Saturday 30 November 2013

Zanzibar hopes in the balance after Ethiopia defeat

Zanzibar's first meeting with Ethiopia in 6 years ended disappointingly as the FIFA side claimed a 3-1 win on group A's second match day of the 2013 CECAFA Cup to leave the islanders hopes of quarter-final qualification in the balance.

Defeated...Zanzibar have work to do in group A
After making the perfect start in their opening game Zanzibar made the worst possible one here with Fasika Asfan getting on the end of Shimekti Gogsa's right-hand cross to give the Ethiopians an early lead.

Things got worse for the islanders when key midfielder Suleiman Kassim limped off in the 16th minute although 10 minutes later Dereje Alemu was called into action as he turned away Adeyum Saleh's effort. 

Any hope Zanzibar had of a first-half comeback were ended when, in the 36th minute, Mohamaed Khatib upended Fantu in the box and 19-year old Saladin Bragecho coolly converted the penalty. 

Wazir Omar and Ali Badru both went close as the non-FIFA side exerted some pressure before the break but they went in at half time 2 behind.

Fantu missed a couple of openings in the second period but the game sprung into life in the 68th minute when substitute Seif Rashid crossed for Awadh Juma Issa who headed a goal back for Zanzibar.

Gogsa hit the post for Ethiopia with 10 minutes to go as the game opened up late on and substitute Yonatan Kebede extinguished Zanzibar hopes in the 83rd minute when he did headed home his own rebound to make it 3-1.

Zanzibar meet hosts Kenya in their last group game at 16:00 (13:00 UK) on Tuesday. Juma's goal today could yet prove crucial in determining whether the non-FIFA side can make the quarter-finals as one of the best 3rd-placed teams.

Match information -

Score: Ethiopia 3-1 Zanzibar

Goals: Ethiopia - Fasika Asfan 5', Saladin Bragecho 37' (pen), Yonatan Kebede 83'. Zanzibar - Awadh Juma Issa 68'.

Zanzibar XI: A. Rashid; Bakari, Wazir, Rajab, Khatib; Makame, Kassim [S. Rashid 16'], Ali [Othman 88'], Juma; Adeyum [Mohd 87']; Badru. 

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Zanzibar win CECAFA Cup opener after announcing new FIFA intentions

Zanzibar made a solid beginning to their 2013 CECAFA Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over South Sudan in Nairobi earlier today after announcing new plans to join FIFA.
Anthems...Zanzibar (in blue) before the match.

The non-FIFA side made the perfect start in Nairobi when a cross from the left channel was misjudged by goalkeeper Jumma Genaro and 29-year old midfielder Suleiman Kassim was on hand to knock the ball into the unguarded net.

Kassim’s last Zanzibar goals came at the 2012 VIVA World Cup where he scored against Raetia and Provence and the non-FIFA side continued to control possession in midfield after the opener.

FIFA’s newest members were looking threatening on the counter attack however and began to dominate play before half time. Despite this they failed to test Rashid Abdalla and Zanzibar went in at the break with their slender lead.

South Sudan continued to dominate after the break and in the 51st minute Khamis Leyano was twice denied by Rashid with headed efforts. The pressure continued and 2 minutes later striker Jacob Osulu nodded narrowly wide.

Zanzibar managed to weather the storm and in the 67th minute they doubled the lead when substitute Adeyum Saleh Ahmed fired a volley first-time beyond the dive of Genaro.

However the islanders took their foot of the gas and just 5 minutes later South Sudan were back in the game. Another substitute, debutant Fabiano Lako, took advantage of some slack defending to half the deficit. was a close finale.
The goal was their first at the CECAFA Cup but they failed to seriously trouble Rashid in the latter stages as the non-FIFA side held on for a crucial 3 points.

The win comes the day after the Zanzibar Football Association announced plans to separate from the Tanzanian Football Federation with Steve Menary publishing this story

According to Menary a senior ZFA figure stated “we have new facts to prove to FIFA that inside Tanzania we have two separate football entities" despite the island receiving funding from the TFF to the tune of 5 million Tanzanian Shillings for travel to the CECAFA Cup.

