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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The Falkland Islands men's national team recently returned from Jersey where they will be took part in the 2015 NatWest Island Games, which ran from 28/06/15-03/07/15. The team played four matches, and managed to defeat Hitra 2:1 in their opening game to retain the Small Islands trophy. Although the Falklands team lost their three remaining matches, they fought bravely and were by no means outclassed, losing 3:0 against the Isle of Wight and conceding five without reply against the Shetland Islands before losing the 11th-place play-off against the Western Isles by the odd goal in three.

Team coach Michael Betts was extremely positive in his summing-up of the team's performance in Jersey, and was full of praise for his team: "The Falkland Islands football team’s performance in Jersey at the Island Games has been considered a success. Retaining the Small Islands Cup and receiving a Gold Certificate for the team’s performance are the more obvious signs of success, but the biggest success is the introduction of a new generation of players.  

"Aiden Morris, Ross Peters, Sam Toolan and Declan Bonner all showed at their first Island Games that they can play at a much higher standard, which only bodes well for the future. The team also introduced Paul Zeller and Alejandro Santana, both of which contributed massively to the team. 

"There was a fear that the new generation of players might not be able to adjust to playing against higher calibre opposition, but this proved to be unfounded. The results in Jersey proved this, with the win over Hitra and with the Isle of Wight struggling to keep the Falklands team at bay in the second half. The hope is that we build on this performance and try and do better in Gotland."

"There were plenty of standout performers in Jersey: Danny Biggs, risking serious injury, played two 90 minute matches with a fractured cheekbone, which didn’t negatively affect his tenacious tackling and work rate; Paul Zeller with his tireless running; Captain Kyle Biggs with his determined performances Josh Peck with his versatility, playing at full back and centre back; Stevie Aldridge for his work rate and adaptability; and Georgie Elbakidze for his astute team selections and substitutions, with the latter changing the games against Hitra and the Western Isles."

Domestically, the Falkland Islands Football League, which runs football in the islands, has been unable to run a full-scale local league competition since 2013 due to the lack of a decent playing surface, but they have been able to keep football alive in the islands by organising friendlies for Stanley FC and by running small 7-a-side league and cup competitions. Due to the current, dormant, state of the 11-a-side version in the Falklands, Stanley FC, which now more or less doubles as the national team, are currently the only official 11-a-side club currently operating in the islands.

Four teams participated in both 7-a-side competitions during the 2014-15 season: FIDF (Falkland Islands Defence Force), Malvina, Sealed PR and Falkland Holidays. FIDF started the season badly, losing their first three matches, but won the next six in a row to beat Malvina to the league title on goal difference. The two teams met in the final of the cup competition, and Malvina picked up the trophy following a close five-goal encounter.

As alluded to in a previous article previewing the Falkland Islands team's participation in the 2015 NatWest Island Games, there have been ongoing discussions between the FIFL and the Falkland Islands' Legislature Assembly regarding the installation of a new football pitch in the islands' capital, Stanley. A working group was set up to look into the feasibility of providing said playing surface, and Betts provided the following update on the situation.
"The working group tasked into looking at new facilities is currently drafting a paper to go to Executive Council sometime this year. The working group have identified two options for new facilities; (1) develop an artificial turf football pitch to be constructed on the current football pitch, or (2) develop a much larger indoor facility that will house a multi-use artificial turf (full sized football) pitch, with numerous suitable locations around Stanley identified.  

"The former would be ideal for football in the islands and the latter’s suitability for football is very much dependent on the turf that is selected. [Stanley] Football Club is working hard to ensure the turf selected allows players to wear studs and that it is close to replicating natural turf. Also, the first option can be carried out with the current budget allocated, while the second option requires much more funding. The purpose of this Executive Council paper is to gauge the appetite of Members of Legislative Assembly for providing more funding to go with the large indoor facility which could accommodate many more sports."

The future of football in the Falklands depends on either project coming to fruition, but following the islands' men's team's encouraging showing in Jersey the under-age team's performance in a tournament in Chile last year and an increase in football's popularity among the islands' youth, the FIFL should be able to provide enough evidence to the Legislative Assembly for them to approve the installation of a football pitch of a decent standard, which would provide both an alternative sporting outlet for Falklanders of all ages (to that of cricket, for example) and a base which will ensure that football will not only survive, but flourish, on the islands.

Please find below a brief statistical overview of both the league and cup competitions run by the Falkland Islands Footbal League (FIFL), and also information on friendly matches played by Stanley FC over the same time-frame and up to the team's departure for Jersey. Kindly note, however, that the information may be incomplete, so apologies in advance to those of a statistical bent.


