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‘ We need to stay positive as better days will come,’ says women’s futsal coach Gayle Langtry

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Women’s football was due to celebrate a historic occasion this coming May with UEFA allocating Gibraltar as a host country for one of the Women’s Futsal Euros qualifier groups. This would have been the first time a Gibraltar woman’s national squad would have competed in an official UEFA competition since entry into UEFA. Just weeks after the announcement Gibraltar was thrown into the midst of a lockdown, along with the rest of most of Europe. UEFA postponing all international events with new dates due to be scheduled.
Gayle Langtry, Europa FC women’s player coach, and national team coach for the futsal squad was also due to become the first female coach to take a team into the competitive international arena. The young coach would have been expecting to be monitoring and training her squad towards this historic moment, however, instead she finds herself looking at ways of keeping her players motivated, whilst at the same time being among the essential services workers who continue to provide the community with their service.
We had a chance to catch up.

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At the end this month you should have been selecting a national team to compete for the first time in an official uefa qualifier competition. This would have been a historic time for women’s football in Gibraltar. Instead you have found yourself without football for nearly a month. As a player and coach how hard has it been for you seeing all football stop? And knowing that it is still now uncertain if such an opportunity will return?
Seeing football stop has been a challenge, in the hype of making history by entering the Euros qualifiers this year, it was disappointing to see it all be put on hold with uncertainties of what’s to come. Having said this I do believe these actions are necessary for the safety of our players. We need to stay positive as better days will come.

What has it been like with the lockdown keeping active and physically fit? And how can you keep your players motivated, especially the younger ones?
I have given my club team players a daily training programme to keep fit and work on their strength and conditioning. Via social media we all keep connected and motivate each other. We are also looking into doing this with the GFA Senior Woman’s Squad soon.

What has the lockdown been like for you?
The lockdown was hard at first because there is a lot of uncertainty. Although I still go to work as my department is considered an essential service, it has changed my daily routine. I am thinking positive and have no doubt we will get through this as a community. It is great to see how the essential services and the community have pulled together during such extraordinary times.

What message would you give players who are keeping to the lockdown rules but find its difficult to exercise and train?
These are unprecedented times but we need to keep going and be ready for when football starts again. Believe in yourself and push your limits. Keep yourselves motivated and support each other via social media platforms. We are all in this together.

You see in the news what other countries are going through. What is your biggest concern? And how do you go about things on a daily basis with the lockdown still in place?
It saddens me to hear what other countries are going through. My biggest concern is this virus spreading way beyond our capabilities. To help avoid this I follow the advise of our health care professionals and the Gibraltar Government.

Once the lockdown is over and things come back to normal how difficult will it be for someone such as yourself to get back into the sport?
It should not be too hard as I am currently training at home. As a coach I have a passion for football and great honour for my country. I am looking forward to commencing the futsal league and coaching the National Team in the Euro Qualifiers.

Do you think the league will be finished this summer?
The league has already finished. We have the 11aside cup matches pending and the futsal league yet to commence. Realistically I do not see this happening during the summer period.

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