Yorkshire’s national team registered their first win last weekend, as they triumphed 6-0 over the Chagos Islands, located in the Indian Ocean and coincidentally, a British overseas territory.
A brace from Richard Collier and further strikes from Ben Rhodes, Josh Hobson, Billy Mole and Matt Bradley secured a convincing win for Ryan Farrell’s Yorkshiremen, who remained unbeaten in front of a crowd of 532.
The result leaves Collier, of Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC, the top scorer for the national team ahead of its third game against CONIFA World Cup hosts, Barawa in mid-April.
Ever since Yorkshire announced their intention to start an international football team, a keen sense of intrigue has gripped the county whose main question has been: How?
Yorkshire are not affiliated with FIFA or UEFA and therefore cannot compete in tournaments under either governing body – yet are able to compete as a CONIFA nation, a governing body allowing teams not recognised by FIFA, the chance to play international football.
Yorkshire’s first win has propelled them in terms of support – as of March 2018 they have almost 4,000 followers on Twitter, with shirts being sold as far as New Zealand.
Joe Urquhart, who covers Leeds United for the Yorkshire Evening Post said: ‘’If I’m honest it feels like a bit of a gimmick that has gone too far and I think that’s how most people view it’’. However, he wasn’t full of critique for the idea, provided the exposure was utilised correctly saying: ‘’If their aim is to give Yorkshire amateur football and beyond a national voice then I’m all for it’’.
The chairman of the YIFA was undoubtedly happy with the result saying: ‘’Saturday was the culmination of so much hard work’’, citing the long process it’s taken to get here. He ended by saying: ‘’I’d just urge all Yorkshire folk to get involved in YIFA’s journey…it’s only going to get better!’’
The two contrasting views don’t take away the achievement of a county side winning and international game, something Yorkshire will always have the distinction of doing no matter what happens from this point.
One draw and one win, Barawa coming next, just how far could this side go?