Tuvalu remains only an associate member of the organisation, with OFC showing reluctance to provide funding and support.

Hope...Tuvalu wait for FIFA membership
From a footballing perspective, the tour itself hasn't gone quite how the Tuvaluans would have liked. After opening with a 3-2 defeat against VV Nieuweschoot, they went down 10-1 to VV Wilhelmus in their second game. It took seven attempts for them to secure a victory, which came against the A1 (youth) team of VV Bredenrodes. Tuvalu went into a 3-0 lead by half-time, and eventually won the game 5-3. 

They put in some good performances since and scored some impressive victories, not least a 9-1 win over RKVV Tongelre in one of their recent games. One of the most consistent performers for Tuvalu through the tournament has been striker Alopua Petoa, who has contributed with a number of goals, although unfortunately full statistics are not available.

Tuvalu have two games left in the Netherlands, which take place against VV Elsendorp on 26 October followed by RKVV Oerle on the 31st. The tour will have proved a great learning experience for the Tuvalu footballers and served to raise awareness of their circumstances - they’re expected to formally apply for FIFA membership in the near future.

This article was written by Michael Peters. If you’d like to write for us contact nonfifafootballupdates@gmail.com.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Curaçao to host 2013 ABCS Tournament

Curaçao will be the venue for this year’s ABCS Tournament after non-FIFA side Bonaire pulled out of hosting the yearly event.

The 2013 finals will be played from November 16th-18th in Willemstad.

Venue...the Stadion Ergilio Hato in Willemstad
Citing financial problems Bonaire, who joined CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union in April, were initially rumoured to not be participating at all but they will travel to Curaçao along with Aruba and Suriname.

The Bonaire national team has only ever played internationally at the ABCS Tournament, which started in 2010, and despite being outclassed last year they were shock winners in 2011. 

They are expected to enter the 2014 Caribbean Cup after their recent acceptance by CONCACAF as associate members.

Friday 11 October 2013

Januzaj to represent Kosovo?

The Kosovo Football Federation have confirmed contact with Manchester United prospect Adnan Januzaj’s family in regard to the 18-year old representing the non-FIFA side at international level.

KFF general secretary Eroll Salihu said “we would be honoured to have Adnan represent us but we don’t want to put pressure on him”. Federation president Fadil Vokkri also went public stating “contact with his family has been made and we hope to speak to him, directly, very soon”.
Impression...Januzaj has been on good form this season
Ever since scoring twice against Sunderland in the Premier League recently Januzaj has been the subject of heavy conversation in England concerning his international availability. English national team manager Roy Hodgson has stated his interest and Belgium, the country of his birth, have already been turned down by the youngster on several occasions.
Turkey, Serbia and Albania remain other options but Kosovo is rumoured to be his first-choice despite the territory’s currently disputed status. Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri and Napoli player Valon Behrami are 2 of the many players who’d be eligible and have expressed interest in playing for a FIFA-recognised Kosovo team.
The Kosovar representative side have not played at international level since a 3-2 loss in Pristina to Albania in February 2010.

Thursday 10 October 2013

South Ossetia make international bow in Abkhazia loss

The disputed region of South Ossetia played an international for the first time last month when they travelled to fellow breakaway state Abkhazia for a friendly.

Unrecognized...the flags of the territories on a match poster
Both regions are recognised by only 5 countries, including Russia, who are viewed by Georgia as occupying the 2 areas. Abkhazia made their debut last year with 2 games against Nagorno-Karabakh and the proclaimed capital of Sukhumi was the venue for game on September 23rd.

In pouring conditions the hosts seized the initiative early on when Russian-based Almaskhan Dzheniya headed home an Astamur Tarba free-kick following some slack South Ossetian marking. Shortly before half-time Enrik Pilia was fouled inside the box and goalkeeper Aleksei Bondarenko stepped up to coolly slot home for 2-0.

Abkhazia failed to win in their 2 games against Nagorno-Karabakh last year but wrapped up their maiden victory when youngster Anrik Tania, fresh off the bench, took advantage of some more poor defending to make it 3-0.

Comfortable...Abkhazia cruised to victory
After the game veterans of the Abkhazian war were presented with gifts from the Abkhazia Football Federation and South Ossetia Chairman of the Sport Committee Sergey Zasseev stated “this is a historic date because in 20 years our teams have not met - this will forever remain in history”.

Information on such teams is hard to find and it is difficult to say when these teams will play next, however, a link to a short video which includes highlights of the game is available here.

Match information -

Score: Abkhazia 3–0 South Ossetia

Goals: Almaskhan Dzeniya ?, Aleksei Bondarenko ? (pen), Anrik Tania ?

Abkhazia XI: Bondarenko; Simonia, Ashuba [Chekirov ?], Khanagua, Khagba; Tarba [Tania ?],Tsishba; Dzhenia [Amichba ?], Khagba, Zaria; Pilia, Logua [Parulua ?]

South Ossetia XI: ?; Kabulov, Pukhayev, ?

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Developments in Gibraltar as UEFA debut approaches

The last few weeks have seen significant developments take place in Gibraltar, who became UEFA’s 54th member in May, as the British overseas territory prepares for its full international bow.

The Gibraltar Football Association recently confirmed 2 friendlies, both of which will mark their UEFA debut, with a double-header against Estonia arranged for next spring. The Baltic state are the only UEFA members who’ve played every other side on the continent and will travel to Gibraltar for a game at the Victoria Stadium on March 5th. The Gibraltarians will then visit Tallinn on May 26th for a return game.
Wise...Higginbotham has much Premier League experience

This news was preceded by a UEFA statement confirming that, from the 2014-2015 season, the Gibraltar Premier Division will be able to provide sides for both the Champions League and Europa League qualification rounds subject to the clubs having a European license. 

In more positive developments for the non-FIFA side former Manchester United, Southampton and Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham announced his availability to national team manager Allen Bula. Higginbotham qualifies via his mother and the 34-year old currently plays for semi-professional side Chester, who are in the 5th tier of English football. 

Monday 7 October 2013

CECAFA Cup returns to Kenya

Zanzibar will travel to Kenya for the 2013 CECAFA Cup which is set to be held in Nairobi this December.

Heroes...Zanzibar came 3rd last year in Uganda
The decision to hold the tournament in the Kenyan capital was announced last month, just 4 years after the nation last hosted the regional event.

Zanzibar are the only non-FIFA side that compete in the competition and shocked their FIFA rivals last year finishing 3rd, a feat they previously achieved the last time Kenya were hosts in 2009. 

The competing teams and groups are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.