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Sunday, August 28, 2011


After the furore surrounding the defeat to Uruguay, Moacyr Barbosa slowly resumed his club career with Vasco da Gama, and remained hugely popular within the club itself and among its supporters. He may have been in the Brazil side which finished as runners-up in the 1950 World Cup, but was a member of the Vasco side which won the Carioca state championship towards the end of the same year, and who won it again in 1952.

So good was his form at the time that he was selected for the Brazil squad which travelled to Peru for the 1953 Copa America and which finished runners-up to Paraguay. Just as the competition was the last time in which Brazil played in their all-white strip (in the period following the 1950 World Cup, the Brazilian football authorities decided to change the national team's strip as they had come to consider it a jinx, having associated it with the defeat against Uruguay; it was changed after this tournament), it was to see Barbosa's 20th and final appearance in a full international for O Seleção.

He signed off on a winning note, with Brazil defeating Ecuador 2:0 on 12/3/53. He was substituted in the 72nd minute, and his international career was over, a fortnight before his 32nd birthday. No other black goalkeeper would go between the sticks for Brazil in a full international until Dida made his début for the national side in 1995, a sure sign of the stigma attached to Barbosa's role in that defeat. Dida went on to play in, and help Brazil win, the Confederations Cup in 1997 and 2005, and play in the 1999 Copa America.

Barbosa was still first-choice 'keeper for Vasco; however, he suffered a career-threatening injury during a game against Botafogo in 1953 when he broke his right leg. However, he battled back, and two years later, he won yet another Carioca state championship. It was 1955, and after 10 years at the club, he was on his way to Pernambuco club Santa Cruz, where he spent the 1956 season before he was on the road again, this time back to Rio and one of the state's smaller teams, Bonsucesso, for the 1957 season.

He went back up to Santa Cruz  for a while again in 1958, but came back to Vasco da Gama later that year, just in time to win his sixth and final Carioca title at the end of the year. Barbosa stayed there for two years until the end of the 1960 season. He seems to have retired from the game for a year before coming back for a last hurrah with another Carioca club, Campo Grande, in 1962. Barbosa played his last game for Campo Grande - and his last game in football - on 8/7/62, in front of just 670 paying spectators.

His playing career over, he soon found himself a a supervisor in the administration department at the Estádio Maracanã; an ironic twist of fate of ever there was one. There is a oft-mentioned story, confirmed by Muylaert, that "when they removed one of the [goals at the] Maracanã, the administrator of the stadium offered it as a souvenir to Barbosa. It was the one in which Ghiggia scored". Barbosa took the set of goalposts home and burnt them at a churrasco (a type of barbecue) he had prepared for some friends. It was as though Barbosa was attempting to exorcise the ghost of the defeat against Uruguay, the demon which had ruined his life.

Muylaert found it "awkward" to discuss the story with Barbosa, though he actually did so twice, the second time with another journalist, Claudio de Souza. The tale of the set of goalposts caused some controversy in itself around the time of the launch of Muylaert's book on Barbosa, the author recalls, with one journalist accusing the incident of being little more than a piece of fanciful invention by the author, while Barbosa's team-mate in the 1950 Brazil side, described the story as a fantasy.

(To find out more about the story of both sets of goalposts used in the Brazil : Uruguay decider, please visit the following link:

Another (more than well-documented) incident occurred in 1970, when he was in a supermarket in Rio de Janeiro. A woman, shopping together with her son, spotted Barbosa, turned around to her little boy, who was all of ten years old, and said to him, "Look, my son, come here; this is the man who made all of Brazil cry." How would that kind of comment make anyone feel? As far as Barbosa was concerned, although he vigorously defended himself at the time and that this was far from the first time he had been accosted in public, this was the saddest thing that had ever happened to him. And this was 20 years after the 1950 World Cup defeat against Uruguay..

Some years later, having retired from his job at the Maracanã, Barbosa and his wife, Clotilde, decided to move to the coastal town of Praia Grande, as much to get some peace and quiet and for Barbosa to remove himself from the public eye as for anything else. The two of them had remained more or less inseparable since they married in the 1940s, and were childless.

However, they were not at all well off, and when Clotilde was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s, most of Barbosa's pension, which amounted to around 730 Real per month, went towards his wife's treatment and medication. He did receive financial assistance from the chairman of Vasco da Gama, Eurico Miranda, which amounted to paying the rent for the Barbosas' apartment. One could regard this as a magnanimous gesture, were it not for the fact that Miranda was, at that time, becoming embroiled in corruption scandals, which overlapped both football and politics. In the light of this, it could be reasonably assumed that Miranda was trying to create a benevolent image for himself, more than having a genuine desire to help the Barbosas. Only he knows the truth.

One of the great myths surrounding Moacyr Barbosa was that he was regarded as a pariah in Brazilian football circles. This was not entirely the case, as he still had a circle of friends from his football career and his life outside football,  in Rio de Janeiro, in São Paulo and now in Praia Grande, and, of course, he was still fondly remembered by a great many people connected with Vasco da Gama. However, there were those who still had a grudge to bear.

In 1993, he went to visit the Brazilian national team at their training camp in Teresopólis, but he was refused entry, by someone from the CBF who recognised him at the gate, for fear that his presence would bring bad luck to the squad. It has also been said that Mario Zagalo, the Brazilian manager at the time, sanctioned Barbosa’s exclusion from the training-camp. Barbosa was, allegedly, also approached with a view to co-commentating on a football match around the same time; this opportunity was also, so it seems, quickly taken away from him.

In spite of all his trials and tribulations, he was very well-regarded by those who knew him; it has often been said that he was an absolute gentleman, polite to a fault, had a cheerful personality and a good sense of humour. He was also a compassionate man; in his later years, he was involved in collecting empty beer tins in exchange for cash, which he would donate to an organisation raising money to buy wheelchairs for those who could not afford to buy one themselves.

