A number of Bostik League players took off from RAF Brize Norton yesterday on a journey of a lifetime- heading to the Falkland Islands to play for 'England.'
Managed by England C Manager Paul Fairclough, this team are making an ambassadorial visit and will be known as the 'Football Association XI,' playing matches against the Falkland Islands National Squad and a Combined Services XI. They will also visit Government House and local schools, as well as taking part in Remembrance Day events. They will play wearing the traditional England shirt.
The squad is made up entirely Step 3, 4 and 5 players, and when announced included the following:
Charlie Ruff of Hertford Town
Carl Pearce of Northwood
Liam Ferdinand of Bracknell Town
Ibrahim Olutade of Leatherhead- chosen whilst at Hanwell Town
Olly Spooner of Basildon United
Louis Tibbles of Bury Town
Brendan Ocran of Northwood, who was chosen whilst at Barking
Alex Paine of Chalfont St Peter
Sam Ashford of Witham Town
Information from the FA about this tour is sketchy at best- we have asked! But Merco News, based in the South Atlantic, quote manager Fairclough as stating:
“It is always a great honour to represent The Football Association, never more so than during our pioneering visit to the Falkland Islands. Football aside, for most people in the UK, the Islands are famous because of their role in British modern history. Our travelling group is privileged to experience such an important and historic place, and to be present for the remembrance ceremonies.”
The visit is very important to the locals, too. Michael Betts, Falkland Islands Government Assistant Representative, said, “As football is one of the most popular sports in the Falklands, the Islanders are very excited at the prospect of hosting the Football Association in November. This visit will provide a rare opportunity for the Falklands’ national team to play a very strong side at home, in preparation for future overseas tournaments. And, most importantly, it is hoped this visit will leave a lasting legacy by inspiring the next generation of footballers in the Falkland Islands.”
The very best of luck to all of our players- we hope you have a marvellous time.