Tristan da Cunha: The remotest football team on earth

Tristan da Cunha, a volcanic island in the South Atlantic,1510 miles to the south of Saint Helena, is the most remote inhabited settlement on earth, boasting a population of a meagre 264. There are only eight different surnames on the island but Tristan da Cunha still manages to have its very own football club: Tristan da Cunha FC, or TDCFC as they are known locally!

Their player-manager Leon Glass, explains why the club was formed

The Tristan football Team was founded in 2002 as the introduction of TV increased the interest in football”.

Leon asked locals from the island who enjoyed having a kick-about with visiting ships’ crews whether they would like to join the club.

“ They all agreed, though they said they would love to play in proper kit” He told Pat’s Football Blog.

So Leon then approached the local fishing company Ovenstone Agencies, and enquired as to whether they would be interested in sponsoring TDCFC kit, Ovenstone agreed, and paid for the kit and printing! So Tristan da Cunha Football Club, sporting their brand new kits, white shirts and blue shorts strode proudly onto the ‘American Fence’- a local cattle field used as a football pitch, and faced Edinburgh, a South Africa fishing vessel.

According to a local the final score was 6-10 to Edinburgh. It is not known who scored.

Tristan da Cunha FC became a talking point for many non FIFA enthusiasts, and many people talked of Tristan playing against an Ascension Island or Saint Helena XI. However,  when asked by the South Atlantic Ocean Football Blog about rumours stating that Tristan da Cunha are considering sending a representative  football team to the Island Games at some point, Glass responded by saying

“We have discussed this (the Island Games) but the logistics and funding makes it very difficult for us to travel” thus dismissing the rumours instantly.

 Unfortunately, TDCFC have not faced any teams in the last few years, and according to Leon, it would be impossible to form another club on the island, as interest in joining TDCFC has dropped. So it seems that Tristan da Cunha will have to  rely  the annual 6 a side tournament, and  sporadic ship landings to ensure the survival of the remotest football club in the world.

By Tomos Knox

With special thanks to Leon Glass and Pat McGuinness

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