Sadly, Clotilde Barbosa succumbed to cancer in May 1996 after a long illness. Moacyr still had some friends, but there was no-one to fill the hole left by his wife's death. Until, that is, he became friendly with the owner of a small beach-side kiosk in Praia Grande, Teresa Borba Barbosa (no relation). In time, the two of them unofficially "adopted" each other as father and daughter.

Teresa Borba recalls him coming to her kiosk virtually every day, though, at first, she had no idea who he was. She said that "he was an anonymous person, nobody knew him. My husband, Mauro, who is a Vascaino [Vasco da Gama supporter], recognised him." Her husband and Barbosa did not discuss the 1950 World Cup at first, but instead concentrated on Vasco da Gama and the Expresso da Vitória.

"He loved talking about his team, Vasco," Teresa continued. "That was logical; he said that football was his passion..[he] devoted his entire life to the sport."

The 1950 World Cup also featured heavily in conversations between Moacyr and Teresa, she said. "He told me that all was well with the team. [They prepared] in a quiet location where they were very content, winning every game; there were no journalists of politicians to disrupt their concentration. They had good water, good food, all the good things, but everything changed when they were sent to Rio, and [the tournament was being held close to] election time..all of the political candidates for election were coming and going all the time, along with journalists and fans, and it was a real mess."

"They [the players] neither ate nor slept undisturbed, they were tired without sleep and food. They stayed in their rooms neat the Maracanã like animals in a cage; there was a lot of pressure. The photo printed by the newspaper [which proclaimed Brazil as world champions before the game began] stirred the Uruguayans' pride. [Barbosa] said of Ghiggia's goal that he made the defence go the wrong way; Ghiggia made the 'wrong' move and it worked."

"I was always repeating that the longest criminal sentence in Brazil is 30 years, but mine has already been for 50." Thus goes perhaps the most-repeated quote from Moacyr Barbosa. He repeated it one last time to his biographer, Roberto Muylaert, shortly before his death, caused by a stroke on 7/4/2000, a couple of weeks after his 79th birthday.

"He who didn't have peace during his life, doesn't have it even after his death", said Gudryan Neufert, a television reporter working for the Brazilian television station Rede Record, referring to yet another tragic turn of events in the story of Moacyr Barbosa. Allegedly, according to reports, one of which appeared in the Brazilian sports magazine Placar in May last year, and one which Neufert compiled for the Rede Record's flagship sports programme Esporte Fantástico last year, São Vicente city council, who are responsible for the municipal cemetery where Barbosa's body is interred, threatened to exhume, burn and dispose of his body unless some outstanding costs, which amounted to 378 Real, were paid.

Tereza Barbosa and Moacyr's friends didn't have the money to pay off the debt; she was quoted in the article in Placar as saying "[the city council] called me saying that they required the 378 Real, but I am unable to pay; I'm unemployed and on medication for my kidney. People come from Japan to visit the grave. But the city does not value its idols." However, after Neufert's report was finally shown on Esporte Fantástico last November, the city council agreed to waive the costs, and Moacyr Barbosa can now finally rest in peace.

The fact that so many deplorable things were allowed to happen to Moacyr Barbosa, in life and in death, are a sad indictment of human nature in general, and of the higher echelons of Brazilian football and media in particular. Not only did the CBD/CBF (the CBF was formed in 1979 after FIFA demanded that the football wing of the CBD form its own organisation) hang Barbosa and his team-mates out to dry after the deciding match of the 1950 World Cup, but, Neufert alleges, they never offered them any help when they were in financial difficulties.

Nor did the CBF step in to pay for Barbosa's funeral expenses, when he died, or last year, when it emerged that there was still money owing to São Vicente city council from the time of his funeral. One can only feel sorry for Tereza Borba and her family and the rest of Moacyr Barbosa's friends; it must have been a stressful time for them all.

Why the CBF could not, or would not, have stepped in to help give someone, not just anyone, but a vice-world champion, and someone who played 20 full internationals for the national side, a decent send-off in the first place, and then pay off the outstanding debt, beggars belief. It would only have cost a few hundred US dollars to take care of the money owed to the São Vicente city council, and it would have been the least they could have done.

(In 1996, four years previous to Barbosa's death, the CBF signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with Nike worth some US$160 million. Since around the same time, the CBF have also been charging more than US$500,000 for every friendly played by O Seleção.)

No-one from the CBF attended Barbosa's funeral, either. For the purposes of this blog, the CBF were contaced with a request to provide answers to the following questions (Gudryan Neufert already took care of one of the questions):

Why didn't the CBD/CBF step in to shield Barbosa, Bigode and Juvenal from media and public criticism after the 1950 World Cup?

Did anyone from the CBF attend Moacyr Barbosa's funeral, and if not, why not?

Did the CBF help pay for Moacyr Barbosa's funeral, and, again, if not, why not?

Answers to these questions have not been forthcoming. It seems as though the CBF merely brushed what Barbosa, Bigode and Juvenal did for Brazilian football into a dark corner and left it there. Their attitude towards Barbosa, in life and death, has been nothing short of contemptible.

Moacyr Barbosa has been described in various quarters as a "pariah", a failure, someone whose story inspires only pity. In the view of this scribe, not so. Certainly, a great amount of sympathy should be felt for him with regard to how he was treated by a great many people, including, and perhaps especially, the Brazilian football authorities, but his story (not to mention his achievements) also inspires a great deal of admiration.  Not least from Dida, who in 2007 asked the Brazilian public to forgive Barbosa for what happened in 1950, asking them instead to concentrate on "all the good things he did". And, there were a lot of those to take into consideration.

He was, after all, voted best goalkeeper in the 1950 World Cup by journalists present at the tournament, he was a vice-World Champion, a Copa América winner, and he was someone who won a hatful of state championships and the one-off forerunner to the Copa Libertadores to boot. He kept on winning trophies, even after all he had been through. Not only that, but, apart from the fact that he was a superb goalkeeper, he was a compassionate man, a caring man, a humorous yet humble being. Moacyr Barbosa may well have died in poverty, but a failure? Some failure!