Zanzibar take on Ethiopia next in group A meeting the Walias at 14:00 (11:00 UK) on Saturday.

Match information -

Score: Zanzibar 2-1 South Sudan

Goals: Zanzibar - Suleiman Abdi Kassim 5’, Adeyum Saleh Ahmed 67'. South Sudan - Fabiano Lako 74'

Zanzibar XI: Rashid; Bakari [Mkanga 78'], Wazir, Rajab, Khatib; Makame, Kassim, Ali, Juma; Mcha [Mohd 44' [[Saleh 62']]; Badru. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Zanzibar aiming for more heroics in 2013 CECAFA Cup

Zanzibar will travel to Kenya for the annual CECAFA Cup next week where they will meet the hosts, Ethiopia and South Sudan in a potentially tight group A.

Goalscorer..Mcha celebrates against Rwanda last year
Last year the non-FIFA side shocked the region to finish 3rd, seeing off mainland rivals Tanzania in the bronze medal match. Despite the unexpected nature of their performances last year Zanzibar are generally competitive at the CECAFA Cup and have reached the knockout stages at the last 4 finals.

The penalty shootout win over Tanzania in Uganda was their 3rd ever 3rd place finish and the core of that squad will be aiming for more heroics in Kenya. Striker Khamis Mcha scored 3 goals at last year’s finals and has 10 goals in his last 10 Zanzibar outings, including 7 at the 2012 VIVA World Cup.

The CAF associate members can also call up Zanzibari’s who play their FIFA international football, such as World Cup qualifiers, for Tanzania and thus include experienced defenders Aggrey Morris and Nadir Haroub in the team. The Tanzania Premier Leauge have given the Zanzibar FA 5 million Tanzanian shillings to assist with costs for this years trip to Kenya.

Masoud Nassor is an important player in the middle of the park and goalkeeper Ali Mwadini kept 2 clean sheets in Uganda last year. They have been drawn in a fairly tough group and the opening game against FIFA new boys South Sudan will likely play a big role in any Zanzibari progression.

We’ll be providing updates and reports from the tournament and you can check out a full CECAFA Cup preview for Sandals for Goalposts here. Zanzibar’s full group schedule is below.

27th November, Nyayo – Zanzibar vs South Sudan – 14:00 (17:00 UK)
30th November, Nyayo – Ethiopia vs Zanzibar – 14:00 (17:00 UK)
3rd December, Machakos – Kenya vs Zanzibar – 16:00 (19:00 UK) 

Thursday 21 November 2013

Catalonia and Basque Country announce festive friendlies

Catalonia and the Basque Country have confirmed their traditional festive friendlies for 2013 with the autonomous regions hosting Cape Verde and Peru respectively.

Friendly...the Basques and Catalans met in 2007
The Catalans will take on the African side, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona with a 19:00 kick off on December 30th.

The Federació Catalana de Futbol have chosen African opposition for the second game running, after drawing 1-1 with Nigeria in January, having stating that it was "impossible for logistical reasons" to play a South American or European team.

Basque Country will play for the first time at the new San Mamés after the home of Athletic Bilbao was opened in September. The visit of Peru on December 28th will mean the Basques will face a CONMEBOL side in successive years for the first time after they thrashed Bolivia 6-1 last December.

Both teams will be expected to include big name players in their squad. Barcelona stars Cesc Fàbregas, Xavi and Gerard Piqué will be among those likely to be included in the Catalonia team with Fernando Llorente, Javi Martínez and Xabi Alonso all having previously turned out for Basque Country.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Historic draw for Gibraltar in first UEFA game

Gibraltar produced a memorable performance to claim an historic draw with Slovakia in their first game as UEFA members in Portugal tonight. Despite creating numerous openings the 2010 World Cup qualifiers failed to score and Gibraltar gained a result which was just reward for their valiant defensive effort and composed play.

