STEYNING Town Football Club are set for their first-ever international friendly next year.
The club’s under-18 team will travel to play Gibraltar’s under-17 side, in their national stadium, on April 4, as part of a four-day tour to Malaga.
The rather unusual pairing has come about through a lot of hard work from three of Steyning’s under-18 coaching staff, Daniel Fuller-Smith, Jaime Banasco- Zaragoza and Luke Banasco-Zaragoza.
Luke and Jaime have contacts in the area, with family living in Gibraltar, serving in the Gibraltar Army. After a call to the Gibraltar FA, the prestigious match was arranged.
The Gibraltar FA will host Steyning for the day, which will include a tour of the Gibraltar Rock as well as pre and post-match hospitality, while the Gibraltar manager and players are also set to attend the match.
Steyning will take 18 players to Malaga to compete in two friendlies and the squad will be selected from the club’s 40-player youth development programme, who play across two teams and two divisions.
Steyning chairman Richard Woodbridge said: “I, like everybody at the club, am thrilled and excited that Steyning Town Football Club under-18s will be given the opportunity to play the Gibraltar under-17 national side.
“It will be a huge challenge for the lads, but one I know they will rise to. To play in such a prestigious fixture in the national stadium will create memories and experiences they will take with them for the rest of their lives.
“We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in getting this fixture arranged, and we look forward to plenty of representatives from the club coming out to support the match and sample the hospitality that Gibraltar has to offer.
“Steyning Town Football Club has a proud history and has had some great days over the years. This is sure to be up there with the best of them.”
Under-18 assistant manager Jaime Banasco-Zaragoza said: “We place on record our sincere gratitude to the Gibraltar Football Association for their superb support in the organisation of our tour.
“It is a historic game for our club and one that has sent positive vibes throughout the whole club.
“To be able to play an international team, in their national stadium, will be an unforgettable experience and we can only thank the Gibraltar FA for the opportunity.”
Under-18 manager Daniel Fuller-Smith added: “This tour will be a fantastic end to our season and we have our work cut out to prepare over the next 11 months.”
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