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Monday, December 18, 2023


In a change from recent years, the final stages of the 2023 Greenlandic national championship was held between 10-15 August, not in north-central Greenland, but in the southern town of Qaqortoq, due to local club K-1933 celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The club, the oldest existing club in the country, actually celebrated its anniversary on 15 June, and it was the first time they had hosted the tournament since 2013.

Also just for a change, unlike many Greenlandic football grounds, Qaqortoq Stadion did not - and does not - offer views of the open sea and icebergs, but it does offer a view of Tasersiaq (a local lake which provides Qaqortoq with its drinking water) and environs, which is also one of Greenlandic football's most under-rated and beautiful vistas.

One of the most picturesque vistas in Greenlandic football, and not an iceberg in sight - Taseriaq lake, seen from Qaqortoq Stadion

Eight teams - hosts K-1933 (naturally enough), last year's champions Nagdlúnguak-48, Nuuk representatives B-67 and IT-79, G-44 from Qeqertarsuaq, Upernavik side UB-83, the northernmost club taking part this year, Sisimiut's SAK and Ittoqqortoormiit AK, from Greenland's easternmost and most isolated settlement of any size - were due to take part in this edition of the finals.

There were problems aplenty before the tournament began. Just over a week before it kicked off, one of the dugouts and part of the technical area in front of it were destroyed in a fire which took the local fire-brigade around an hour to extinguish. Arson appears to have been the most likely cause of the blaze. 

Then, during the week before the tournament, four clubs, reigning champions N-48, SAK and Ittoqqortoormiit AK and UB-83, scratched from the tournament. N-48, themselves 75 years young this year, withdrew because the journey they faced to Qaqortoq would have taken a number of days and would have proven to have been prohibitively expensive. 

Ittoqqortoormiit AK, having been invited by the KAK (the Greenlandic FA) to take part, also had to decline due to travel issues. The club, which would have been the youngest to take part (it was founded in November 2018), informed the KAK that their travel itinerary would have proved a challenge to complete at the best of times. 

They would have had to have taken three flights - from Ittoqqortoormiit to Tasiilaq, Tasiilaq to Reykjavík and from Reykjavík to Narsarsuaq - and then undertake a two-hour (hired) boat-trip to Qaqortoq. 

All that with a squad of just twelve players due to a number of squad-members having to withdraw due to their jobs as "catchers" (as described by local newspaper Sermitsiaq), which presumably referred to their jobs in the hunting, fishing or trapping professions.

UB-83 withdrew because they were unable to book flights from Upernavik due to all flights in the period before the tournament being fully booked; many students originally from the town were returning home for the holidays, whilst others - and tourists, presumably - were leaving for Nuuk and further afield. The team were even unable to book berths on local cruise ships. 

SAK, meanwhile, were drafted in to replace Ittoqqortoormiit AK, but they also scratched because several of their squad were on a reindeer hunt at the time, and it was unclear as to when they would be returning to Sismiut, let alone being able to organise and undertake a trip to Greenland's deep south.

As a result of all of the late withdrawals, only five clubs were down to take part before Eqaluk-54, from Tasiusaq, down the coast from Qaqortoq, were invited to round the total of participants up to six; they gladly accepted the challenge.

K-1933, hosts of the final stages of the 2023 Greenlandic national championship, who finished in third place

Day one kicked off with IT-79 taking on Nagtoralik-45 in front of a sparse crowd, and although Nagtoralik took a very early lead, the Nuuk side came back to eventually win by three goals to one, with Allan Madsen scoring two of them. 

The second game of the day, featuring last year's runners-up and perennial title favourites B-67 and perennial chalengers G-44, lived up to its billing as the match of the day. The northerners took the lead after two minutes, but B-67 soon levelled; the remainder of the game followed a similar pattern, and after ninety minutes, it was G-44 who came out on top by three goals to two, Aputsiaq Andersen scoring the winner direct from a corner on precisely 61 minutes.

Hosts K-1933 took to the pitch to play Eqaluk-54 in the final game of the first day, and they soon took centre-stage, carrying on the theme of the first two matches by scoring in the first couple of minutes. Three up at the break, they soon scored a fourth in the early stages ofcthe second half. Eqaluk held on gamely for most of the rest of the match, but collapsed with injury-time looming and conceded three goals in the last few minutes of normal time and injury-time, before scoring a fine goal themselves with virtually the last kick of the ball.

The second day of action began with IT-79 up against B-67 in what many would have considered a prequel to the final, but B-67 took control of this particular Nuuk derby with the mercurial Ari Hermann putting them ahead after just 87 seconds with a brilliant goal, racing into the penalty-area, bamboozling a couple of defenders and deftly beating goalkeeper Malik Mikælsen at his near post.

Mikælsen performed heroics in the first half, denying B-67 on at least three occasions in one-on-one situations alone before being beaten by Rene Eriksen Petersen's crisp shot into the bottom corner in the dying seconds of the first half.

Outclassed in the first half, things quickly got worse for the Students in the second. Mika Jensen Thyssen was shown a straight red card for a last-man foul just outside the box in the 53rd-minute. Ari Hermann did the needful from the resulting free-kick. Fourteen minutes later, Milan Olsen attempted to boot the ball into the ball into the proverbial Row Z from almost on his own goal-line, but instead thrashed it into his own net with the outside of his right foot.

Angutimmarik Kreutzmann tapped in a fifth for B-67 before IT-79 finally got on the scoreboard with a sublime 40-yard chip from Kuluk Ezekiassen, which B-67 keeper Brian Rosing Kleist could only stand and admire as it flew over his head and into the net. Victor Philbert, making his debut at the national championship stage, scored his first goal at that stage for B-67 to compound the Students' misery. It would not be his last. 

K-1933's Alex Tillesen's 11th-minute volley was all that separated his side and Nagortalik-45 at the end of a dour first half in their match, but if the first half was a bit stale, the second was anything but. Flent-Frederik Petersen volleyed N-45 level before Nuka Mark Petersen put the hosts back in front two minutes later with a gentle daisycutter which careered into the roof of the net after the N-45 keeper tried and failed to dive and fist the ball away, volleyball-style. 

Kuluk Hermansen outran the K-1933 defence and rammed the ball into the bottom corner with just under twenty minutes left to level things up once more. Five minutes later, Nuka Knudsen back-headed the hosts back in front from a free-kick, and that was enough to seal their second win of the tournament and send their fans home happy. 

G-44's Niels-Erik Eriksen received all the plaudits after his first-half, five-goal haul against Eqaluk-54, but Inooraq Svendsen scored one of the goals of the tournament, a low piledriver from outside the right-hand angle of the penalty-area in the first ten minutes to get the ball rolling, as it were. 

It was just as well the net was there, otherwise the ball would have made a hole in the mountain at the far side of the lake behind the pitch (one of Greenlandic football's most under-rated vistas in the opinion of your correspondent), it was travelling so fast. Mercifully for Eqaluk, no more goals followed in the second half as G-44 took their collective foot off the pedal.

IT-79, who finished fourth at GM2023

G-44 had to put the pedal to the metal from the start in their next game against an IT-79 side smarting from their heavy defeat against B-67 the previous day. There were no goals in an evenly-contested first half-hour, but the fun started when the ever-reliable Kunuuteeraq Isaksen popped up in the right place at the right time to head G-44 ahead and this was quickly followed by a Lukka Svendsen goal to double their lead. 

