Mini adventure for Jersey footballers

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The 16-strong under-13 squad will be among 72 teams from club sides from all over the globe, including Argentina, Russia, Senegal, Norway and Italy who have entered the 20th Mondial Pupilles.

But they have a tough task ahead.

After narrowly missing out on progressing to the knockout stages for the past two years they have been seeded in a strong group which includes last year’s winners Anderlecht of Belgium.

And this year they will be travelling with a particularly young set of players.

Said football development oficer Brian Oliver: ‘Yes, it will be hard for them – Anderlecht and Racing Club Mons are both professional clubs and are both in our group.

‘We’ve got a really young side this time – but our focus is on the development of players rather than winning tournaments.

The standard will be very high but will provide a steep learning curve for our players’.

Eight games The JFA side – from the Lloyds TSB Centre of Excellence – will be based in Plogastel St Germain in Brittany and will play eight 15-minute each way group games over four days with the group winners then playing a knockout tournament.

The final will be at Plomelin of Sunday, 8 May in front of an expected 5,000 crowd.

On Thursday Jersey will begin their campaign against the Italian side Gressam, then face Chartres and Vincennes from France.

Friday sees them up against Mons and Aderlecht and on Saturday they play Bordeaux, the Reunion Islands and Plogastel.

Squad: Harry Watkins, Jack Barlow, Jake Baker, Jamie Bowkett, Ryan Connon, Blake Derbyshire, Harrison Jukes, George Houzé, Kamen Nafkha, Thomas Dines, Andrew Gee, Joe Parkinson, Johnny Ward, Sam Dawkins, Jordan Stratford, Aiden McGuire.

The party is led by Ken Le Brun, accompanied by JFA coaches Billy McEwan, Dave Walsh and Robin Cooley.

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