South Wales FA boss Green speaks of previous experiences ahead of Regions Cup
South Wales FA boss Stephen Green will lead his side out in a UEFA Regions Cup preliminary round for the second consecutive time, tomorrow evening.
A South Wales select side represent Wales for in the UEFA Regions Cup once more with their first game set to be played at Jenner Park Stadium Tomorrow.
The first time the region represented Wales was when they flew out to San Marino, to face the B-Team national side, in the same year of the European Championships in France.
Manager Green recalls of the time that he and his players, who were decked in Wales gear were mobbed at Heathrow airport, with passers believing they were part of the heroic side which reached the semi-finals in 2016.
As Chris Coleman’s men prepared to jet off to Brittany, it was the Stadio Montecchio, San Marino for the South Wales select side.
“Walking through Heathrow airport, people were taking photos and asking for autographs from the players, with the Welsh kit on. When we got there I think we were too hyped up and a little bit too excited.”
“They found the whole experience in San Marino a bit overwhelming because it was the same time when Wales were playing at Euro 2016.
Wales may have finished bottom of their group, including a defeat to hosts San Marino and ZSMK, but a win over the Xanthi Region marked a first-ever win for a Wales side in the UEFA Regions Cup. As Green’s men now look to build on that.
Green, who ended his playing career at the age of 45, initially took a break out of football, before joining a committee of the then South Wales Amateur League, before the merger of both the Amateur and Senior, with it now being known as the Alliance League.
With experience as manager of Llanharry, guiding them to promotion to the Senior League, the South Wales boss is a veteran at this level and is in a prime position to identify the best players to pull on the red of Wales, this time around.
“I finished playing when I was 45, I had two years where I didn’t get involved with football at all. In 2008, I then joined the amateur League committee.”
“When I initially joined the South Wales FA, my first thoughts were it was just friendlies against Gwent and West Wales, played them in two games, and then I was told I would be the manager of this team in UEFA competition, and that is when things got serious.”
Whilst these games may be on home soil this time around, it’s a relatively new-look side for Green to choose from, with just Alexander Long, Christopher Quick, Liam Pika and trusted captain Stephen Price making up the eighteen man squad.
There’s a bit more freedom for players this time around, given that a lot are in short proximity of their assigned home ground Jenner Park, but with the experiences of being together abroad. The same level of togetherness has remained throughout the squad.
“There are only four guys out there who went to San Marino out of the 18, a lot of players have moved on to play in Welsh League Division One, or Division Two, it is a stepping stone for them.
“It was a great bonding session in San Marino because we did everything together as a group, and we are trying to replicate that here by keeping the boys all together.”
(Featured Image: Jon Candy)