AUTHOR'S NOTE: A huge debt of thanks is owed to Roberto Muylaert, author of "Barbosa - Um gol faz cinquenta anos" (published shortly after Moacyr Barbosa's death in 2000, and available only in Portuguese), who kindly provided many fascinating answers to, and showed a lot of patience with regard to, my questions.

Deep appreciation also goes to Tereza Borba Barbosa, who also showed just as much patience as Roberto Muylaert, for her help and comments. Many thanks also go to Gudryan Muylaert and Luiza Tanabe Novaes from Rede Record TV's Esporte Fantástico, not forgetting Juca Kfouri and, last but by no means least, Antonio Napoleao from the CBF for providing help with statistics.

Apologies to all if the translations contained in the blog are a little inexact. An online translator was used.

It is hoped that this blog has done justice to the aforementioned people, and, above all, to the memory of Moacyr and Clotilde Barbosa.


It has been said that Brazilian football, and maybe Brazil itself, changed after 16 July 1950. It was the day of the final match of the 1950 World Cup - which was being held in Brazil - the only World Cup which was decided by a final group, not by a knockout competition. In their final match, Brazil only needed a draw to win the World Cup; their opponents were their nearest challengers Uruguay, who won the decider by 2 goals to 1 and thus became world champions.

It was a cataclysmic moment, not just for Brazilian football, but for Brazilian society in general, and perhaps for the Brazilian goalkeeper, Moacyr Barbosa (full name Moacyr Barbosa Nascimento), most of all. Barbosa, born on 27/3/21 in Campinas, the second largest city in São Paulo state, first played for local side ADCI as a centre-forward while holding down a job in the Nitroquímica chemical plant (ADCI was the company's works team) in the city. One day, ADCI's goalkeeper was unable to play, so Barbosa volunteered to go between the sticks, and he would never play in an outfield position again. He was soon transferred to São Paulo side Ypiranga, who were then playing in the Paulista (São Paulo state league) first division. (The football club disbanded some years ago, though the entity still exists as a social club.)

In 1945, he was sold on to Vasco da Gama, and his football career really took off. Barbosa won the first of his 6 Carioca (Rio de Janeiro state league) championships in the same year, and soon became popular with the Vasco supporters for his spectacular and courageous, yet steady, style. He actually missed much of the title-winning season after fracturing his right hand during a training-session. (It was to be the first of an almost mind-boggling total of 11 fractures he would suffer to his hands during the course of his goalkeeping career.)

On 16/12/45, Barbosa made the progression to playing international football when he made his debut for the Brazilian national side in a 4:3 defeat against Argentina, the first of 22 appearances for O Seleção, including 2 games (which are not counted as full internationals) against select teams from Brazilian select sides.

He won further Carioca championships with Vasco in 1947, 1949 and 1950, also winning the one-off South American Championship of Champions, which was held in Chile in 1948. It could be said that 1949 was the most successful year in Barbosa's career, with Brazil winning that year's Copa América courtesy of a 7:0 thrashing of Paraguay in the final. So successful were the Vasco team that played together for around five years from 1947-52 that they became known as the Expresso da Vitória (Victory Express).

Barbosa was the goalkeeping mainstay for Brazil in the games leading up to, and during, the 1950 World Cup. Brazil played a three-game series against Uruguay, losing once and winning the other two games, and then beating the aforementioned Brazilian select teams.

As mentioned earlier, the 1950 World Cup's final round was to be played on a group basis, with each team facing each other once. First, though, there was the group stage to get through, which Brazil did comfortably enough, defeating Mexico (4:0) and Yugoslavia (2:0), though sandwiched in-between was a 2:2 against Switzerland. Barbosa played in all three games, and would remain Brazil's goalkeeper for the remainder of the tournament.

Once through the group, Brazil found themselves facing Spain, Sweden and Uruguay in the final group, and they started off superbly, thrashing Sweden by 7 goals to 1, and then easily disposing of Spain 6:1, with Barbosa an ever-present and, truth be told, not having very much to do in either game apart from picking the ball out of the net. Uruguay had also done enough against Spain and Sweden to find themselves in second place going into the final round of matches. 

Sweden had beaten Spain to finish in third place, so attention shifted to the very last match to take place in the 1950 World Cup; Brazil, who only needed a draw to win the Jules Rimet trophy for the very first time, against Uruguay, who had to win to regain the trophy after a 20-year gap. The game was to take place at the newly-built Estádio Maracanã, in the then national capital of Rio de Janeiro, which was only finished just days before the World Cup tournament began.

The deciding game took place on 16/7/50, and since the victory against Spain three days before, the local press had already proclaimed Brazil as the world's best and the days leading up to the final were almost treated by one and all in Brazil as a victory procession. One newspaper ran a centre-page spread on the day of the decider,the headline proclaiming of the Brazlian team that "These are the World Champions". Not for the first time, a case of "pride before a fall" was soon to be recorded in sporting history. Not for the first time, indeed, but it was to prove to be one of the most dramatic.

The white-shirted Brazilians took the game to Uruguay, and, after a scoreless first-half, their right-winger, Friaça, put them ahead in the 46th minute after receiving a pass from Ademir, darting into the penalty-area and beating Máspoli, the Uruguayan goalkeeper. Twenty minutes later, Uruguay were level, Juan Schiaffino superbly finishing off a lightning-fast three-man move involving the captain of La Celeste, Obdulio Varela, and Alcides Ghiggia, who left the Brazilian left-back Bigode for dead before crossing to Schiaffino. Brazil, needing only a draw, were still favourites to lift the World Cup, but with eleven minutes left, the world of Brazilan football was to be irrevocably turned upside-down.