Gerth Skifte soon pulled a goal back for the Students, however, and Allan Madsen went in where it hurts to bravely head them level early in the second half. Søren Kristiansen scored a brilliant solo goal to put G-44 in front once more before Madsen levelled again. Angutitaq Broberg scored a penalty to edge the northerners in front yet again, and Niels-Erik Eriksen scored from 20 yards out to re-establish their two-goal cushion. Hans-Karl Berthelsen reduced the arrears by whipping in a free-kick from the right touchline which flew over the G-44 keeper's head and into the net, but it wasn't enough to gain IT-79 a share of the spoils.

Bernhart Simonsen was at the end of a neat five-man move to put Eqaluk-54 ahead in their fixture against Nagtoralik-45, and Ian-Inuk Nielsen doubled their lead before half-time. Goals from Kikkik Dahl and Steen Kleist-Møller brought Nagortalik-45 level before the hour mark, and in the last ten minutes, either side of a fine Innunguaq Geronne goal (a lob from 40 yards), Kuluk Hermansen scored twice, finishing off counter-attacks on both occasions as N-45 gained their first win of the tournament.

K-1933's fans were raucous throughout their game agsinst B-67, to the point that every time their team crossed the half-way line, it sounded less like a crowd at a football match and more like a crowd at a boyband concert. B-67 silenced them on seven occasions, however, with Ari Hermann pulling the strings in midfield.

Four minutes in, Søren Kreutzmann fired them in front with a fierce shot from an acute angle which flew between the goalkeeper's hands and into the roof of the net, before Bentiaraq Ottosen rose to meet a corner-kick and superbly headed the ball into his own net after 18 minutes. Victor Philbert added a third a minute or so later, and scored his second of the game on 40 minutes after the move of the game, which started from the back and involved Hermann and Eriksen Petersen, among others. Kreutzmann got his second of the match just shy of the hour mark, before Angutimmarik Kreutzmann scored a late double to seal not only an impressive win for the title favourites, but their place in the final.

The host team's defence endured another torrid 90 minutes in the first game of day four, when they conceded eight goals to IT-79. Rene Thomsen scored five of them, four of them in the first half, with the first of them - surrounded by three defenders, he somehow managed to curl the ball into the far corner - the best of the bunch. Not to be outdone, Cuno Hammeken scored a scintillating hat-trick for K-1933, each goal better than the last. His second and third goals were virtual carbon-copies of each other; on both occasions, he outfoxed three defenders in an extremely compact space before thrashing the ball into the roof of the net. 

G-44's Aputsiaq Andersen and Aqqaluk Heilmann both rattled the crossbar at either end of their team's game against Nagtoralik-45, but Andersen, Søren Kristiansen and Mikkel-Kvist Villemsen all scored to ensure a comfortable margin of victory, and a place in the final, for the team from Qeqertarsuaq at the end of a match in which they never really had to over-extend themselves. 

The final game of the day was a case of David versus Goliath, with Eqaluk-54 up against B-67, and, to be frank, David didn't stand a chance. Keeper Rama Nielsen was in the firing line right from the start as Nikki Petersen put B-67 in front after three minutes and Angutimmarik Kreutzmann hit the crossbar moments later, before Viktor Philbert continued his rich vein of form in the tournament with a goal after eight minutes. B-67 went on to score another four goals to lead 6:0 at the break.

Kreutzmann and Philbert went on to score hat-tricks, and substitute Nicolai Nielsen, who came on just after the hour mark, hit five goals - three of which were tap-ins, the other two were shots from outside the box. Two penalties from Niklas Thorleifsen, plus Petersen's goal and one from Jonathan Rosing, completed the scoring. Despite conceding fifteen goals, Eqaluk-54 keeper Rama Nielsen made several good saves and couldn't be blamed for any of the goals. B-67 were just ruthless.

Qaqortoq Stadion

Day five began the same way day four ended, with another heavy, heavy defeat for Eqaluk-54, this time at the hands of IT-79. Ten different players scored for the Students as they racked up an 8:1 lead going into the break before scoring another six without reply in the second half. Rene Thomsen led the way with a hat-trick, while Hans-Karl Berthelsen and Lars Ole Olsen grabbed a brace apiece. 

Eqaluk's Ian-Inuk Nielsen had an interesting first-half, to say the least. He scored an own goal in the first five minutes, kneeing Rene Thomsen's cross into his own net, before seeing his penalty saved by Minik Andersen five minutes later and then scoring a fine goal himself just before the break. Team-mate Rama Nielsen had another torrid ninety minutes in goal, but once again saved his team on several occasions.

B-67 were already virtually certain of their place in the final before their last group game against Nagtoralik-45 kicked off, but they were made to work hard during the first half by their resolute opponents before Rene Petersen put them ahead in the forty-second minute after being put through by Victor Philbert, one of the finds of this tournament.

The second half threatened to be just as frustrating for the team in blue, but four goals in a 17-minute spell put paid to the frowns. Nikki Petersen, Karsten Møller Andersen - from the penalty spot after Philbert suffered a low-level assault from N-45 keeper Mika-Peter Hansen - Patrick Oteri Fredriksen and Nicolai Nielsen all got their names on the scoresheet. 

On to the final day, and Nagtoralik-45 condemned Eqaluk-54 to the wooden spoon after coming out on top in the fifth-place play-off, winning by the odd goal in five, but E-54's evergreen Kilaasi Ludvigsen rounded things off by scoring one of the goals of the day with moments to go, a superb effort from outside the box which flew into the top corner of Nukaaraq-Pavia Dahl's net. 

Eqaluk were always going to be up against it, a local side drafted in at short notice, and results unfortunately did not go their way at all. They suffered heavy defeats in most of their games, but they never, ever gave up and kept trying to play good football. N-45 - who ended up using four players as goalkeepers during the tournament - played better than their results suggested, and gave B-67 and IT-79 a good run for their money, although they didn't really get going against G-44. Both teams gave good accounts of themselves in their own ways and will hopefully be back gracing Greenlandic football's top table in the not too distant future.

Hosts K-1933 were looking to earn a place on the podium for the first time in fifteen years when they took on IT-79 in the third-place final. K-1933, five times winners of the GM, hadn't won a title since 2003, and hadn't finished on the podium since they lost to B-67 in the 2008 final. 

The Students, on the other hand, winners for the one and only time five years ago, had finished in the top three at every final tournament since they came third in 2014, and yet another third-place finish looked a distinct possibility when Marco Lynge put them in front early on with a header from a corner, but Hans-Karl Berthelsen missed a golden chance to extend their lead when he slipped just as he was about to shoot from the six-yard line, his tame shot saved by home keeper Arne Simonsen. K-1933's Alain Vetterlain was denied by Malik Mikælsen when keeper kept his point-blank effort out after 50 minutes, but team-mate Alex Tellesen beat Mikælsen seconds later with a deft chip from the edge of the area to level things up.

A five-man move from the back from the home side culminated with Allan Vetterlain pushing the ball to one side of Leik Mørch Eskildsen on the right, sprinting past him on the other before threading the ball between goalkeeper Mikælsen and defender Pauli Thomsen to Tellesen, who had toddled into the left-hand side of the penalty-area, and he stroked the ball into the net to put K-1933 in front with 23 minutes left. IT-79 huffed but eventually ran out of puff as the hosts ran the clock down any which way they could to finish on the podium for the first time in fifteen years to spark off wild celebrations amongst the home support.

And it was a deserved third place for K-1933, who, apart from during early defeats to B-67 and IT-79, had played pretty well, with Alain Vetterlain and Alex Tellesen spurring them on on the pitch, and a raucous support doing likewise off it. IT-79's run of podium finishes came to an end, and despite Hans-Karl Berthelsen, now approaching veteran status, playing as well as he has done in the last few years, the team as a whole was somewhat below par and at times looked defensively frail. 

