The Guia Girls

By David Lugg

Football is, by far, the most popular sport in Portugal. Think Portuguese football and you are likely to conjure up images of Eusébio or Ronaldo depending upon your generation. But sport, of course, is not just for men. The popularity of women’s football is growing exponentially. An incredible 1.12 billion people watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in 2019. So how quickly is women’s football developing within the Algarve?

To help answer the question, I speak to Filipe Linz, head coach of Guia FC Feminino – the Algarve’s only active women’s football team. They sit proudly in the National Championship Division 2 which, considering their budget (compared to most other teams) is a remarkable achievement.

Last season you reached the playoff final before losing against Atlético. You must have been both proud and frustrated to be so close to promotion to the Women’s National Championship?

That’s exactly the feeling we had. Pride for the work done but even more of frustration, as we were the best team in the two play off games. Several injuries and an unfair sending off in the second game dictated our defeat and consequent failure to climb (to the top) division.

How else can we increase the popularity of women’s football in the Algarve?

Fortunately Guia FC has done a good job over the years, and last season’s performance gave women’s football greater awareness in the region. We require more investment and better support in order to compete with teams in the central and northern regions, as the recruitment base is significantly smaller in the south of the country.

Portimonense is the best men’s team in the Algarve AND ALSO HAS excellent futsal and basketball sides. Yet sadly, the club does not have a women’s team. Do you think the big clubs have a responsibility to provide a women’s football team?

The big clubs certainly have more means to invest, but this investment must initially start in the youth teams and also in the senior teams where players from outside the Algarve will have to be hired. This sometimes becomes an investment that clubs avoid because it does not have as immediate a return as in men’s football.

The new season is almost upon us (24 September). What are the objectives of Guia FCF?

We know we will have a very complicated mission to overcome several teams with gigantic budgets compared to Guia FCF. This season the number of teams with ambitions to win the title has increased. But fortunately, football is not like mathematics and sometimes with little you can do a lot. We believe that with the quality of our work we can compete for victory with any team in the league.

If the club was promoted to the Women’s National Championship, could you compete with the big teams such as Benfica and Sporting?

With the natural reinforcement in some positions, I believe so. Players from Algarve have high technical quality and a huge level of enthusiasm on the field.

Do you have many young talented players coming through the club system?

We have several players under the age of 18 who are already showing a lot of potential and the future is certainly assured. We are always looking for new players and would love people to get in contact with us if they want to be part of our team.

What are your goals for the new season?

I want to bring the public closer to our team again. During the pandemic, we missed our fans a lot so I want a team playing exciting football that fills the stadium. In the long term, we would like to achieve an unprecedented promotion to the first division. We know that without great support, it will be difficult but last season was a remarkable achievement. We believe that sooner or later Guia FCF will reach the first national division.

If you are interested in playing or supporting Guia FCF then get in touch on their social media. They play their home games at FC Ferreiras.

Facebook – Guia FCF


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