Ghiggia again faced Bigode and once more passed him with ease, and instead of crossing into the box where the Uruguayan forward-line was waiting, he headed towards the near post into the penalty-area and shot. The ball bounced straight into the ground and careered onwards, bouncing again just as Barbosa, who had been anticipating a cross, dived at the near post. It beat him and nestled in the opposite bottom-corner of the net. The Maracanã fell eerily silent. It was now 2:1 to Uruguay, and despite Brazil huffing and puffing for the remainder of the game, they couldn't break the Uruguayan defence down.

Brazil had lost, at home, in front of a world-record crowd of 199, 854 people (199, 574 of whom were supporting Brazil), roughly equivalent to 10 per cent of what was then entire population of Rio de Janeiro. Uruguay were world champions and Brazil found itself in a collective pit of despair. The crowd headed home, silent and sullen, apart from one rather angry man, recalls Barbosa's biographer, Roberto Muylaert.

The man was busying himself with seeking out Bigode, looking into just about every car in the stadium car-park, including that in which Muylaert was a back-seat passenger. Bigode was not to be found, having made good his escape.

According to Nelson Rodriguez, a noted journalist and novelist who was at the Maracanã for the Uruguay game, the defeat to La Celeste was the worst tragedy in Brazilian history, and he repeated this claim on more than one occasion.

Roberto Muylaert said that "the only film shot of the second still shown exhaustively every time there's a chance of talking again and again about the defeat [on Brazilian television]". In his book on Barbosa, "Barbosa: um gol faz cinquenta anos" (very roughly translated as "Barbosa: a goal lasts for fifty years"), Muylaert likens the footage of Ghiggia putting the ball past Barbosa to the film shot by Abraham Zapruder of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

"The two documentaries have the same dramatic sequence..even if they do not intend to, the same movement, rhythm, precision of inexorable trajectory that will not change until the moment the target is hit, like a torpedo or rocket drone, which once launched would not be coming back. One dramatic soundtrack could serve the two films".

Muylaert noted that the film of Ghiggia's winner and the film of President Kennedy's assassination share another common characteristic - a cloud of dust, one raised by Ghiggia's shot on goal, another from a gun fired from a window in a Dallas library. (The aforementioned sequence has oft been repeated in books such as Alex Bellos' excellent tome "Futebol - The Brazilian Way of Life", newspaper articles and on various websites from around the world.) He noted that while the Zapruder family eventually received $16 million from the US government in exchange for the film, no-one knows who shot the film of the moment that changed Brazilian football, and the life of Moacyr Barbosa, forever.
The day after the final, a Monday, Brazil remained a numbed nation.The recriminations only began on the Tuesday after the game; one match report, which appeared in O Estado de São Paulo newspaperdescribed Moacyr Barbosa's performance as "embarrassing" and his covering of the near-post for the second goal as "shameful". 

The media reaction following the defeat more or less became a witch-hunt against Bigode, Juvenal, who was, according to many, including Barbosa, at fault for not covering Bigode for Ghiggia's winner, and Barbosa himself. (One of the few people who defended Barbosa in the aftermath of the 1950 World Cup was, in fact, Alcides Ghiggia himself, and he was of the opinion that Barbosa had done nothing wrong, but had instead done what any goalkeeper would have done by positioning himself in anticipation of a cross into the penalty area.)

There is a theory for, but also question marks about, the behaviour of the media then, according to Juca Kfouri, one of Brazil's most polemical commentators (he has written for publications as diverse as Lance! and Playboy), who wrote the foreword for Roberto Muylaert's book, that "Barbosa, Juvenal and Bigode were victims of Brazil's need to feel guilty for losses, as [was Brazilian captain] Toninho Cerezo in 1982."

"There are theories that [put the blame] on [the] three blacks, which is mysterious when one realizes that Obdulio Varela [captain of Uruguay during the 1950 World Cup tournament], [who was] also black, is seen today in Brazil as the winner of that tournament."

The criticism did indeed seem to take a racist overtone, as all three players were black and thus seeming to emphasise a rather warped theory that the "Brazilian race" had an inferiority complex due to its multiethnicity. Barbosa became, in time, the Brazilian sporting media's favourite moving target, regardless of the fact that journalists present at the World Cup had actually voted him the tournament's best goalkeeper.

Bigode, meanwhile, rarely left his house for a couple of years after the game, only venturing out on match-day and for training. After he retired, he was to remain a virtual recluse for the rest of his life. He received no criticism at all from Barbosa for his performance against Uruguay.

Juvenal, in comparison to Barbosa and Bigode, got off lightly, but was still a target for criticism from the media, and from Barbosa himself, who was less than impressed with Juvenal tripping the light fantastic on the night before the decider against Uruguay, and also, as said, for his inability to cover Bigode for Ghiggia's winner. Neither Bigode nor Juvenal would ever play for Brazil again. Moacyr Barbosa would only play one more game for Brazil, but that would come a few years after the defeat aginst Uruguay.

In the days and weeks after the game against Uruguay, Barbosa and his wife Clotilde hardly left their house in the northern reaches of Rio de Janeiro for fear of recriminations against the goalkeeper; things got so bad for them both that they did not even answer their phone. This led to a friend of Moacyr's, a gentleman living in the southern part of the city, sending someone to collect them and take them down to his house, where they would stay until things cooled off.

The friend of the Barbosas was worried about the couple as he had heard nothing from them, and was, naturally, unable to contact them himself. When his assistant (for want of a better word) knocked on the Barbosas' front door, however, Clotilde, who did not know who this stranger on her doorstep was or why he was there, chased him into the street with a broom.

Not only that, but while they were travelling on a train, they were privy to a conversation in their carriage where Barbosa was being criticised to high heaven by all and sundry, and the whole discussion was being driven by a man who was busy reading his newspaper. Allegedly, the man had said about Barbosa: "If I ever come across that crioulo, I don't know what I'll do with him." Barbosa piped up and asked: "Are you looking for me, by any chance?"

