Archive for October 17th, 2008
Young England Lions on prowl in Tenerife

International football and a chance to see the next generation of England players comes to Tenerife next week in the Under 17 European championships qualifying round. La Orotava, near Puerto de la Cruz, is the setting for most of the games as England, Spain, Armenia and Estonia battle it out for the 2 top spots that will take them through to the Elite qualifying stage next year.

All the England players are pushing to make the big breakthrough with their club sides, but for some it’s easier than others. Arsenal have already bloodied some of their home grown talent in the cup competitions so names like Luke Freeman, Emmanuel Frimpong, and Jack Wilshere (below)Â may ring a bell. One of the star forwards is Jacob Walcott of Reading, a cousin of senior star Theo Walcott.

Jack Wilshere

The games start on Wednesday October 22 at 5 pm with Spain v Estonia followed by England v Armenia at 7.30 pm, both at La Orotava. On Friday October 24 it’s England v Estonia at 6 pm follwed by Armenia v Spain at 8.30 pm. Because the last 2 games may be vital to qualification places, they both take place at 8.30 pm on Monday October 27, Estonia v Armenia will be the only tournament game to be played at Los Realejos while England take on Spain at La Orotava.

Spain’s squad will be dominated by future stars of Real Madrid and Barcelona, realistically they should be looking at going through with England, but they will be wary of the 2 outsiders springing a surprise. England under coach John Peacock, may well contain a few emerging stars that go on to senior glory in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.



A little justice for a lot of suffering

Living here in Tenerife, it’s easy to get used to the constant arrival of illegal African immigrants on the pathetic wrecks of boats known as pateras or cayucos. Living in comfort in a beautiful setting, it’s hard to imagine the hardship and poverty that drives these people to risk their lives in search of a new life and new hope. Only a couple of days ago, another 69 were beached at San Miguel, most of them dehydrated and suffering from hypothermia.


Sadly, where there is suffering, there is often someone profiting from their misery, and in this case it’s the gangs that operate the boats and take a meagre lifes savings off their desperate passengers. In many cases they are abandoned at sea once the police patrol boats come into view, that is those who survive that long, lots including women and children die on route. Even if they finish the crossing, many are forced into slave labour, often to pay off the balance of their fare.

This week there was some payback in a Santa Cruz court against 3 boat operators from Mauritania who had brought over 67 of their own country men and women in a rickety cayuco in January. They were spotted off the Tenerife coast by the Guardia Civil patrol boat and towed into Los Cristianos harbour, and on to hospital for treatment. All 3 “captains” got 3 years in jail for their exploitation, there are many more over in Africa, just as ruthless and greedy, ready to take their place – but it’s a start.