Heroes...Gibraltar before kick off
Unsurprisingly Slovakia dominated the opening exchanges but it was Gibraltar who, cheered on by 400 noisy fans, created the first opportunity in the 9th minute. A flowing move resulted in Jeremy Lopez releasing Adam Priestley who saw his deflected shot saved by Tomáš Košický.

2 minutes later Slovakia nearly opened the scoring when Freiburg midfielder Karim Guédé was given too much space in the box but Joran Perez saved well with his feet. The non-FIFA side went straight up the other end and after Priestley was fouled Liam Walker forced Košický into another save from the free kick.

The Slovakians dominated the rest of the half with Viktor Pečovský firing over in the 36th minute before Daniel Duarte headed a Jakub Sylvestr effort off the line. Despite the pressure Gibraltar stood firm and went in all square at the break.

The Slovakia pressure continued in the second half with captain Stanislav Šesták heading wide in the 55th minute. Pavol Farkaš tested Perez 5 minutes later before David Depetris curled a long-range effort narrowly wide. 

In the 81st minute Šesták came even closer when he volleyed towards goal from close range but once again Perez was equal to the effort. With 2 minutes to go the Lincoln stopper did well to deny Guédé. 

Veteran striker Al Greene had a chance to claim a sensational winner in the 89th minute but he fired over. Hearts were in mouths as Guédé rattled the bar in stoppage time after a corner but in the end Gibraltar hung on for a memorable draw and clean sheet.

Our exclusive gallery will be available on our Facebook page soon. Gibraltar are next in action in March when they host the Faroe Islands.

Match information -

Score: Gibraltar 0-0 Slovakia

Gibraltar XI: Perez; R. Chipolina (c), Wiseman, Higginbotham, J. Chipolina; R. Casciaro, Walker, Duarte [K. Casciaro 56’], Guilling [Sergeant 66’], Lopez [Bado 46’]; Priestley [Greene 66’].

Sunday 17 November 2013

Bonaire stun Aruba with second half comeback to claim bronze

A spirited performance saw Bonaire finish third at the 2013 ABCS Tournament after they won in normal time for only the second time in their history against Aruba yesterday. Two second half goals in 3 minutes from Ilfred Piar and Suehendley Barzey meant the non-FIFA side men upset the odds to conclude a fine campaign.

Solid...Bonaire defend and Aruba attack
Aruba won the event last year with Bonaire finishing a distant last and the FIFA side were favourites heading into the game. However in an even opening half few chances were carved out by either side, until Aruba took the lead just before the break.

A cross from the right channel was somewhat misjudged by Rugenio Josephia and veteran striker Maurice Escalona stooped to head home his 4th international goal.

Manager Rudsel Sint Jago made a triple substitution in midfield in the 66th minute and the decision had an immediate effect as Bonaire began to dominate play. Ramiro Coffie’s long-ball started life as a clearance but a slip in the Aruba defence allowed substitute Ilfred Piar to take one touch before firing past Eric Abdul.

Leader...Bonaire captain Rolando Janzen
The goal was Piar’s second for Bonaire and the shock turnaround was complete just 2 minutes later. On the back foot again the Aruba defence made another mistake which allowed Suehendley Barzey in. Barzey’s goal in the playoff final helped his club SV Juventus to the Bonaire title last month and he coolly finished beyond Abdul to make it 2-1.

Aruba pressed for an equaliser and Bonaire’s job was made harder when Real Rincon defender Igmard Gijsbertha received a second yellow card in the 83rd minute but they hung on for a memorable win. 

Over the two games the new CONCACAF associate members demonstrated that they are ready to mix it with the rest of the Caribbean. This may happen soon – the 2014 Caribbean Cup draw takes place next month.

Match information -

Score: Bonaire 2-1 Aruba

Goals: Bonaire – Ilfred Piar 74', Suehendley Barzey 76'. Aruba – Maurice Escalona 43’.

