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20th Mar 2024

‘Virgin derby’ set to be played this weekend

Ryan Price

A former Arsenal and QPR star will manage one of the sides.

Most footie fans don’t look forward to the international break, especially when they come smack bang in the middle of a dramatic Premier League season.

This current one, comes right at the cusp of the business end of the season, with lots at stake at both ends of the domestic league table.

While it’s a busy week for England’s team, having to play two fixtures over the next seven days, some fans have turned their attention towards a bizarre clash happening right in the heart of the Caribbean.

(Image: Getty)

The Virgin derby sees the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory that’s part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean, take on the US Virgin Islands – a US territory just south of their British counterparts.

The British Virgin Islands are ranked 207th in the world (just one place ahead of their local rivals), and are currently being managed by a former Gunner.

Kiwomya was one of George Graham’s last signings for the club in January 1995, before he lost his job after a Premier League inquiry found he had accepted an illegal £425,000 payment from an agent.

He was brought in as a striker at the same time as Scottish legend John Hartson, and scored three goals in 17 appearances in his three year spell at the north London side.

(Image: Getty)

The Huddersfield-born footballer wasn’t selected by new manager Bruce Ricoh during the 1995/96 season and found himself on the transfer list that January.

He went on to play for Ipswich Town, QPR, Le Havre in France and Aalborg in Denmark.

After retiring, Kiwomya turned to coaching and earned his stripes at Arsenal’s youth academy and Ipswich Town’s reserve team.

Kiwomya took over as manager of League One side Notts County in 2013, and during his spell as boss of the club, brought in Man City superstar Jack Grealish on a loan spell from Aston Villa.

This weekend’s ‘Virgin derby’ clash is not just any old friendly game – it’s a World Cup qualifier.

(Image: Getty)

Both sides previously met in the qualifying rounds for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

US Virgin Islands won the first leg 2–0 and the return leg 2–1. Neither team has ever qualified for a World Cup.

There is just 20km in distance between the closest points of each island, and Friday’s game will be played at Bethlehem Stadium on the US Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands will be hoping stars like Taylor Scarff, a brickie from Plymouth who was once on Liverpool’s books, can make the difference this time round.

Scarff, who now plays for non-league side Tavistock, told Plymouth Live: “Chris was mustard and you could tell he had been around professional football for however many years.

“He was so spot on with everything and knew what he was talking about. He was a really good bloke… The facilities at the hotel – I can’t fault it, it was top drawer. I stayed in a room that overlooked the sea, we had the pool below us and the food was spot on, really good food.

“But they absolutely love their football over there. They have a local league and play on Saturdays and Sundays and they play on the same pitch we used. But they are fanatical and absolutely love it.”

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