G-44, runners-up at GM2023 and hosts of next year's final tournament

B-67 were strong favourites going into the final against G-44, and were looking to avenge their 3:2 defeat against them on the opening day of the tournament. It was a pretty staid opening first half-hour, punctuated only by G-44 keeper Peter Berthelsen admirably dealing with shots from Søren Kreutzmann and Rene Eriksen Petersen. Everything changed on the half-hour, however, when Nicolai Nielsen bundled the ball over the line from close range to put B-67 in front.

Six minutes later, they moved further in front, qnd it was a result of Ari Hermann once again doing, well, Ari Hermann things. His 36th-minute free-kick on the right was only scrambled clear until a few yards outside the box, and Hermann, who had cut inside from the right, ran on to the loose ball, struck it on the run with his left foot and curled a beauty in to the top corner.

He as good as put the game beyond doubt four minutes later, when he finished off a six-man move initiated by keeper Brian Rosing Kleist (and involving excellent work from Eriksen Petersen) by putting the ball through Berthelsen's legs and into the net from twelve yards. Berthelsen responded by sportingly giving Hermann a congratulatory pat on the back.

Any lingering hopes the team from up north had of staging a comeback were well and truly dashed three minutes after the restart. Ilasiannguaq Martinsen received a pass from team-mate Aqqa Lynge and went to pass the ball across the defence but failed to notice the backtracking Nicolai Nielsen, who intercepted, turned and lifted the ball over keeper Berthelsen and into the back of the net from fully thirty-five yards. 

In the fifty-eighth minute, Karsten Møllen Andersen powerfully headed Søren Kreutzmann's gently-floated cross from the left past Berthelsen to make it 5:0 for the title favourites, who had totally dominated since taking the lead on the half-hour mark. B-67 had two good chances in the remaining half-hour to further embellish their lead, but Victor Philbert and, in injury-time, Søren Kreutzmann spurned them, narrowly missing the target on both occasions.

In the end, the missed chances didn't matter as B-67 had completed their revenge mission on their northern opponents for their opening-day defeat in emphatic style, pretty much in keeping with their performance throughout the rest of the tournament, which saw them eventually bulldozing their opponets into submission. Some might say that the quality of the opposition was sonewhat diminished by the absence of teams such as Nagdlúnguaq-48, but, as the hackneyed old social media one-liner goes, you can only beat what's in front you.

B-67, winners of the 2023 Greenlandic national championship

One man who was understandably very happy with how things turned out was B-67 captain Patrick Oteri Frederiksen, who told PFB that he enjoyed the tournament, and that even the venue was "beautiful with amazing surroundings." He was also very positive about B-67's performance as well as his own, but he did have just one regret.

"It was just a shame that one of the best teams in Greenland [Nagdlúnguak-48] couldn't come..I think we showed really good class and team spirit throughout the tournament, even though we lost our first game in a very close and even game.

"Our goal from the beginning was to get gold, so I was confident about my play. I knew my abilities and that my team-mates trusted me. So, overall I am glad that we took home the gold and also [happy about] the individual awards players got - many of us were on the Team of the Year."

Kenneth Kleist, B-67 chairman and now the newly-elected KAK chairman, agreed with Frederiksen's thoughts, including those on N-48's absence, saying that "it wasn't optimal for anyone," and said that the championship felt a little incomplete without those teams which were part of the original line-up but had to scratch. 

He added that "B-67 was the best team and deservedly won the championship. [They] started the championship against G-44 and, although they were heavy favourites, they lost 3:2. It was a big surprise. 

"After this first scare, it was with more focus and dedication that B-67 [got through to] the final against the very same G-44. This was a very one-sided match, which B-67 deservedly won against [a young team]  from Qeqertarsuaq. B-67 had a lot of new, young players and quite a few national team players, so they had a super team and were probably impossible to beat [to the title] in 2023."

It was impossible to argue with the assessments of both men; G-44 caught B-67 cold on the opening day of the tournament, but the perpetual favourites roared back and swept everyone aside to deservedly claim their fourteenth championship. 

As ever, they had a strong spine from Brian Rosing Kleist in goal through defenders such as Patrick Oteri Frederiksen, Rene Eriksen Petersen, and Søren Kreutzmann in midfield, to Nicolai Nielsen and one of the finds of GM2023, Victor Philbert, up front. Not forgetting Ari Hermann, who was in spellbinding form. G-44 will still be smarting from their heavy defeat in the final, their heaviest since they lost the 2010 final 5:0 to..B-67, but their young, ebullient side played aawell throughout the tournament. 

Goalkeeper Peter Berthelsen impressed, as did old-stagers such as Kunuuteeraq Isaksen and Inooraq Svendsen, and young guns like Nuka Abia Broberg (who started the final), Kelvin Jessen and 16 year-old Norsaq Olvik all played their part. They formed part of what was a rather youthful squad; only Svendsen and Ilasiannnguaq Martinsen were 30 or older. 

Nine of the squad were 20 or under at the time of the tournament, and this augurs well for the future, especially if the squad can stay together. They were, as ever, followed by a group of faithful supporters; although smaller in number than at previous tournaments, they still brought a splash of colour to proceedings.

And, there was also a little piece of history made at the tournament. Qaqortoq native Tove-Katrine Egede Motzfeldt became the first woman to be part of a tournament list of match-officials when she was selected for this year's tournament, and she was the first to be part of the panel of a final when she was employed as fourth official behind referee Jens Gerner and linesmen Aputsiaq Larsen and Hans-Erik Enoksen.

Although B-67 and Nagdlúnguaq-48 will be the favourites to lift the title next year, G-44 will be a team to watch out for, when, due to their celebrating their 80th anniversary, they will be hosting the tournament, which will take place from 12-18 August at their picturesque Qeqertarsuaq Stadion, something which will delight football-loving iceberg-watchers everywhere. 

Sadly, the women's final tournament didn't take place this year, apparently due to the KAK being too tardy in planning not only it, but also the ladies under-15 and under-18 championships. Next year's edition is slated to be held in Nuuk - where it should have been held this year - between 29 July and 4 August. Just don't expect any icebergs, though.


