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FOOTBALL: Matt Cafer relishing Europa League venture
EUROPEAN football is on the horizon for Matt Cafer as the former Weymouth keeper prepares to make his Europa League bow with Gibraltar club College Europa.
The 19-year-old stopper made the move to the Mediterranean in January and has not looked back since.
And he has admitted he would seriously have to consider turning out for the nation at international level if the chance came about in the future.
Cafer helped College Europa to fourth place in the Gibraltar Premier League, a finish which secured the club a place in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.
Weymouth-born Cafer and his team-mates will find out who they are playing when the draw is made on June 23.
“It’s mad, especially for me,” Cafer told Echosport.
“When I got let go from Yeovil, because I was a pro, I had an agent. He knows the club over there and they got hold of him and said that I would be playing games and having a good lifestyle in Gibraltar.
“I just thought that considering they had just been accepted into UEFA, the chance to play in the Europa League or the Champions League was something that I couldn’t really miss.”
And although it all happened quickly, Cafer, who had captained the Terras from under-12 to under-16 level, admits he is loving the challenge.
He added: “I played a game for Weymouth on a Tuesday night against Tiverton and we lost 2-1.
“It was absolutely hammering it down with rain and when I finished my agent rang me and said he had booked me a flight to Gibraltar on the Thursday for a trial.
“I didn’t really have much time to get my head around it, I had just finished playing in the pouring rain and two days later I was in sunny Gibraltar playing football.”
The youngster hasn’t taken a backward step since jetting out to his adopted country and believes the standard of football in the league can only improve with their European inclusion.
He claimed: “To be honest, I didn’t really know Gibraltar had a competitive league and I didn’t know much about it.
“Hopefully, in the nicest way possible, we don’t get a big team to start with to give us a chance to get through.
“But to play against a massive team like Aberdeen, there wouldn’t be a better experience in my career football wise.
“No-one really knows anything about us, you can’t go on YouTube to look at how we play or find our statistics, but if we draw someone like Aberdeen we can get their team lists for the whole season and know everything about them.
“But at the end of the day, we’re just a little side from Gibraltar. No-one will probably have any money on us scoring a goal or even putting 10 passes together.”
Now that Gibraltar are set to be involved in the Euro 2016 qualifiers for the first time, at just 19 years of age time itself is on Cafer’s side should he consider representing the country if he becomes eligible on residency grounds.
On whether he would representing his new country on the international stage, Cafer added: “It’s a long way away yet and I’ve only been there for a few months, but some of the players I play with will be playing against Germany.
“To play against the likes of Mesut Ozil would be very hard for me to turn down.”
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