28/11/14 Malvina 4:0 Falkland Holidays (Alejandro Santana 2, Jay Gamble, Wayne Clement)
28/11/14 Sealed PR 3:0 FIDF (Zaza Elbakidze, Stephen Aldridge, OG)
09/12/14 Falkland Holidays 0:10 Sealed PR (Zaza Elbakidze 2, Marco Layton 2, Paul Zeller 2, Torin Harte 2, Javier Sotomayor 2, Joe Birmingham)
09/12/14 FIDF 1:3 Malvina (Saul Zuvic; Alejandro Santana 2, Wayne Clement) 
12/12/14 Sealed PR 1:4 Malvina (Zaza Elbakidze; Sam Toolan 3, Matias Reyes)
12/12/14 Falkland Holidays 4:3 FIDF (Rafa Sotomayor 3, Reuben Cofre; Mark Allen, Aiden Morris, Saul Zuvic)
09/01/15 Falkland Holidays 1:4 Malvina (Kizito Buzibwa; Alejandro Santana, Shupi Chipunza, Wayne Clement, Chris McDonald)
09/01/15 FIDF 4:1 Sealed PR (Aiden Morris 2, Ian Betts, Lucas Beggs; George Elbakidze)
16/01/15 Sealed PR 4:2 Falklands Holidays (Zaza Elbakidze, Merrill Leo, Troyd Bowles, Torin Harte; David Phillips, Ian France)
16/01/15 Malvina 1:7 FIDF (Lee Hartnoll; Aiden Morris 3, Mark Allen, Kyle Biggs, Saul Zuvic, Ian Betts)
30/01/15 Malvina 2:4 Sealed PR (Wayne Clement, Matias Reyes; Javier Sotomayor 2, Joe Birmingham, OG)
30/01/15 FIDF 10:1 Falkland Holidays (Aiden Morris 3, Ian Betts 3, Saul Zuvic 2, Luke Clarke; Karl Nightingale)
06/02/15 Malvina 3:0 Falklands Holidays (walkover)
06/02/15 Sealed PR 1:14 FIDF (N/A; Mark Allen 8, Aiden Morris 3, Saul Zuvic 2, Jacob Foot)
13/02/15 FIDF 2:1 Malvina (Ian Betts, Saul Zuvic; Alejandro Santana)
13/02/15 Falkland Holidays 7:1 Sealed PR (Rafa Sotomayor 4, David Phillips, Toby Poole, Michael Poole; N/A)
20/02/15 FIDF 6:4 Falkland Holidays (Saul Zuvic 3, Mark Allen, Ian Betts, Kyle Biggs; Rafa Sotomayor 2, Michael Betts, Joe Birmingham)
20/02/15 Sealed PR 3:6 Malvina (Troyd Bowles 2, Javier Sotomayor; Alejandro Santana 3, Hew Carville 2, Daniel Carcamo)

Sealed PR
Falkland Holidays



27/02/15 FIDF 3:0 Falkland Holidays (walkover)
27/02/15 Sealed PR 0:2 Malvina


06/03/15 Falkland Holidays 0:3 FIDF (walkover; FIDF 6:0 on aggregate)
06/03/15 Malvina 6:1 Sealed PR (Malvina 8:1 on aggregate)


13/02/15 Malvina 3:2 FIDF (Kyran Evans, Michael Betts, Matias Reyes; Saul Zuvic, Aiden Morris)


29/06/14 Mount Pleasant MPA 1:2 Stanley FC (Emerson Hanley; Kyle Biggs, Toby Poole)
12/12/14 Stanley Stanley FC 6:0 Resident Rapier Battery (Aiden Morris 4, Wayne Clement 2)*
25/01/15 Mount Pleasant Army XI 2:1 Stanley FC (Army scorers unknown; Sam Toolan)
31/01/15 Stanley Stanley FC 2:0 Army XI (Wayne Clement, Aiden Morris)
15/03/15 Mount Pleasant Sprockets 1:2 Stanley FC (Sprockets scorer unknown; Sam Toolan, OG)
29/03/15 Mount Pleasant MPA 2:8 Stanley FC (MPA scorers unknown; Declan Bonner 2, Michael Betts 2, Andres Balladares, Rafa Sotomayor, Sam Toolan, Alejandro Santana)


18/12/14 RAF 2:0 Army (scorers unknown)
18/12/14 Stanley FC 2:1 RAF (Wayne Clement 2; RAF scorer unknown)
18/12/14 Army 3:3 Stanley FC (Army scorers unknown; Rafa Sotomayor, Zaza Elbakidze, Wayne Clement)

Stanley FC win tournament



28/06/15 Falkland Islands 2:1 Hitra (Shupi Chipunza, Rafa Sotomayor)
29/06/15 Falkland Islands 0:3 Isle of Wight
30/06/15 Falkland Islands 0:5 Shetland Islands


02/06/15 Falkland Islands 1:2 Western Isles (Alejandro Santana)

NOTE: * 7-a-side match; all other games were 11-a-side

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to Michael Betts for his assistance and for providing the majority of the information included above; some of the information also came from the FIFL's Facebook page, and the Penguin News website was also checked, as was the website for the 2015 NatWest Island Games. Any errors or omissions shall be rectified upon receipt of the correct information.

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