10/08/23 IT-79 3:1 Nagtoralik-45 (Allan Madsen 2, Hans-Karl Berthelsen; Kuluk Hermansen)
10/08/23 B-67 2:3 G-44 (Nicolai Nielsen, Ari Hermann; Søren Kristiansen, Lukka Svendsen, Aputsiaq Andersen)
10/08/23 K-1933 7:1 Eqaluk-54 (Alex Tellesen 2, Allan Vetterlain 2, Cuno Hammeken, Hans Knudsen, Ari-Miki Jakobsen; Kilaasi Ludvigsen)
11/08/23 IT-79 1:6 B-67 (Kuluk Ezekiassen; Ari Hermann 2, Rene Eriksen Petersen, Angutimmarik Kreutzmann, Victor Philbert, Milan Olsen (OG))
11/08/23 Nagtoralik-45 2:3 K-1933 (Flent-Frederik Petersen, Kuluk Hermansen; Alex Tellesen, Nuka Mark Nielsen, Hans Knudsen)
11/08/23 G-44 6:0 Eqaluk-54 (Niels-Erik Eriksen 5, Inooraq Svendsen)
12/08/23 IT-79 4:5 G-44 (Gerth Skifte, Allan Madsen, Rene Thomsen, ; Kunuuteeraq Isaksen, Lukka Svendsen, Søren Kristiansen, Angutitaq Broberg, Niels-Erik Eriksen)
12/08/23 Nagtoralik-45 5:2 Eqaluk-54 (Kuluk Hermansen 2, Steen Kleist-Møller, Kikkik Dahl, Innunguaq Geronne;  Bernhart Simonsen, Ian-Inuk Nielsen)
12/08/23 B-67 7:0 K-1933 (Victor Philbert 2, Søren Kreutzmann 2, Angutimmarik Kreutzmann 2, Bentiaraq Ottosen (OG))
13/08/23 IT-79 8:4 K-1933 (Rene Thomsen 5, Mika Jensen Thyssen 2, Marco Lynge; Cuno Hammeken 3, Ivik Birkholm)
13/08/23 Nagtoralik-45 0:3 G-44 (Aputsiaq Andersen, Søren Kristiansen, Mikkel Kvist Villemsen)
13/08/23 B-67 15:0 Eqaluk-54 (Nicolai Nielsen 5, Angutimmarik Kreutzmann 3, Victor Philbert 3, Niklas Thorleifssen 2, Jonathan Rosing, Nikki Petersen)
14/08/23 IT-79 14:1 Eqaluk-54 (Rene Thomsen 3, Hans-Karl Berthelsen 2, Lars Ole Olsen 2, Inuk Heilmann, Allan Madsen, Pauli Thomsen, Mika Jensen Thyssen, Leich Mørch Eskildsen, Kjeld Fredriksen, Ian-Inuk Nielsen (OG); Ian-Inuk Nielsen)
14/08/23 Nagtoralik-44 0:5 B-67 (Rene Petersen, Nikki Petersen, Karsten Møller Andersen, Patrick Frederiksen, Nicolai Nielsen)
14/08/23 G-44 1:1 K-1933 (Kelvin Jessen; Norsaq Olrik (OG))

                 P W D L GF GA  PTS  GD
G-44        5 4 1 0 18  7 13 11
B-67         5 4 0 1 35  4 12 31
IT-79         5 3 0 2 30 17 9 13
K-1933    5 2 1 3 15 19  6 -4
Nagtoralik-455 1 0 4  8 16 3 -8
Eqaluk-54 5 0 0 5  4 47 0     -43


15/08/23 Nagtoralik-45 3:2 Eqaluk-54 


15/08/23 IT-79 1:2 K-1933 (Marco Lynge; Alex Tellesen 2)


15/08/23 G-44 0:5 B-67 (Nicolai Nielsen 2, Ari Hermann 2, Carsten Møllen Andersen)

G-44: 23 Peter BERTHELSEN; 5 Kunuuteeraq ISAKSEN, 6 Angutitaq BROBERG (44 Norsaq OLRIK), 7 Lukka SVENDSEN, 8 Aqqaluk HEILMANN, 9 Søren KRISTIANSEN, 11 Aputsiaq ANDERSEN, 14 Ilasiannguaq MARTINSEN (2 Aqqalunnguaq ABELSEN), 18 Aqqa LYNGE (3 Hans-Jorgen REIMER), 19 Nuka Abia BROBERG, 20 Niels-Erik ERIKSEN (21 Kelvin JESSEN)

B-67: 23 Brian ROSING KLEIST; 2 Mika DAVIDSEN, 6 Patrick OTERI FREDERIKSEN, 7 Søren KREUTZMANN, 9 John Ludvig BROBERG (18 Nikki PETERSEN; 8 Nikki PETERSEN), 10 Ari HERMANN (17 Aiko NIELSEN), 19 Karsten MØLLER ANDERSEN, 21 Niklas THORLEIFSEN, 26 Morten FLEISCHER (11 Henrik KLEIST), 32 Nicolai NIELSEN (66 Victor PHILBERT), 47 Rene PETERSEN


Brian ROSING KLEIST (B-67); Karsten MØLLER ANDERSEN (B-67), Brian EGEDE (K-1933), Nuka Abia BROBERG (G-44); Patrick OTERI FREDERIKSEN (B-67); Aputsiaq ANDERSEN (G-44), John Ludvig BROBERG (B-67), Rene Eriksen PETERSEN (B-67); Søren KREUTZMANN (B-67), Niels-Erik ERIKSEN (G-44), Ari HERMANN (B-67)



B-67: 1 Brian ROSING KLEIST, 64 Jannick RAVNBORG; 2 Mika DAVIDSEN, 6 Patrick OTE?I FREDERIKSEN, 7 Søren KREUTZMANN, 8 Nikki PETERSEN, 9 John Ludvig BROBERG, 10 Ari HERMANN, 11 Henrik KLEIST, 17 Aiko NIELSEN, 18 Nikki PETERSEN, 19 Karsten MØLLER ANDERSEN, 21 Niklas THORLEIFSEN, 24 Miilu JENSEN, 26 Morten FLEISCHER, 32 Nicolai NIELSEN, 34 Angutimmarik KREUTZMANN, 47 Rene ERIKSEN PETERSEN, 66 Victor PHILBERT, 72 Jonathan ROSING

EQALUK-54: 1 Aqqaluq JOSENIUS, 22 Rama NIELSEN; 2 Tommy KRISTOFFERSEN, 5 Aqqalonnguaq GEDIONSEN, 6 Christian FREDERIKSEN, 7 Rafael SEMSEN, 10 Ian-Inuk NIELSEN, 11 Anthon SALOMONSEN, 12 Josva-Eli GEDIONSEN, 14 Kilaasi LUGVIGSEN, 15 Bernhart SIMONSEN, 16 Elias-Isak TITIUSSEN, 17 Morten KRISTOFFERSEN, 18 Isak TITIUSSEN, 20 Niels-Ole SIMONSEN, 21 Ari SIMONSEN, 44 Niels ("Niilo") HANSEN, 45 Nuunu BRANDT, 77 Ian ENOKSEN, 78 Angajooraq GERÅE

G-44: 23 Peter BERTHELSEN; 2 Aqqalunnguaq ABELSEN, 3 Hans-Jørgen ("Muni") REIMER, 5 Kunuuteeraq ISAKSEN, 6 Angutitaq BROBERG, 7 Lukka SVENDSEN, 8 Aqqaluq HEILMANN, 9 Søren KRISTIANSEN, 10 Mikkel KVIST VILLEMSEN, 11 Aputsiaq ANDERSEN, 14 Ilasiannguaq MARTINSEN, 17 Nukannguaq LUKASSEN, 18 Aqqa LYNGE, 19 Nuka Abia BROBERG, 20 Niels-Erik ERIKSEN, 21 Kelvin JESSEN, 22 Inooraq SVENDSEN, 44 Norsaq OLRIK

IT-79: 1 Malik MIKÆLSEN, 12 Minik ANDERSEN; 2 Marco LYNGE, 3 Pauli THOMSEN, 4 Qulutannguaq TITUSSEN, 5 Leif MØRCH ESKILDSEN, 6 Milan OLSEN, 8 Ilataannguaq MØRCH, 9 Hans Karl BERTHELSEN, 10
Kjeld FREDERIKSEN, 11 Kuluk EZEKIASSEN, 14 Romeo BILDORF, 15 Ilmari ROSING, 17 Allan MADSEN, 18 Kjeld FREDERIKSEN, 19 Lars Ole OLSEN, 20 Gerth SKIFTE, 23 Inuk HEILMANN, 24 Mika THYSSEN, 33 Kassannguaq ZEEB