Bonaire XI: Josephia; Rodriguez-Vergara, J. Beaumont [A. Beaumont 83’], R. Coffie, Gijsbertha; Pauletta [Valenzuela 66’], A. Piar [Makaai 66’], Janga, Janzen [I. Piar 66’]; Barzey; L. Coffie [Seinpaal 55’].

Friday 15 November 2013

Brave Bonaire bow out to Suriname in ABCS semi's

Bonaire went some way to laying to rest the ghosts of last years 8-0 thrashing by Suriname as they bravely went down 2-0 in the ABCS Tournament semi-finals in Curaçao in a game they could have got something from.

Anthem...Bonaire before the match
After an even opening the FIFA side took the lead after 20 minutes. A corner from the right-hand side was poorly defended by Bonaire and SV Robinhood striker Galgyto Talea pounced for his first international goal.

The Surinamese stepped up the pressure after the opening goal and almost doubled their tally 5 minutes later. Joal Bajar released Giovanni Waal but the midfielder shot narrowly wide of Rugenio Josephia’s left-hand post.

After this chance the non-FIFA side began to find their composure and took the game to Suriname. Rolando Janzen fired wide from distance in the 35th minute before Ilfred Piar, who scored against Suriname in the 2010 ABCS Tournament, forced a fine save from Obrendo Huiswoud with a powerful free-kick.

Bonaire started the second half with similar enthusiasm but were dealt a sucker-punch in the 61st minute when striker Dimitrie Apai doubled the FIFA sides lead. Despite the setback Bonaire continued to play good football and had a glorious chance to claw a way back into the game in the 69th minute.

SV Juventus forward Giovanni Makaai was played in with only Huiswoud to beat but he hesitated and the goalkeeper was able to smother the ball. Apai went close again for Suriname but Bonaire kept focused and remained untroubled whilst failing to create further chances of their own.

A more than respectable defeat means the non-FIFA side will meet the losers of the second semi-final, between hosts Curaçao and Aruba, on Saturday night.

Match information -

Score: Bonaire 0-2 Suriname

Goals: Galgyto Talea 20’, Dimitrie Apai 61’.

Bonaire XI: Josephia; Rodriguez-Vergara, Beaumont, R. Coffie [Makaai 64'], Gijsbertha; Pauletta, Valenzuela [A. Piar 59'], Janga, Janzen; Barzey [Seinpaal 81']; I. Piar [L. Coffie 60'].

Wednesday 13 November 2013

3 England-based players included as Gibraltar name first squad as UEFA member

Gibraltar national team manager Allen Bula today announced his first squad for an international since they joined UEFA, including 3 players who ply their trade in England, ahead of next Tuesday’s clash with Slovakia.
Boss..manager Bula

Danny Higginbotham was the standout name with the former Stoke City defender, currently with Chester in the Conference, called up for the first time. Barnsley’s Scott Wiseman will also feature for the first time and is the highest-level player in the squad. Adam Priestley, of Northern Premier League Division One North side Farsley.

The core of the squad is home-based with captain Roy Chipolina, goalkeeper Jordan Perez and strikers Lee Casciaro and Al Greene all selected by Bula. Liam Walker, who spent last season at Portsmouth, is also in the side. In total there are 13 players from the last Gibraltar squad to play internationally at the 2011 Island Games.

The game against Slovakia will take place in Faro, Portugal whilst Gibraltar’s Victoria stadium undergoes work. The Slovakian's, who’ll be without Martin Skrtel and Marek Hamsik for the game, were somewhat predictable first UEFA opponents for Gibraltar as manager Jan Kosak previously worked with Bula at MFK Kosice.

Kick-off at the Estadio do Algarve as at 18:30 and updates will be available via our Twitter service as well as a report after the match.

Full squad - 

Goalkeepers: Jordan Perez (Lincoln), Jamie Robba (Lynx) and Kevin De Los Santos (Man United 62)

Defenders: Roy Chipolina (Lincoln), Scott Wiseman (Barnsley [England]), Ryan Casciaro (Lincoln), Matt Reoch (Man United 62), Danny Higginbotham (Chester [England]), Jack Sergeant (Man United 62), Joseph Chipolina (St. Josephs) and Yogan Santos (Man United 62).

