European Championships 2005

GB Lions v Germany   July 28th 2005 Malmo Sweden

Germany, the number one seeds will play the number four seeds GB Lions in the semi-final of the European Championships in Sweden next summer. The hosts Sweden and Finland will contest the other semi-final.

The games will take place in the southern most part of Sweden in downtown Malmo.

The Swedish Federation hopes to put on a fantastic event and provide the best facilities for the participating teams.

Confidence and inner belief are high in the Lions camp after a victorious campaign in Amiens. They showed great passion and determination in their play. After beating Russia, Spain and the tournament favourites France, they brought home the Group B championship trophy. Riq Ayub, voted European All-star Coach, still has his feet planted firmly on the ground, “Going from 7th or 8th in Europe to number four was a colossal achievement and we showed that we had an inner fire, a character of steel to excel. Nor will I forget what it took to instil this by the coaches and the special feeling of high energy and motivation we had but the journey has only just begun and the road ahead will be long and challenging one”. Ayub also revealed the high level of trust the players had for the coaches which in turn helped in the day to day preparation of the team and the unquestionable bond. They will need every ounce of good fortune and team spirit for their next campaign if they are to repeat the success.

As in France, they will have to punch above their weight to embellish themselves in glory once again. As firm underdogs they will have to give all they have and more to overcome this next major hurdle but Coach Ayub is still upbeat, “We have to implement the lessons learnt from the last tournament and if every player does as the forty in France did then why not”. In France the British won over everyone with their dogged relentless attitude to take the games to the opposition until GB finally lay victorious on the field. A sense of real excitement flows from the GB camp, to be in amongst the big boys, but the question still beckons are Riq’s lion hearts up to the challenge? “Not today, but we don’t have to play them today and remember in France we learnt - it is possible”.

Following game against Germany, GB will have one days rest before they have to play again, this does not sit easy with Ayub, “I am a firm believer that players should have a minimum of two days rest between games for health and safety reasons. I am surprised that that the organisers did not note the amount of injuries picked up with only one days rest in the last tournament”. Players need to be better prepared physically coming into the championships was acknowledged. “Of course injuries can be minimised by players who pay more attention to their physical condition. Two of our more serious injuries where to players who work very hard to keep in football shape. So I would still argue that we need two days rest between games”. The National Programme will be putting in a formal protest to EFAF and asking them for one more days rest for all teams.

Last weekend, a draft of proposed dates for camps was submitted to the BAFA Board which now has to be reviewed, as the championships have been brought back a month. The two day camp in the first weekend in December should not be affected by this but the whole schedule leading up to Sweden is under review. A statement will be released shortly mapping out the next nine months. Keep up to date