K-1933: 1 Malik JENSEN; 4 Ivik BIRKHOLM, 6 Ari-Mikki JAKOBSEN, 7 Allan VITTERLAIN, 8 Hans KNUDSEN, 10 Cu7no HAMMEKEN, 12 Erni TELLESEN, 13 Alex TELLESEN, 14 Karl-Peter STREET, 16 Eskilli ELLINGSGAARD, 19 Bentiaraq OTTOSEN, 20 Brian EGEDE, 21 Kevin ELIASSEN, 23 Arne SIMONSEN, 25 Angula KIELSEN, 26 Lars-Ole KNUDSEN, 27 Liilu KLEIST, 28 Nuka Mark NIELSEN, 32 Nikki ISAKSEN

NAGTORALIK-45: 1 Nick HERMANSEN, 41 Nukaaraq-Pavia DAHL; 2 Nukaaraq FREDERIKSEN, 3 Emil FREDERIKSEN, 4 Ilannguaq JENSEN, 5 Mika-Peter ("Mikapa") HANSEN, 6 Peter KLEIST-MØLLER, 7 Kuluk HERMANSEN, 8 Kikkik DAHL, 9 Flent-Frederik PETERSEN, 10 Steen KLEIST-MØLLER, 11 Jørgen NATHANSEN, 20 Kim JENSEN, 21 Frederik SERRITSLEV, 22 Inunnguaq GERONNE, 30 Pele LYNGE, 40 Jens-Erik NIKODIMUSSEN, 45 Angititaq MOTZFELDT, 99 Hans-Åge JENSEN

AUTHOR'S NOTE: All photos were kindly passed on by none other than Greenland manager Morten Rutkjær; many thanks to him for allowing their usage. Many thanks, too, to recently-elected KAK chairman Kenneth Kleist and B-67 captain Patrick Oteri Frederiksen for their contributions. Information was garnered from a variety of sources, not least KNR, Sermitsiaq, Facebook and the RSSSF. Archival information was, of course, also used. Any errors or omissions will be rectified upon notification.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


The long-awaited friendly between West Papua and Raetia, which was postponed twice because of the Corona virus crisis, finally took place at Quick Den Haag's Sportpark de Hanenberg in The Hague on 13 November last. It was the visitors' first game for some time, but West Papua came into this match on the back of a 5:5 draw against TikTok United, a team of social media influencers who they played almost two weeks earlier in a benefit match for West Papuan children who are living in refugee camps along the border with Papua New Guinea.

The West Papuans had the better of the first twenty minutes of their duel with the Swiss team, meanwhile, but missed two or three good chances to go ahead through, amongst others, Ballassai. Although the Tjernderawasih controlled matters, the Raetians kept countering but they always just seemed to misdirect the final pass. 

The hosts kept creating chances, and Hato sent a shot from distance wide just after the half-hour before Santos latched on to a clever back-heel from a team-mate and shot from six yards out, but Raetia 'keeper Bjorn Hasselmann got down to save at his near post. West Papua kept up the pressure as the half drew to a close, and Rink found himself in a good position at the edge of the six-yard box to trap and connect with a ball sent over from the left, but he snatched at the ball and half-volleyed it wide. Not long after, Ballassai worked himself into a good position on the edge of the box before feinting and sending in a low shot which Bjorn did well to save.

It was a good first half for West Papua against a determined Raetia side, but there was a certain amount of frustration at the break due to their missing a number of good chances, and it was to continue into the second half. as Tatem was superbly put through by Ballassai, only for him to shoot straight at the 'keeper. 

That rarety of thing, a shot in anger from Raetia, came from Christian Perren after 52 minutes as his team went on the counter; instead of seeking out a team-mate, he decided to let fly from nearly 30 yards out. His dipping shot beat Tycho van der Woning, but rattled the top of the crossbar and flew over for a goal-kick.

West Papua kept up their search for a goal, and it almost came just after the hour mark when Tatem went a-marauding and found Ballassai, who ran on and tried to round Bjorn and shot, but the Raetian keeper got back, down and saved well. 

The goal the hosts had been looking for deservedly came after 65 minutes, and no-one could argue that it was a long time in coming. Ballassai ran through the Raetia defence and his shot from 15 yards swerved viciously and sent Hasselmann the wrong way as it crashed into the back of the net. 

It spurred them on further, and s free-kick with twenty minutes left flew low and just wide of Bjorn's right-hand post. Maliba ran into a packed penalty-area to get on the end of a corner, but was only able to prod the ball a yard wide of the post. 

But, Raetia came more into the game as it entered its final stages, and Wüthrich had an effort saved by van der Woning with twelve minutes left. Seconds later, Bakiu ran through a gap in the home defence as wide as the North Sea to score, only to be wrongly adjudged to have been in an offside position by a linesman who was consistently at least a yard ahead of the last man in defence throughout the match.

Down the other end, Ballassai missed another good chance to make the game safe before the action swung back up to in front of the West Papua goal, when an inviting cross just missed a clutch of Raetian players on the attack.

In their last game against TikTok United, West Papua were denied a victory when their opponents equalised in the dying seconds, and it happened again this time, too; with the sun slowly sinking into the trees behind the ground, a corner from the left-hand side landed in the West Papua six-yard box. A scramble ensued, during which attempted clearances and shots on goal were made, before Wüthrich prodded the ball forward from a couple of yards out and it squirmed agonisingly under van der Woning and just over the line.

The West Papua players were left scratching their heads wondering just how victory had evaded them for the second time in less than a fortnight. Speaking after the match, manager Garry Ilina bemoaned the lack of team-play from his charges, whilst Raetian manager Simone Fontana praised his team for not letting their heads drop. 

Ilina said that it was a good performance, but there were too many players who were only interested "in their own success..Football is very simple. You have to play as a team to win as a team." Fontana added that he felt that it was a tough game but complemented both his goalkeeper and defenders for their performances throughout the 90 minutes. He was also of the opinion that his team were getting stronger as the game neared its conclusion, and that the decision to commit more men forward eventually paid off.
Ilina might have been critical of his charges immediately after the match, but, in the cold light of day, he could look back on a decent performance from his side. The defence was comfortable, whilst the team looked potent going forward and created several chances. Hasselmann, meanwhile, was inspired in the Raetia goal, the Raetian defence was tenacious and the team as a whole kept going until the final whistle.
Fontana said that Raetia are hoping to compete in the forthcoming European Cup, but had not yet received an official invitation to take part. Meanwhile, both teams are planning a return match in Switzerland later this year, probably in August. West Papua are also intending to venture out of Holland in the coming weeks to play Katanga in a friendly in Belgium, though nothing has been set in stone.

WEST PAPUA: 1 Tycho VAN DER WONING; 2 Tahash CECILIA, 3 Sebastiäo QUIAVUAZOA, 4 Shaliro RINK, 5 Joel VREDE, 6 S. HATO, 7 F. YAMA, 8 M. GAJADHAR, 9 C. MALIBA, 10 C. BALLASSAI, 11 Emmanuel KWALAKITA


NOTE: West Papua used rolling substitutions. 

RAETIA: 1 Björn HASSELMANN; 2 Paolo BOTTONI (15 Ardian BAKIU), 3 Lukas SCHMIDT, 4 Franco CONZETT, 5 Corsin SCHUMACHER, 6 Sebastian DODEN, 7 Christian PERREN (2 BOTTONI; 18 Jakob ENGELBERGER), 9 David BAJIC (16 Dario WÜTHRICH), 10 Luca GOOD, 11 Raphael URBEN, 14 Phillip BRASSER

SUBSTITUTES: All four named substitutes were used.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apologies for the lack of statistical information.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022


A fair number of Greenland-born footballers have moved abroad down the years to study, find work or try and carve out a professional career in Denmark. Famous Greenlandic footballers are not exactly ten a penny, however, and the name Jesper Gronkjær crops up every time someone mentions something about the subject, more often than not in an article on the final stages of the country's football tournament, which will also invariably include the hackneyed "shortest football championship in the world" and/or "the football championship which only lasts a week" one-liners. 