Midfielders: Liam Walker (San Roque [Spain]), Robert Guilling (Lincoln), Jeremy Lopez (Man Untied 62), Daniel Duarte (Lincoln), Julian Bado (Lynx), Daylian Victor (College Europa) and Kyle Casciaro (Lincoln).

Forwards: Lee Casciaro (Lincoln), Al Greene (Glacis United), George Cabrera (Lincoln), Adam Priestley (Farsley [England]) and John Paul Duarte (Lincoln)

Monday 11 November 2013

Bonaire the underdogs ahead of 2013 ABCS Tournament

Bonaire will take to the field for the first time in over a year on Thursday when they meet Suriname in the semi-finals of the 2013 ABCS Tournament.

Base...Bonaire have been training at the Stadion di Playa
The competition was first held in 2010 and features 4 Dutch-speaking Caribbean teams, namely Bonaire and 3 FIFA members Aruba, Suriname and Curaçao. The latter will host the event in their capital Willemstad after Bonaire pulled out of staging the finals earlier this year.

Having recently been accepted into CONCACAF Bonaire will be looking to demonstrate their progress after a disappointing 8-0 loss to Suriname in last year’s semi’s, followed by a 9-2 thrashing by Curaçao in the bronze medal match.

In 2010 Bonaire also finished last but were shock winners in 2011 when they toppled Aruba on penalties to claim a sensational gold medal. Despite this they will start the 2013 as outsiders.

The team last year was mainly made up of SV Estrellas players, complimented by a handful from other clubs on the island. The side is expected to be more of a true representative one this time around as the Bonaire Football Federation cast one eye on the 2014 Caribbean Cup, the draw for which is expected to take place in December.

Rout...Romeo Jomena scores in the 8-0 thrashing last year
27-year old forward Kenneth Kunst will be the non-FIFA sides’ best hope of a goal with the former Netherlands Antilles international Bonaire’s record-scorer with 2, including 1 in the 2011 final. André Piar is capable of chipping in from midfield but the defence, where Rolando Janzen is key, is likely to be the most stretched area.

Prior to the 8-0 drubbing last year Bonaire also met the Surinamese in the semi-finals in 2010, when they put in a fine performance going down 4-2. However with a population of 17,000 compared to Suriname’s total of 566,846 an upset is unlikely, although the non-FIFA side have been training at their Stadion di Playa home in Kralendijk since October 28th.

Updates and reports on the scarcely documented competition will be available via our Twitter account and blog. 

Full schedule
Thursday 16th – Semi-finals: Bonaire vs. Suriname (20:00) and Curaçao vs. Aruba (22:00).

Saturday 18th – 3rd-place match and final.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Cyprus and Northern Cyprus unite after landmark FIFA meeting

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) today reached a historical deal following meetings with FIFA and UEFA in Zurich.

Unified...the two associations.
The landmark agreement saw the CTFA become a member of the CFA with the view to unify and develop football in both parts of the island.

Witnessed by Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini the document was signed by Cyprus Football Association (CFA) President Costakis Koutsokoumnis and Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) President Hasan Sertoğlu.

FIFA president Blatter took the Twitter to state that the "milestone" deal shows how football can “build bridges”. 

It is expected that Northern Cypriot clubs will now be able to compete in the Greek Cypriot leagues which have improved in recent years highlighted by APOEL Nicosia’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals in 2012.

It was initially reported part of the deal stated the Northern Cyprus national team, who have not played since the 2012 VIVA World Cup final, could now be able to play international friendlies against FIFA members. 

However later information from non-FIFA journalist Steve Menary suggested that this isn't the case, and that Northern Cyprus will be able to compete in the UEFA Regions Cup much like Jersey, Guernsey andn the Isle of Man have done before.