While the other passengers in the carriage began whispering to and nudging each other, the man took to his heels and disappeared, and whether he got out at the next stop or jumped out of a window, nobody knows.. Thereafter, the two stories were certainly beacons of light relief during a dark time for the Barbosas, who stayed with their friend for a short period. However, after a little while, it was time for the couple to get on with life, and for Moacyr Barbosa, it was time to go back in goal.

NOTE: This is the first instalment of a two-part blog. To go to the second part, please click on the link below:

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The Cook Islands FA announced their squad for the 2011 version of the Pacific Games several weeks ago. Their website announced the squad as listed below. Please note that the website did not mention the clubs of those playing outside the archipelago, merely the country in which they were playing. For those of a statistical bent, an attempt has been made to identify the clubs of those who are plying their trade outside the Cook Islands, but the listing may still be less than 100% accurate. For that, apologies are due, but the CIFA have promised information in due course, and this article will then be corrected as and where necessary.

In the meantime, the Cook Islands took on New Zealand champions Waitakere United at the national stadium in Matavera last Saturday as part of their preparations for the Pacific Games. Unfortunately, things definitely did not go according to plan with the national side finding themselves 4:0 down at half-time, and, although  local side Tupapa's Campbell Best scored for the CIFA selection early in the second-half, Waitakere United ran the locals ragged in the second-half to record an 8:1 victory.


Tony Lloyd JAMIESON (GK/Wellington Olympic - New Zealand)
Ngatokorua ELIKANA (D/Avatiu)
John PAREANGA (D/Matavera)
Mii JOSEPH (Tupapa)
Tahiri ELIKANA (Avatiu)
Alan BOERE (Waitakere United - New Zealand)
Nathan TISAM (F/Nikao)
Branden TUREPU (Tupapa)
Campbell BEST (Tupapa)
Nicholas FUNNELL (Club unknown; playing in Australia)
Grover HARMON (Tupapa)
Roger MANUEL (Tupapa)
Joseph NGAUORA (Picton Rangers - Australia)
Taylor SAGHABI (West Ryde - Australia)
Tuka TISAM (D/Nikao)
Anoanga TISAM (M/Nikao)
John Michael QUIJANO (Nikao)
Eugene TATUAVA (Tupapa)



Marjorie TORU (Avatiu)
Jennifer AKAVI (Nikao)
Linade UNUKA (Arorangi)
Marissa IROA (Tupapa)
Elizabeth HARMON (Tupapa)
Leiana TEMATA (Titikaveka)
Louisa Manico (Avatiu)
Paoko Manuela (Nikao)
Salamata TAKAI (Titikaveka)
Mii PIRI (Tupapa)
Joephine TUREPU (Tupapa)
Tasha DEAN (Arorangi)
Tekura KAUKURA (Aitutaki)
Tepaeru TOKA (Aitutaki)
Mama HENRY (Onehunga Mangere United - New Zealand)
Dayna NAPA (Western WPL - New Zealand)
Courtney NAPA (Club unknown; playing in New Zealand)
Tekura TUTAI (Club unknown; playing in New Zealand)



AUTHOR'S NOTE: Once again, apologies for any information given above which may be inexact; any errors wlll be cleared up as soon as possible. Many thanks to Priscilla Duncan from the OFC and Lee Harmon, president of the CIFA, for granting permission to publish the above squad-list.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The Guam FA recently announced their Men's and Women's squads for the forthcoming Pacific Games, which begin in New Caledonia this coming weekend. Both squads have put the accent on youth, with the Men's squad having an average age of 21 years and 6 months, while the Women's squad has an average age of just 21 years and 3 months. The squad lists are below.


1    Brett MALUWELMENG (GK/Quality Distributors/26)
2    Julius CAMPOS (GK/Srtykers/21)
3    Matthew CRUZ (D/Cars Plus/25)
4    Scott LEON-GUERRERO (D/Fuji-Ichiban Espada/21)
5    Edward CALVO (D/Cars Plus/21)
6    Shawn SPINDEL (D/Quality Distributors/18)
7    Ian MARIANO (M/Cars Plus/21)
8    Dominic GADIA (M/Cars Plus/25)
9    Elias MERFALEN (F/Cars Plus/21)
10  Jason CUNLIFFE (F/Guam Shipyard/28)
11  Christian SCHWEIZER (M/Fuji-Ichiban Espada/16)
12  Dylan NAPUTI (M/Quality Distributors/16)
13  David MANIBUSAN (D/M/F/Guam Shipyard/29)
14  André GADIA (M/F/Cars Plus/21)
15  Jonathan ODELL (D/Cars Plus/16)
16  Joe LAANAN (GK/D/Cars Plus/23)
17  Mark CHARGUALAF (M/Cars Plus/20)



1    Nichole PAULINO (GK/Guam Shipyard/23)
2    Simie WILLTER (M/F/Orange Crushers/20)
3    Ashley BESAGAR (D/Hyundai/20)
4    Tatyana UNGACTA (D/Orange Crushers/16)
5    Tanya BLAS-CRUZ (D/M/Hyundai/21)
6    Rachel JORDAN (G/D/M/F/DCK Masters/32)
7    Jannel BANKS (M/F/Hyundai/17)
8    Kristin THOMPSON (M/Orange Crushers/26)
9    Arisa RECELLA (D/M/F/Hyundai/17)
10  Aika YOUNG (F/Guam Shipyard/24)
11  Alexy BARBE (D/D/Strykers/24)
12  Tiana Jo PIPER (M/Hyundai/20)
13  Phoebe MINATO (D/M/Strykers/16)
14  Felicia ALUMBAUGH (M/Strykers/15)
15  Suzanna SCHLUB (D/Strykers/24)
16  Therèse DÍAZ (D/M/F/DCK Masters/36)
17  Andrea ODELL (D/Orange Crushers/15)
18  Jena CRUZ (GK/Hyundai/17)




GK: Goalkeeper
D: Defender
M: Midfielder
F: Forward  

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks once again to the Guam FA's Brett Maluwelmeng - yes, he is one of the goalkeepers listed in the Guam Men's squad - for granting permission to publish the above.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


The draw for the Pacific Games' Women's tournament, which is due to be held in New Caledonia at the end of this month, took place just under a month ago, and will feature nine national sides from across the Pacific region.

