Ready for the off!

Olhanense supporters are looking forward with mixed emotions to tomorrow’s opening fixture away to V.Guimarães. With 17 new players in the 26-man squad, a complete new management structure and redesigned kit, there is no doubt that a fresh wind of change is blowing through the Olhão based outfit.

Last Sunday the fans had an opportunity to meet the players as they paraded under the floodlights at the José Arcanjo Stadium before staging an exhibition match. Latest addition to the squad is João Ribeiro, a product of Porto’s youth system, who has had spells at Académica and V.Guimarães.

He will be joining exciting new Brazilian talent Diego Gonçalves, scorer of three cracking pre-season goals, the speedy Italian Mirko Bigazzi and midfield play maker Pélé.

The experience of veteran club skipper Rui Duarte and former Portugal international goalkeeper Ricardo will prove invaluable. It may take manager Xavier time to mould his team of youth and experience into a cohesive unit but these are exciting times for the ‘rubro-negros’.

Last season’s goalkeeping hero Rafael Bracali, who was on loan from FC Porto, has joined Greek premier league side Panetolikos.

The Olhanense game against V.Guimarães tomorrow (Saturday) is live on Sport TV, kick-off 8.15pm. Members of the Olhanense Expat Supporters Group will be meeting in the Riverside Bar (by the old military bridge), Tavira. Chris Wright