Gibraltar national coach, Allen Bula announced his squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland. Mr Bula seemed confident coming into his first press conference for the European Qualifiers, touching upon the match vs Poland. He seemed unfazed by the gathering journalists and the GBC camera crew and answered the questions accordingly.
Full squad can be located here Squad List
Mr Bula highlighted that he had named a 21 man squad, but has yet to decide on who his final 2 members of his squad would be. He stated that he had in mind three players, however he gave no indication as to who they were. He also commented that he would have until next week to decide on the final selections.
Roy Chipolina has once again been selected as the national team’s captain.
Mr Bula confirmed that the team would not be ‘parking the bus’ against Poland. Not giving much away on how he would approach the game, he did however mention that he was very happy with the last two matches played and would implement this kind of style against Poland, keeping in mind that the opposition this time round is of a higher calibre than the last two opponents. He did ambitiously state that a realistic result for his side would be a draw.
Casting an eye upon the players selected, Kaaron Macedo was a surprise call up as he had been overlooked for some time despite his consistent performances for St Joseph’s. Mr Bula did say however that UEFA regulations state that there needs to be a minimum of 3 goal keepers per squad. Asked about selecting Macedo, Mr Bula stated that he considered Macedo to be of the same calibre as Perez and Robba and quoted
“he is a very good goalkeeper”.
Nearly a year on after his agonising knee injury in the opening league game of last season, Lincoln striker, Lee Casciaro has been called up into the squad for the first time since the Slovakia game. No doubt this will be welcome news for Lee after a long rehab session, he has now earned a call up after impressing in Lincoln’s Champions League debut in July. This also means that the 3 Casciaro siblings could be on the field in a UEFA recognised game, a feat which is probably a first in the International scene.
Mr Bula was asked about his preference on choosing a lone striker from the five he could pick from, whether it would be wise to give George Cabrera an opportunity as he was last years joint league top goal scorer. Mr Bula’s reply was that he had been the goal scorer in the Gibraltarian league but had been very impressed with Kyle Casciaro’s performances of late at an international level and therefore gave us an inclination of his preference being Kyle Casciaro starting up front alone.
Asked about the absence of Anthony Bardon on the squad list after impressing last time around, and whether he was one of the three players he had in mind, Mr Bula replied that he was not going to say who these players were as it would be unfair to them.
Looking at the squad list, it is apparent that there is a lack of central midfield cover and the likes of Anthony Bardon, Aaron Payas and Liam Clarke all of whom have previously played for Gibraltar’s national team could be in the mix to be called up.
Another point raised was the fitness levels of his squad. He clearly stated that this was a slight concern as the fitness of his players is controlled by their respective clubs. And receiving the players to train on such short notice makes an national team managers task even more difficult, especially when it comes to assessing the fitness levels of his players. However he did hope that those fitness levels were maintained at a high standard and did continue by stating that he has noticed a big change in his players regarding their professionalism as footballers on a whole. Stating that although most of his players were amateur footballers they seemed very professional on and off the field, highlighting that the main difference between his players and those which they will now play against is their ‘fat wallets’. and professional footballers life style.
With little less than a month to go for what arguably will be Gibraltar’s biggest game, all eyes will be set on the final squad announcements and all going well no players should suffer injuries in the opening days of the new season.
For more on the squad selection, see our interview with Allen Bula which will be posted later today.