The competition was originally intended to form the basis for the OFC qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Games, but that plan had to be shelved following the inclusion of Guam, a member nation of the AFC, in the tournament. A separate competition, featuring the eight OFC teams involved in this tournament plus New Zealand, will be held towards the end of this year to determine the Oceania representatives at the Games, which will themselves take place in various locations across the UK in August next year.

The fixture-list for the Pacific Games Women's tournament is outlined below.


27/8/11     10:00    Papua New Guinea : Tahiti (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
27/8/11     15:00    Solomon Islands : New Caledonia (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
29/8/11     10:00    Papua New Guinea : American Samoa (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
29/8/11     15:00    Tahiti : New Caledonia (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
31/8/11     13:00    New Caledonia : American Samoa (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
31/8/11     15:00    Tahiti : Solomon Islands (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
2/9/11       09:00    American Samoa : Solomon Islands (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
2/9/11       11:00    New Caledonia : Papua New Guinea (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
5/9/11       09:00    American Samoa : Tahiti (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
5/9/11       11:00    Solomon Islands : Papua New Guinea (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)


31/8/11     09:00    Cook Islands : Guam (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
31/8/11     11:00    Tonga : Fiji (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
2/9/11       13:00    Guam : Fiji (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
2/9/11       15:00    Tonga : Cook Islands (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
5/9/11       13:00    Guam : Tonga (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)
5/9/11       15:00    Fiji : Cook Islands (Stade PLGC, Nouméa)


7/9/11       10:00    (Stade Yoshida, Koné)
7/9/11       10:00    (Stade Hnasse, Lifou)


9/9/11        10:00    (Stade Hnasse, Lifou)


9/9/11        17:30    (Stade Numa Daly, Nouméa)

Please note that kick-off times are under local (New Caledonian) time.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to Priscilla Duncan, on behalf of the OFC, for granting permission to publish the above fixture-list. Information on the Pacific Games Women's tournament, and, indeed, on all things related to football in Oceania, can be found on

Friday, August 19, 2011


The draw for the Pacific Games' Men's tournament, which is due to be held in New Caledonia at the end of this month, took place just under a month ago, and will feature eleven national sides from across the Pacific region.

The competition was originally intended to form the basis for the OFC qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, but that plan had to be shelved following the inclusion of Guam, a member nation of the AFC, in the tournament. A separate competition, consisting of three stages, will be held to determine the Oceania representatives in an inter-continental play-off with the fourth-placed side from the CONCACAF qualifiers, which itself will take place in late 2013.

The fixture-list for the Pacific Games Men's tournament is outlined below.


27/8/11 09:00 Tuvalu : American Samoa (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
27/8/11 12:00 Solomon Islands : Guam (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
27/8/11 15:00 New Caledonia : Vanuatu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
30/8/11 09:00 Vanuatu : Tuvalu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
30/8/11 12:00 American Samoa : Solomon Islands (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
30/8/11 15:00 Guam : New Caledonia (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
1/9/11 09:00 American Samoa : Guam (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
1/9/11 12:00 Tuvalu : New Caledonia (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
1/9/11 15:00 Vanuatu : Solomon Islands (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
3/9/11 09:00 Guam : Vanuatu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
3/9/11 12:00 Solomon Islands : Tuvalu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
3/9/11 15:00 New Caledonia : American Samoa (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
5/9/11 09:00 Guam : Tuvalu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
5/9/11 12:00 American Samoa : Tuvalu (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)
5/9/11 15:00 Solomon Islands : New Caledonia (Rivière Salée, Nouméa)


27/8/11 10:00 Papua New Guinea : Cook Islands (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
27/8/11 15:00 Fiji : Tahiti (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
30/8/11 10:00 Fiji : Kiribati (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
30/8/11 15:00 Tahiti : Cook Islands (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
1/9/11 10:00 Cook Islands : Kiribati (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
1/9/11 15:00 Tahiti : Papua New Guinea (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
3/9/11 10:00 Kiribati : Papua New Guinea (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
3/9/11 15:00 Cook Islands : Fiji (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
5/9/11 10:00 Kiribati : Tahiti (Stade Boewa, Boulari)
5/9/11 15:00 Papua New Guinea : Fiji (Stade Boewa, Boulari)


7/9/11 15:00 (Stade Yoshida, Koné)
7/9/11 15:00 (Stade Hnasse, Lifou)


9/9/11 15:00 (Stade Boewa, Boulari)


9/9/11 15:00 (Stade Numa Daly, Nouméa)

Please note that kick-off times listed are under local (New Caledonian) time.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to Priscilla Duncan, on behalf of the OFC, for granting permission to reproduce the above fixture-list. More information on the competition can be found on the confederation website:

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The small island of Guam, positioned in the western Pacific Ocean just under 1600 miles east of Manila, is far from being a traditional hotbed of football, but it appears that the game has gained a foothold there and seems destined to grow in the coming years.

The Guam Football Association was only set up in 1975, but the game was already growing roots on the island, a US territory, thanks to an Irish priest, Fr. Tony Gillespie, and a Filipino of Chinese extraction who set up home there in 1967. Charles ("Charlie") Whang moved to Guam that year, set up a construction company and, having grown up playing football in the Philippines, decided, together with Fr. Gillespie, to set about orgainising a football competition in his adopted home. Whang's family joined him on the island in 1969 as the idea gained momentum and more locals became involved in spreading the football gospel on Guam.