Gronkjær was born in Godthåb (now known as Nuuk, of course) in 1977, where his mother worked as a nurse and his father found work as an electrician and a butcher, but he and his family moved to Denmark after five years in Greenland when he was only three years old, and the former Ajax, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid player, who went on to win 80 caps for Denmark, has never really had any further connection with the land of his birth.

A number of Greenlandic players have made the trip to Denmark in the last twenty-five years or so, most notably Rene Overballe, Niklas Kreutzmann, Aputsiaq Birch and Anton Overballe (the last two of whom should be familiar to anyone who reads PFB). Nowadays, some of the country's best Futsal players, international players Malik Juhl, Federik Funch and Malik Heimarij among them, have found a home for their skills in Denmark.

And, young Asii Kleist Berthelsen has been making waves in Denmark as a member of women's champions Fortuna Hjorring's squad over the past couple of years, and, as a result, has become a regular member of Denmark's under-age squads.

But, perhaps the first Greenlandic-born footballer to play the game abroad was Svend Ringsted, who was the son of Carl Ringsted, one of the Danish colonial administrators in Greenland at the time of his birth. Ringsted, whose story somewhat mirrors that of Gronkjær, was born in Julianehåb (now Qaqortoq) on 30 August 1893. 

Ringsted's father was returning to Denmark on a year's leave in 1896 when the ship he was travelling on, Castors, was lost off Cape Farewell, Greenland's southernmost point, in 1896, and all hands went down with the ship. In all, twenty-six people, twenty-one crew and five passengers, perished. The rest of the family - Carl Ringsted's wife and four children - including three year-old Svend, moved back to Denmark a year later, never to return to Greenland. 

Ringsted left secondary school in 1911, and joined Akademisk Boldklub the same year, and stayed with them until 1923. He won two Danish titles with them in 1919 and 1921 and also represented Denmark on five occasions, making his debut away to Sweden on 20 October 1918 in a 2:1 win.

The defender was also part of the Danish team which travelled to Antwerp to take part in the the 1920 Olympic Games under former Seaton Burn and Newcastle United manager Jack Carr, but did not play as Denmark were elminated in the first round after losing 1:0 against Spain. His fifth and final cap for Denmark came on 12 June 1921, when the Danes drew 1:1 against Holland in Copenhagen.

Ringsted qualified as a mechanical engineer during his time at Akademisk, and, after retiring from football, went on to manage and sit on the board at a number of companies, including that of his son. Svend Ringsted died in Hillerød, near Copenhagen, in 1975, at the edge of 81, and was survived by his wife and two children.

Svend Ringsted's story is not as well-known as that of Jesper Gronkjær, but if the latter can be referenced every time a story on football in Greenland is written, Ringsted's is one which deserves a honourable footnote in the history of both Greenlandic and Danish football. He was surely the first Greenlandic-born footballer to both lift the Danish title and play for Denmark, and not even Jesper Gronkjær can match that.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Much of the above information was gleaned from Wikipedia,,, and

Sunday, August 7, 2022


The final stages of this year's Greenlandic national championship will take place this coming week in the northern town of Ilulissat, home of Nagdlúnguak-48, who are this year's designated hosts and, as a result, were exempt from taking part in the qualifying stages. 

After a couple of tournament featuring ten teams and another with six teams, and last year's tournament being scrapped as a result of the Corona virus crisis, the finals make a welcome return this year with a tournament featuring the more traditional total of eight clubs.

Happily, East Greenland will be represented for the first time in a number of years, and by one of the region's oldest clubs to boot. ATA, formed in 1960 and hailing from the town of Tasiilaq, return to the big stage for the first time in a decade after coming through a five-team qualifying tournament which also featured its reserve side.

Elsewhere, the usual suspects - B-67 and IT-79 - made it through the Sermersooq/NBU qualifying group after overcoming stiff resistance from Nagtoralik, G-44 qualified from the Disko Bay region as per usual (and will be joined this year by T-41 Aasiaat), K-33 will have made the long journey north from the southernmost reaches of the country after coming top of their qualifying group, and Upernavik's UB-83 will be representing the Avaanaa region. SAK, from Sisimiut, qualified after defeating Aqissiaq in a play-off.

The draw was made by the KAK (the Greenlandic FA) on 30 July, and was refined on 6 August, with the Group B clash between heavyweights B-67 and Nagdlúnguaq-48, which was originally scheduled to kick off at 15:00 on Monday being swapped with the game between UB-83 against ATA, and will now take place at 19:00.

Please find below the fixture-list for the final tournament of the 2022 Greenlandic national championship (kick-off times in CET).




08/08/22 17:00 IT-79 : G-44
08/08/22 21:00 K-33 : SAK
09/08/22 17:00 IT-79 : K-33
09/08/22 21:00 G-44 : SAK
10/08/22 17:00 IT-79 : SAK
10/08/22 21:00 G-44 : K-33




08/08/22 19:00 UB-83 : ATA
08/08/22 23:00 B-67 : Nagdlúnguaq-48
09/08/22 19:00 B-67 : UB-83
09/08/22 23:00 Nagdlúnguaq-48 : ATA
10/08/22 19:00 B-67 : ATA
10/08/22 23:00 Nagdlúnguaq-48 : UB-83


12/08/22 17:00 GPA3 : GPB4
12/08/22 19:00 GPA4 : GPB3


12/08/22 21:00 GPA1 : GPB2
12/08/22 23:00 GPA2 : GPA1


13/08/22 15:30


13/08/22 17:00


13:08/22 19:30


13/08/22 23:00

NOTE: It was revealed in the hours after this article was published that ATA scratched from the finals of the national championship due to their being unable to raise the money needed to travel to Ilulissat, meaning that, once again, there would be no representative from East Greenland taking part. Their place has been taken by Aasiaat' T-41. 

Meanwhile, B-67 were stranded at Kangerlussuaq Airport due to fog, so their game against B-67, due to be played on 08/08/22, has been moved to 11/08/22. These changes shall be reflected in an article covering this year's championship, to be published in the days after the tournament's conclusion.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: As mentioned in the article, the draw was made public by the KAK on 30 July. As ever, any errors/omissions will be rectified upon notification. Many thanks to Lorenzo Bigo for additional information.

Saturday, May 1, 2021


Life hasn't dealt Australia's indigenous population a fair hand over the past couple of hundred of years or so, and they still find themselves on the bottom rungs of the nation's ladder, facing discrimination, poverty and a lack of opportunity in many areas. Indigenous athletes have found success in a number of sports down the years, but they remain less prevalent than they perhaps should be.

Since the end of the Second World War, and particularly since the 1960s, indigenous (in other words, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders) athletes have been coming increasingly to the fore in Aussie Rules, both Rugby codes, boxing, track and field and, belatedly, in football, though the road has been a long one for the country's indigenous sports men and women. At the end of the nineteenth century, a majority of the Aboriginal population lived in segregated areas of Australia, having been driven from their ancestral lands, from where their lands had been taken over by waves of immigrants from 1788 onwards, to more isolated swathes of the country. Because of their isolation, Aborigines were often ignorant of developments elsewhere in Australia, not least on the sporting front.

