Julio Ribas, Gibraltar’s new national team head coach, started with his first training sessions on Thursday evening. New faces were among those gathered, including Matt Caffer who is the latest goalkeeper to become eligible to play for Gibraltar.
Although many of the known faces where not present, mainly due to their club commitment Ribas conducted the first of a series of training sessions planned for the coming months as Gibraltar prepares of the Nations League international matches.
A forty-five minute preliminary address of the players present left those attending in no doubt that the Uruguayan, former Lincoln Red Imps coach, had set about to instil the passion of playing for Gibraltar and believing in themselves as players.
Many of the younger players, and even the more experienced were seen at tentatively listening to the long talk he gave them by the Victoria Stadium stands before leading them onto the field to conduct some tactical training.
The new head coach, with only the futsal national team head coach and a couple of the GFA appointed physios and physical trainers as his assistants conducted a two hour training session. GFA officials have since confirmed that the Julio Ribas will be conducting similar training sessions twice a week with local clubs having agreed to this already, according to GFA officials present at the training session. The training sessions will, however, take into consideration the clubs needs and will not call on all the payers at the same time allowing for players to be able to combine their club duties with the national team duties.
Surprisingly, Ribas is understood to have indicated that he will not be using the technical support team of coaches which the national team had before, something which was evident on the field on Thursday.
Ribas’ presence was welcome by some of the more experienced players of the squad with one commenting that “it was what the team needed.”
His methods, especially the use of what some players who have worked with him before called “the soup of the day” training, took some of those watching for surprise. With the team not split up into individual groups as other coaches had done, the new methods of coaching being brought into the national squad left many coaches watching somewhat perplexed, although one of his former club players gave his methods the “thumbs up” as he indicated that it had worked well with Lincoln giving the team a unity on the field which provided results.
The first training session saw many of the GFA executive in attendance with Dennis Beiso the GFA General Secretary, Ivan Robba his deputy and Richard Manning among those present. Riba’s background staff other than the two physios, doctor, and futsal national team coach only included the kitman team who provided assistance with the equipment.
The first training of the GFA also coincided with the final training sessions for the Under 14 selection who played a friendly match against a mix of the older youth selections. In contrast to the senior team lack of backroom staff the youth team had numerous youth coaches attending with the Director of Football Desi Curry leading the session on the field during what was described as a final “fun practice match.”