Under Whang's guidance, the first football competition, the Guam Soccer Cup, took place there in 1973, and the first edition was won, perhaps fittingly enough, by Whang's very own SPI club. In 1974, the game was introduced to the island's younger inhabitants, and John F. Kennedy Islanders took away the inaugural trophy. Whang became the inaugural president of the GFA in 1975, and was assisted in his duties by a dozen or so other enthusiasts. They are destined to be fondly remembered in the island's footballing history and so deserve a mention in this blog:

Paul Anderson, Angel Bonet, Tony Chang, Tim Cornell, Benny Díaz, Fr. Tony Gillespie, Robert Hartsock, Ridley Keith, Russ Mill, Edward Mulen, Don Pedro and Romeo Whang.

Guam played its first-ever international fixture in August 1975, when the island hosted the South Pacific Games, though it was a humbling experience, as the national side lost 11:0 to Fiji. They also lost 5:1 to the Solomon Islands a few days later.

Two years later, the GFA got a helping and from the then Governor of the island, Paul Calvo, by their being given government land at Harmon Loop in Dededo, which Whang helped personally to clear prior to its becoming the hub for the island's footballers. The Guam National Football Stadium (officially known as the GFA Headquarters & Training Facility) is situated in Harmon - the GFA headquarters were formerly in Hagåtña (its traditional name in the local Chamorro language - the village is also known in English as Agana, and in Spanish as Agaña), Guam's capital. There is another ground at Chalan San Antonio in Tamuning.

Whang remained in office until 1989, three years before Guam became a member of the AFC in 1992. FIFA membership was granted to the island in 1996, and the national team, known as the Chamorros, began competing in FIFA tournaments soon after.

A proper national football league commenced in 1990, and was won for the first four years  in a row by the University of Guam. Between 1998 and 2007, opening and closing championships (as in the apertura and clausura system employed in South America) were used to determined the year's overall champions.

The format changed again during 2007, when Guam Shipyard, who had won the overall championship four times between 2002 and 2006, were beaten to the Spring championship by Quality Distributors. There was to be no Autumn championship that year; the GFA decided to change to the European model, which straddles years. The first beneficiaries of the change were Quality Distributors, who won the 2007-08 competition, and then went on to retain the trophy for the next two years.

The traditional league format was given the heave-ho for the 2010 season, due to the construction of the first artificial pitch in the whole of Micronesia, and was instead replaced by a cup competition in a knock-out formula. Cars Plus won the league for the first time after a 4:1 play-off victory against Guam Shipyard, winners of the 2010 GFA Cup.

Cars Plus won the somewhat shortened 2011 edition in some style, finishing 11 points ahead of Quality Distributors in the 6-team, 10-game competition.

Football clubs in Guam regularly change their name to suit their sponsors, and that has certainly been the case for Guam Shipyard, who have, under various guises, won the championship, now known as the Budweiser Guam Men's Soccer League, a record 9 times. The club has also won the championship as G-Force, Coors Light Silver Bullets and Staywell Zoom.

The GFA Cup has only been going since 2008, and Quality Distributors have certainly shown themselves to be cup specialists, winning the competition in 2008 (when it was known as Shirley's GFA Cup), 2009 (Cars Plus GFA Cup) and again this year (Beck's GFA Cup). Guam Shipyard won the cup in 2010.

The national team have been regularly competing in FIFA competitions since 1996, though their international exploits have had some shocking results. Their début in FIFA competitive football saw them lose 11:0 to Palestine in their first game of the AFC Challenge Cup on April Fool's Day 2006. (They also lost 3:0 to both Bangladesh and Cambodia to finish bottom of theit qualitying group.) They also took part in that year's Asian Cup qualifiers, and conceded nine goals in each of their three group games against South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan, scoring only two goals (both of them against Taiwan, or Chinese Taipei, if you prefer).

Even worse was to happen in the 2000 qualifiers, when they lost 11:0 to Vietnam and were thrashed 19:0 by China. It must have almost come as a blessed relief to lose "only" 2:0 to the Philippines in their final group game. The 2004 version saw them grouped together with Bhutan and Mongolia, which were then - and still are - among the lowest-ranked teams, both in the AFC and globally. Guam lost 6:0 to Bhutan and 5:0 to Mongolia, but the games were played at altitude in Thimphu, capital of Bhutan.

The island has competed once in the World Cup, in the first-round qualifying group for the 2002 World Cup, but this was also to prove disastrous for the Chamorros, losing 19:0 to Iran (then a world-record) and 16:0 to Tajikistan. They declined to enter for the 2006 and 2010 versions, though were due to compete this time in the 2014 qualifiers. However, due to financial constraints and the national stadium not being ready to host international football, they decided not to enter the competition.

The GFA have had a little more luck in the East Asian Football Federation competition, the East Asian Football Championship, which has been held since 2003. Guam is one of the ten founding menbers of the EAFF, which was set up in 2002. Their nearest neighbours, the Northern Mariana Islands, joined the EAFF in 2008, and the archipelago is a provisional member of the AFC.

Guam first competed in the  preliminary round of the competition in 2003, where they lost heavily to Hong Kong and Taiwan, and 2:0 to both Macau and Mongolia. In 2005, they lost to both Hong Kong (15:0) and Taiwan (9:0) again, and then 21:0 to North Korea, their record defeat in international competion. Guam lost 4:1 to Mongolia to finish bottom of their group.

They suffered yet more heavy defeats to Hong Kong (15:1) and Taiwan (10:0, which is Taiwan's bigest-ever international victory), once more in the preliminary group, now known as Stage Two, in the qualifying round for the 2008 version. Guam then took on Mongolia in the 5th-place play-off, and proceeded to take a 2:0 lead in the first 10 minutes before losing 5:2.