They and the Torres Strait Islanders, who, unlike many Aboriginal peoples, were not singularly dispossessed of their land, had their own sports, though, and many of them. Ball sports were very popular, though very few resembled modern-day football. Tjapu-tjapu, which was played by the Djinghali people (though the word 'tjapu-tjapu' - 'game of football' - comes from the Pitjantjatjara-Yankunytjatjara language) of central Australia was what we would classify today as a group game of keepie-uppie.

Millim baeyeetch was played in what is now modern-day Victoria, and, players were divided into opposing teams. At the end of the game, the beiin (player) who kicked the ball the highest was considered to be their equivalent of the man of the match, and was given the ball to keep until the next game by burying it in the ground.

There are other ball games, but the best-known of them all is probably marn-grook, which is considered by many to be the ancestor of Aussie Rules, or at least was a factor in the sport's development. That remains unproven, but one can see how the connotation was made: Marn-grook ('game of ball') was played all over south-eastern Australia and was extremely popular in Victoria, and (like Aussie Rules) involved a ball - often made of possum-hair twine - being kicked high into the air in order to be athletically caught. 

 Drawing by Gustav Mützel (in Berlin 1862) based on Blandowski's 1857 observations of a scene near present day in Victoria.

 An illustration of an Aboriginal football game - perhaps marn-grook - being played as part of a larger illustration, "Aborigines of Australia - Domestic occupations in 'summer season' on the Lower [??] Murray River" (1862), drawn by Gustav Mützel and based on the studies of William Blandowski, which were carried out in 1857

But, there was generally little or no room for either Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders in the growing sporting world of the colonies which would combine in 1901 to form the Commonwealth of Australia. They remained isolated from mainstream colonial society as a whole, but a few cases of indigenous athletes taking part in colonial competition did crop up. Charles Samuels was one: the Kamilaroi man ran the irregular-sounding distance of 134 yards in 12.5 seconds at an event in Botany in 1888, and has been acclaimed as Australian champion on more than one occasion, the first after having won 100 and 300-yard races in 1886. He has also often been described as the best runner ever to have come out of Australia.

Just four men of Aboriginal background have ever won the famous 120-yard Stawell Easter Gift foot-race (held in the Victorian village of Stawell, the first being Dimboola native Bobby Kinnear in 1883, also with a time of 12.5 seconds. Kinnear (born in 1851) had an interesting early life, to put it mildly: a member of the Yarra-Yarra tribe, he was apparently taken from his parents after his father threatened to kill him and thereafter spent much of his life living at the Ebenezer Mission Station at Antwerp, a tiny village in north-western Victoria. Not much is known of his life until his death in 1935, apart from he and his wife raising three sons. 

The second, Tom Dancey, was born in Queensland sometime around 1888 and spent most of his early life working alongside his brothers at various sheep stations in the area. He won the race in 1910 after hitting the front in the final 50 yards, right when it mattered most, and was handed a trophy and the then not inconsiderable sum of 1000 pounds. However, there is a story that Dancey was relieved of his prize money by his trainers and assorted hangers-on and returned home to the Queensland village of Dirranbandi with little more than the Stawell Gift trophy and the clothes on his back. He died in Dirranbandi in 1957 and was laid to rest in an unmarked grave; thanks in no small part to the efforts of his niece, an appeal to rectify this quickly gathered pace, and a headstone was finally erected over Dancey's grave in 2011.

There were a number of others, of course: Johnny Murtagh, one of Australian cricket's earliest stars during the 1860s and 1870s, who fought tirelessly for Aboriginal rights and died in 1891; Jack Marsh, the first Aboriginal cricketer to play first-class cricket, representing New South Wales on six occasions; and early Aussie Rules star Joe Johnson, who was the first Aborigine to play in the Victoria Football League during the early 1900s.

But football? There were at least two Aboriginal footballers who managed to escape from the segregation propagated by the colonies and prolonged by the new Commonwealth of Australia, which came into being in 1901. The first was a chap called Quilp, who played in Queensland for Dinmore Bush Rats. According to The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe (John Maynard, 2011), information on him was scant. He seemingly came and went in the blink of an eye and remained a man of mystery. However, in recent years, more has been discovered about him and his playing career.

Quilp first appears in articles in the Queensland Times in May 1904, when he was playing for another Dinmore side, Reliance, in a cup tie against Markets FC. He had apparently been sent off, presumably for dissent, but later returned to the field of play where he scored the winning goal, much to the bemusement of the spectators, who were seemingly of the mind that the ball didn't cross the line. A protest was made at the final whistle, which was dismissed by the then Queensland British Football Association a few days later. However, it appears that two Reliance players who had "misconducted themselves" against Markets received bans from the the QBFA: a V. Bognuda (?) received a month-long ban, whilst "Quilp, aboriginal, being disqualified for the season."

He later joined Dinmore Bush Rats, a team which were founded in 1888, and Quilp appears in a squad-photo dating from 1910 under the name Jackie (Quilp) Lynch. The Bush Rats had a very successful year in 1910, winning the Brisbane Senior Challenge Cup and the Junior Challenge Cup - Quilp was a member of the winning Junior side, which also lost in the final of the West Moreton Junior Challenge Cup. (It was the only match the Junior side lost all season.)

According to an article which appeared in the Queensland Times in January 1929, Quilp was originally from somewhere west of the region of Brisbane and Ipswich, between which the tiny village of Dinmore is situated, and was brought to the area by a Mr. Asburn, a well-known local butcher, when he was a little boy. The Asburns lived in Riverview, another small village next to Dinmore, and Quilp "lived for many years" with them until Mr. Asburn died and the family left Riverview. Quilp then moved the short distance to Dinmore, and it was noted by the author of the article that "Quilp was at one time a keen footballer, and I think he played in some of the minor football matches with the Dinmore Bush Rats' Club." 

He was certainly part of a makeshift Bush Rats team which took on a Combined Brisbane XI in August 1908 at the Pineapple Ground on South Brisbane's Kangaroo Point. The match finished all-square at 1:1, with several juniors and the 'ebony' Quilp replenishing a depleted squad for a match which the Queensland Times described as "a friendly one, engaged in with the view of giving a stimulus to the 'soccer' game in the metropolitan area."

Quilp stayed in Dinmore for a number of years, working for different local firms, even becoming a referee of some renown (and is referred to as "the ebony umpire of 'soccer' rules at Dunmore" in a 1911 article in the Queensland Times), until "the police, acting under instructions from the Home Secretary's Department, removed Quilp to the aboriginal settlement at Barambah [now modern-day Cherbourg]." 

Quilp's was one of almost 2100 forced removals of Aboriginal people carried out in the name of the Australian government between 1905-39 to what was the Barambah Aboriginal Settlement; the name of the settlement itself changed to Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement in 1932 before it was changed to plain old Cherbourg in 1986. It seems that Quilp spent some time hunting buffalo in the Northern Territory in 1919 before moving to Tweed Heads, in the extreme north-east corner of New South Wales, and, apart from some tales being told of his wit and repartee - and the odd brush with the law - there his footballing story seems to peter out. 

He appears to have died in Murwillumbah on 22 January 1930, aged 63. In direct comparison to the eulogies which appeared in the local press following his death (though the language used would not be tolerated now; it is difficult to know how to react to newspaper articles which described Quilp as a "darkie"and "Abo"), only three or four people turned out to witness his funeral and internment. 

