Young Fifers take in foreign training trip

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EAST Fife’s under-16s and under-17s have returned from a week-long football training camp in Bulgaria.

The side returned to the Hotel Olymp in Teteven, close to the country’s capital, Sofia, the same venue they visited in October.

Coach Robert Cargill told the Mail: “The Sunday consisted of a light training session, in torrential rain, with rest periods in the afternoon and evening.

“On the Monday, the players endured a double training session, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

“Both the under-16s and under-17s played two games each against Bulgarian opposition.

“On the Tuesday, both teams played fixtures against Stoykov Academy teams, which are selected from the best players from within the Bulgarian youth set-up. “

The under-17s played first, in the first half of the game, they played against the academy 17s but, in the second half, the academy completely changed and fielded a team of under-21s.

The young Fifers held out impressively and earned a well-deserved 0-0 draw.

The under-16s were next up on the Tuesday, again facing the academy youngsters, and were narrowly beaten 2-1.

The Wednesday consisted of a morning training session and an afternoon gym instruction session.

On the Wednesday evening, the club had an outing to one of the Bulgarian cup semi-finals between Litex Lovech and Locomotiv Plovdiv, which came about because the Plovdiv team was staying at the same hotel in preparation for the match.

Robert added: “The atmosphere at the match was passionate, to say the least, and it had to be stopped just after half-time, following a barrage of flares thrown on to the pitch by the Plovdiv fans.

“Locomotiv were the underdogs in the match but went on to win 1-0.

“On Thursday, we again played two games, against the local under-16 and under-17 opposition.

“Although there was some serious doubt regarding the age of some of the opposition players, again our boys more than held their own.

“The under-17s performed well and drew 1-1. The 16s were more successful, triumphing 2-1 in their match.

“Before we left for home on the Saturday, we arranged a friendly match between the 16s and 17s.

“Although this was a friendly game, it was very competitive and ended with an impressive 3-2 victory for the under-16s.”

Throughout the week, the players were advised on various aspects of full-time football.

This included talks on nutrition, while their diets were strictly monitored.