However, before all that, the GFA finally achieved their maiden victory in FIFA-sanctioned competition on 25/3/07 when they defeated the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) 3:2 away in the first-leg of their Stage One encounter in Saipan. (Ireland fans may recall that Saipan was as far as Roy Keane got on his journey to the 2002 World Cup Finals  in Japan and South Korea with the Boys in Green.) Guam then completed the double over their near-neighbours when they doled out a 9:0 thrashing to the NMI team in Harmon on April Fool's Day 2007, with Zachary Pangelinan scoring five of the goals.

The GFA hosted the preliminary rounds for the 2010 competition, which saw them once again take on Mongolia, Macau and the NMI. The competition took place at the Leo Palace Resort in Yona in March 2009, and the Chamorros kicked-of their competition with their first-ever victory against a fellow FIFA member country, a 1:0 victory against Mongolia, Christopher Mendiola netting the winner early in the first-half. Goals from Joshua Borja and Ian Mariano saw them through against the NMI by 2:1, and the Guam team earned a 2:2 draw against Macau thanks to Borja and to Jason Cunliffe, who scored the equaliser in injury-time and helped his team make history by not only remaining unbeaten for three games on the trot, but also by topping the preliminary group and qualifying for the second stage for the first time.

The second-round tournament (known as the Semi-Final Competition) was held in Taiwan 2009, and there Guam's luck finally ran out. They lost 9:2 to North Korea, 4:2 to Taiwan (and that after leading 2:1 at the break), and 12:0 to Hong Kong. They may well have lost all three games in the second stage, but they did finish in a creditable 7th place overall and put their name on the East Asian map. All being well, the GFA will use this as a springboard for the future, if they can solve the problems which kept them out of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The Guam women's side, meanwhile, have been competing in the EAFF competition since the qualifying group stage for the 2008 version, which were held on home soil in July 2007. They lost all 3 games (including a 5:0 defeat against Taiwan and a 6:0 loss to South Korea, but Victoria Shimizu did at least score their first-ever in goal in the competition during the 2:1 defeat to Hong Kong.

Guam once again faced South Korea and Taiwan in the 2009 EAFF qualifiers, losing 9:0 and 10:0 to their respective opponents, and 1:0 to Hong Kong. The team did, however, kick off the competition with a 5:1 win against the NMI girls, so there was consolation to be had.

Domestically, the Orange Crushers and the Strykers are the dominant forces on the female front, with the Crushers winning the inaugural women's league championship in 2005, with the Strykers coming top in 2006. The Crushers then did a 3-in-a-row between 2007 and 2009, before the re-christened Barrigada Strykers regained it again last year, just ahead of the Crushers. There is a new name on the trophy this year: Hyundai got their hands on some silverware for only the second time in the club's history (the only previous trophy won by the club was the national 7-a-side trophy in 2005), after finishing runners- up in 2006 and 2008.

The national women's team, and their male counterparts, will be heading off to New Caledonia at the end of the month to compete in the South Pacific Games. The Games were meant to double as the first stage of the Oceania qualifying process for the 2014 World Cup, but since Guam elected to compete in the tournament, that idea has now been scrapped as Guam, of course, are members of the AFC, not of Oceania's governing body, the OFC. A sparate competition will now be held as part of the OFC World Cup qualifiers, the winners of which will face New Zealand in a two-leg play-off.

Guam's men will be competing against the hosts, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Tuvalu in the group stage, while the women's team will be up against Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands. The Chamorros are amongst the weakest nations in the AFC; it will be interesting to see how both Guam sides measure up against their OFC counterparts, but one thing is certain: football in Guam is very much alive and well, and looking ahead to the future.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to Brett Maluwelmeng from the Guam Football Association for much of the information used in the above article. Brett will be travelling to New Caledonia as part of the squad; he is one of the goalkeepers on the panel. There will be more on football in Guam to come very shortly; watch this space, as they say.

Thanks are also due to Priscilla Duncan from the OFC, who kindly gave permission to use information obtained from the confederation's website,

Monday, August 8, 2011


The draw for the 2011 Pacific Games men's and women's football tournaments, both of which are to be held in New Caledonia, was made on 19/7/11, and will feature 11 nations in the men's tournament, and 9 in the women's.

The group draws were made as follows:


Group A

New Caledonia
Solomon Islands
American Samoa

Group B

Papua New Guinea
Cook Islands


Group A

Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
New Caledonia
American Samoa

Group B

Cook Islands

The Pacific Games Men's tournament was scheduled to serve as the first Oceania qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup. However, due to Guam's inclusion in the draw, the 2012 Pacific Nations Cup will now become the take the Games' place as the OFC preliminaries. The winners of the Nations Cup will qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup, while the OFC's World Cup qualification process will continue on into late 2013.

Guam is a member of both the AFC and the EAFF (East Asian Football Federation), therefore their inclusion in the competition made it unfeasible to be considered as a World Cup qualifying tournament. (Guam's ladies wil also be taking part in the Women's tournament.) The Northern Mariana Islands had also considered taking part, but decided against it earlier this year. The NMIFA is an associate member of the EAFF.

Kiribati and Tuvalu are non-FIFA members, but will, however, also be taking part in the competition as they are associate members of the OFC. An interesting detail is the Tuvalu FA's obtaining the services of former Holland Under-21 and sc Heerenveen manager Foppe de Haan on a part-time, volunteer basis, at least for the duration of the tournament, as part of a project aimed at bringing the standard of football and local facilities up to standard in the hope that the island group's FA will eventually obtain FIFA status.

Due to Guam's involvement in the Women's competition, plans to have the tournament double up as the qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympic Games tournament have also had to have been shelved. A new Olympic qualifying tournament, featuring the eight OFC members featuring in the Pacific Games plus New Zealand, will take place before the end of 2011.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Subject to permission being granted from the OFC, the full fixture-list for both tournaments will be printed before the tournament takes place.