Monday 4 November 2013

After FIFA and Serbia meetings, the future: Team Kosovo

With the Football Federation of Kosovo having a meeting with both FIFA and the Football Association of Serbia in Zurich last week the possibility of a Kosovar national team once again rose to the attention of the international football community.

Meetings...the FFK met with FIFA
FFK president Fadil Vokrri and his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Karadžić agreed, with Sepp Blatter, to meet again at the end of November ahead of FIFA’s executive committee meeting on December 4th and 5th.

The world governing body announced in May last year that Kosovo would be allowed to play internationals against their members despite not being part of FIFA themselves, only to later revoke that decision after strong protests from the Serbian FA.

Big name players with Kosovar backgrounds, such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami, signed a petition in September 2012 asking Sepp Blatter to allow the Kosovo national side to play internationally.

Meetings and decisions on the matter were postponed until February of this year when FIFA announced that, as long as national symbols weren’t displayed, then Kosovar youth, amateur, women’s and club teams could play games.

Following the recent meetings, it seems Kosovo will be able to play in a similar way to the Catalonia and Basque teams which meet once or twice a year and ‘borrrow’ players from the FIFA-recognised nations they play competitive international football for.

Kosovo haven’t played an international since February 2010 when they lost 3-2 to Albania, 3 years after their previous match which was a credible 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia. On both occasions the squad was predominantly home-grown and low-key.

We at Non-FIFA Football Updates decided to pick a hypothetical best Kosovo XI, based on players who’d be eligible to represent any future national side. Here’s what we came up with.


Shaqiri      Bajrami    Januzaj

Behrami Xhaka

Ferati  Cana  I. Berisha  Dallku

E. Berisha


Etrit Berisha (24, Lazio) – After rising to prominence with Kalmar in the Allsvenskan the penalty taking shot-stopper was snapped up by Lazio in the summer and starts for Albania.


Armend Dallku (30, Vorskla Poltava) – An obvious choice at right-back, Dallku has huge experience with over 200 games in the Ukrainian top-flight as well as 61 caps for Albania.

Leader...Albania captain Cana
Lorik Cana (30, Lazio) –Albania captain and the strongest defender at Kosovo’s disposal, Cana is currently a mainstay in the Lazio defence after spells at Galatasaray, Sunderland and Marseille.

Ilir Berisha (22, Örebro) – After impressing in the Swedish top-flight during the past year Berisha is another Kosovo-born player expected to be called up to the Albania national side soon.

Beg Ferati (26, Sion) – Not a conventional left-back Ferati has spent most of his career in Switzerland, the country he also has 1 cap for, with Sion and Basel

Defensive midfielders

Valon Behrami (28, Napoli) – Currently enjoying Champions League football with Napoli the talented Behrami counts Fiorentina, West Ham and Lazio amongst his former clubs and is a Switzerland international.

Granit Xhaka (21, Borussia Mönchengladbach) – An extremely talented youngster Xhaka is a regular fixture in the Bundesliga and is an under-17 World Cup winner with Switzerland and regular in the current senior side.

Attacking midfielders

Adnan Januzaj (18, Manchester United) – Gifted winger who rose to prominence this season in the Premier League, Januzaj could represent a number of nations which we discussed here.

Proud...Shaqiri celebrates with a Kosovo flag
Emir Bajrami (25, Panathinaikos) – Recently moved to Greece after a successful spell with Twente, Bajrami has scored twice for Sweden before and can also play on the wing.

Xherdan Shaqiri (22, Bayern Munich) – Arguably the most talented player in the team Shaqiri is Switzerland’s key man and won the treble with Bayern Munich last season.


Albert Bunjaku (29, Kaiserslautern) – Pips Erton Fejzullahu due to his experience, Bunjaku scored 13 goals for Kaisterslautern in the 2. Bundesliga last season and was part of the Switzerland team at the 2010 World Cup.


GK: Samir Ujkani (Palermo, 25). MF: Përparim Hetemaj (26, Cheivo), Kristian Nushi (31, St Gallen), Almen Abdi (27, Watford) FW: Erton Fejzullahu (25, Djurgårdens).