Dinmore Bush Rats FC team-photo, 1910. Quillp (Jacky Lynch) is seated in the middle of the second row. (Photographer unknown, but the photo is held in the collection of Ipswich Libraries, Ipswich City Council, Queensland)

The second Aboriginal footballer was better-known; at least, more records of his footballing exploits exist than do those for Quilp, whilst comparatively little is known of his life off the pitch. His name was Bondi Neal (died in July/August 1953?), and he somehow managed to escape the segregation of the Aboriginal reserves and found work in the Hunter Valley minefields, situated to the west of the New South Wales city of Newcastle. Neal was described by the former Ausralian Football Federation historian Sid Grant as "part Aboriginal [and a] keen, versatile sportsman..He once threw a cricket ball 66 yards with both hands."

He arrived in the Hunter Valley, somehow, in 1904, and from whence he came is unrecorded, though it is mentioned here and there that he came from the South Coast region of New South Wales. He found work almost immediately in the mines, and a football club in the mining settlement of Pelaw Main. He and the newly-founded Pelaw Main club reached the final of the Newcastle competition later in 1904, losing 1:0 to Broadmeadow. He and his team-mates gained a reputation as formidable opponents, and won the Newcastle competition in 1907, eventually defeating Wallsend Royals 4:2 after extra time in an absorbing final which had finished 2:2 after 90 minutes.

A year later, in 1908, Neal moved a mile or so up the road to the neighbouring town of Kurri Kurri , where he not only played football, but cricket, and both codes of Rugby. It was while he was at Kurri Kurri that his form, consistently good over the years but especially so in 1908-09, ensured that he was selected to play for a Coalfields select against a visiting West Australia side at Maitland's Albion Ground in early May 1909. The visitors won by two goals to nil, but Neal excelled himself in his first representative match, saving at least five goal-bound shots. 

It was also almost certainly the first time that a member of the indigenous population had played in a representative football match. He stayed at Kurri Kurri until 1910, when he moved to Weston, another small town a mile or two to the west of Kurri Kurri, and played for a club there. But, which one? At least three teams were founded in the village in 1907: Weston Advance, Weston United and Weston Albions. Weston Bears, who exist today, also claim their foundation to have taken place in 1907.

The story goes that he left Weston in 1912 and moved to his native South Coast region, but it seems that he only made it as far as the town of Balgownie, just to the west of Wollongong, some miles to the south of Sydney, and was actually playing for the Balgownie Rangers club as early as 1911. (Another contradiction presents itself..) He also appears in a Balgownie Rangers first-team photo from 1913 under the name B. O'Neill.

Playing for Woonona, Neal represented the South Coast FA in a match on 23 April 1921 against what the Illawarra Mercury described as "a metropolitan team from Sydney"; the Sydney publication Arrow named the opposition as Metropolis. Whatever the opposition were called, the South Coast lost the match, played at Woonona, by 2 goals to 1, the correspondent writing for the South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus mentioned merely that "Neal, in goal, is easily our best goalie."

He was called up again by the South Coast FA for their game against Queensland on June 8, also at Woonona, but only as one of the reserves. (The South Coast won by 4 goals to 2.)

He was due to play for the new Wollongong United club at the beginning of 1923. It would be his fourth club in as many years, so claimed an article in the Illawarra Mercury; he had played for Balgownie, Corrimal and Woonona, and evidence seems to point to him playing for Balgownie in 1922.

In September 1923, according to an article in the Bundaberg Mail which was reproduced from an unnamed 'Sydney journal', Neal was apparently still playing football at the age of 42, and keeping goal for Woonona. (Perhaps the move to Wollongong United fell through.) 

The article tells a little of his early life and of his ancestry: his father was a Scotsman, his mother 'a half-caste'. He was born in the back country of New South Wales, probably in 1881, and he was apparently blessed with an ability to jump higher and farther than most; his friends christened him "Banda", which was the Aboriginal word for kangaroo, so the article claimed, and his nickname was then later anglicised to "Bondi."

Neal had been a promising runner, and had taken up rugby in around 1903, playing "first-grade" standard in the Newcastle district. He then began to play football, "and he achieved a like success", as we have seen. The contributor of the article was of the opinion that at "42 years of age, he [Neal] is still a fine footballer, and one of the most popular footballers in the district."

This would seem to contradict a little of what had previously been known about Bondi Neal; according to John Maynard, he had played four sports when living in Kurri Kurri, but the implication was that he had taken up football when he arrived in Pelaw Main in 1904 and the other three only after he moved to Kurri Kurri in 1908.

Neal was living in Wollongong and seemed to have retired from playing football by Christmas 1926, when he had apparently suffered "painful injury to his head and back" due to flying coal whilst working down Scarborough mine; he had also suffered an injury to his hand earlier the same day. He also appeared to do a little refereeing from time to time. The trail then goes pretty much cold after this regarding Bondi's sporting exploits, though one of his former clubs, Balgowlie Rangers, were planning to organise a benefit match for him in 1949. 

Bondi Neal, or, to give him his full name, Walter Ernest "Bondi" Neal, died in Wollongong District Hospital on 31 July 1953. He was survived by his wife and five of his six children. His obituary in the Illawarra Mercury (which spelled his surname as "Neil") mentioned that "In his younger days Mr. Neil was very interested in the sporting activities of the district including soccer, cricket, Rugby union and boxing."

That which appeared in the South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus was rather more expansive, saying that he was active in five sports (cricket, football, boxing, Rugby Union and Aussie Rules) and that he had played football until he was 69 years old, describing him as possessing "one of the most colourful sporting identities of the South Coast." He had amassed almost a hundred medals and awards through the years, and appeared in representative teams in at least three sports. He had also spent a large part of his working life at Scarborough mine.

Both obituaries stated that Bondi Neal was 89 years old when he died. This stands in sharp contrast with what was published by the Bundaberg Mail back in 1923, which would have made him around 73 when he died. This confusion over Bondi Neal's age when he died is a perfect example of the type of problem faced by football historians everywhere, especially when trying to fill in the white areas still prevalent on the map of early football.

On the other hand, we can be reasonably confident that there was only one Bondi Neal, and, indeed, only one Quilp. Most of the information mentioned in this article has only come to light in the last ten years or so, and some of it only in the last couple of years, not all of it flattering in Quilp's case, at least. Although this article is extremely imperfect and will leave behind just as many questions as answers, it is just the latest stage in a work in progress on the lives of both gentlemen, and someone else will come along and take up the story from here (I hope). 

Although there is surely much, much more to discover about both men, every new morsel of information helps give a slightly more complete picture of both of their lives, as well as, for better or worse, providing another tiny window into the intolerance faced by the indigenous peoples in early twentieth century Australia. Neither man was among the first Aboriginal sports men and women to take part in modern-day sport, but they did help blaze a trail, however short, however thin, for indigenous Australian involvement in football.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Most of the information included in the above article comes from a limited range of sources, some of which provided the inspiration, if not a lot of material, for the article:

"Football Barriers - Aboriginal under-representation and disconnection from the 'world game' (John Maynard, 2009; p. 39-56, "Soccer & Society", Routledge)

"The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe: A history of aboriginal involvement with the world game" (John Maynard, 2011; Magabala Books)

"The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe" - book review by Chris Hallinan (2014; "Soccer & Society", Routledge)

"The Containment of Soccer in Australia: Fencing Off The World Game" - Chris Hallinan, John Hughson (2010, Routledge)

Much of the information was also found using the Trove newspaper archive resource:

Information was gleaned from archive material available on Trove from the following publications, amongst others: Queensland Times; South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus; Illawarra Mercury; Bundaberg Mail

Essential to the story of Quilp and Bondi Neal is the below article, written by Ian Syson: