- Malta national coach Dusan Fitzel dropped four players as he named the twenty-man squad for next Saturday's match at Ta' Qali against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Wednesday's clash with Turkey in Frankfurt, Germany. Both matches form part of the Group C qualifiers for the EURO 2008.
The four players to be dropped from the squad were goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and midfielders Roderick Bajada, Christian Cassar and Dyson Falzon.
Hibs striker Terence Scerri is the only uncapped player in squad while Msida's Peter Pullicino and Birkirkara's Kenneth Scicluna and George Mallia are back in squad after missing the trip to Slovakia.
The players selected by Fitzel are therefore:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (Excelsior Virton), Mario Muscat (Hibs);
defenders Ian Azzopardi (Floriana), Ian Ciantar (Sliema), Luke Dimech (Marsaxlokk), Peter Pullicino (Msida), Brian Said (Sliema), Kenneth Scicluna (Birkirkara), Steve Wellman (Marsaxlokk);
midfielders Trevor Cilia (Floriana), George Mallia (Birkirkara), Claude Mattocks (Sliema), Jamie Pace (Marsaxlokk), Kevin Sammut (Marsaxlokk), Gareth Sciberras (Marsaxlokk);
forwards Gilbert Agius (Valletta), Michael Mifsud (Lillestrom), Terence Scerri (Hibernians), Andre Schembri (Marsaxlokk), Ivan Woods (Sliema).
Malta hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina at the National Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 19:15 while Wednesday's game against Turkey will be played at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, kick-off at 20:00 CET.
- Malta will set the ball rolling in the UEFA European Championship 2008 campaign when they face Bosnia Herzegovina in a Group 3 qualifying match on Saturday, 2nd September at National Stadium, Ta’ Qali, at 19.15 hrs.
It will be the first test for coach Dusan Fitzel under competitive conditions in the wider international sphere where Malta were drawn in a sufficiently hard group despite the lack of glamorous names.
The presence of current European Champions, Greece, and that of Turkey, Hungary and Norway, besides that of Bosnia Herzegovina, will certainly render Malta’s task of attaining pre-defined targets an arduous one.
We seek to break new ground in such competitions. That of avoiding the bottom place in the group as well as surpassing our best ever points’ total of five.
Competition also demands that our team’s results will have an influencing effect in determining the group’s eventual winners and placings.
Our results in the Germany 2006 World Cup group matches when we held Iceland, Croatia and Bulgaria to respectable draws, albeit on home soil, are still fresh in our memory and if we can draw on our fighting qualities as we did in those matches there is no reason why we cannot attain our target.
This is the frame of mind we should be in as we tackle our first hurdle against Bosnia Herzegovina. Home matches tend to bring pressure to bear on our team since we rightly expect a positive result. Somehow, we have to play down that complex.
There is no doubt that our players will do their best and play with pride when donning their country’s jersey. While shedding any inferiority complex, they will take up sporting battle with a conviction that a positive result is not beyond them.
We are sure that Fitzel will leave no stone unturned to tune up our players physically and mentally so that they can perform with dignity. Nothing will render more satisfaction than a positive lift-off in our European Championship trek.
The other necessary ingredient is the backing from our countrymen. And if we go by the massive support our team had when we played Croatia and Bulgaria last year, then we could well cash in on the proverbial ‘twelfth man’, so important to tilt the balance in favour of a particular team.
Our players need this backing. Technical and battling qualities, complemented by vociferous support from the stands, can do the trick.
Maltese followers of the game certainly have the national team at heart. All it takes is to put this affection into practice and turn up at National Stadium on Saturday.
- Four Premier League players were handed a one-match ban after being sent off during the weekend.
Birkirkara defender Kenneth Scicluna who was sent off in the 1-5 defeat to Msida will be missing the next game against St. George's on Saturday 9th September. Ousseni Zongo of Msida who was sent off during the same game will be missing the game against Pietà Hotspurs on Sunday 10.
Luke Dimech of Marsaxlokk is ruled out of the important game against Valletta on Monday 11 while Sliema defender Mauro Di Lello will be missing the Old Firm derby against Floriana on Sunday 10.
- To mark the end of its first football training season, Premier School of Football organised a Target Shoot-Out for all the boys attending the school.
The youngsters competed within their respective groups where each boy took twenty target shots. The boy who managed to gather the highest number of points in his group, won the competition and a trophy. The boys were also encouraged to find sponsors and the one with the highest amount of money collected was rewarded with a trophy with his name engraved on it, to keep for a year.
On the following day the boys were invited to a Barbeque and Presentation Night organised at Gnien Arjuza. The boys’ parents and relatives joined in to make this evening a very enjoyable experience and a wonderful family gathering. The night commenced with a thanksgiving mass celebration and later proceeded with a feastful barbeque followed by the season’s awards presentation. This included the most improved players’ awards for the months of April, May and June.
Moreover, each and every boy that attended the school during the year was given a memento for his participation. A special trophy was also awarded to the most dedicated and improved player over the whole season. Target shoot-out awards were also presented during the evening.
Meanwhile the school is accepting applications for the new season commencing in a couple of weeks time. Those interested may obtain more details by phoning 99470423/99459607 or visit the school’s website at www.premierschooloffootball.com.
- Msida St. Joseph will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting on Sunday 3rd September at 09:30 at the club premises. All club members are invited to attend this meeting.
- Malta will be aiming for a positive result as the national 'A' team hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina in a game from Group C of the EURO 2008 qualifying campaign. This was revealed by MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud while speaking in a press conference on Tuesday.
Dr Mifsud said Malta met Bosnia-Herzegovina twice in friendly matches. Malta registered a 2-1 win at Ta' Qali while Bosnia-Herzegovina won 2-0 in Sarajevo.
After Saturday's game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, the team travels to Germany where Malta will be facing Turkey at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt on Wednesday 6th. The game against Turkey is behind played behind closed doors due to a FIFA ban on the Turkish FA.
In view of these matches, the national team went for a ten-day training camp in the Czech Republic and then played a friendly international game against Slovakia where the main objective was that of trying players and new schemes.
Malta coach Dusan Fitzel said Saturday's game is no easy one. "Having watched Bosnia-Herzegovina losing narrowly to a star-studded France a couple of weeks ago, I know that it will be a tough game. Almost all their players play abroad."
Asked whether playing Turkey in a stadium behind closed-doors is an advantage or not, Fitzel said that the Turkish supporters are renowned for their strong support.
"They give the players a big boost and keep putting pressure on them to score more goals. Therefore this definitely an advantage for Malta," said Fitzel.
Malta captain Gilbert Agius agreed, having played in Turkey for Valletta in a UEFA Cup qualifier against Trabzonspor a few years ago.
The Malta coach said his main objective is for the team to score more, obtain more points and improve the placing in the FIFA ranking. He admitted this will not be an easy task. "Our group is tough but we will be trying our best," concluded Fitzel.
Fitzel named a provisional 24-man squad for the two games. The players are:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (Excelsior Virton), Andrew Hogg (Pietà), Mario Muscat (Hibs);
defenders Ian Azzopardi (Floriana), Ian Ciantar (Sliema), Luke Dimech (Marsaxlokk), Peter Pullicino (Msida), Brian Said (Sliema), Kenneth Scicluna (Birkirkara), Steve Wellman (Marsaxlokk);
midfielders Roderick Bajada (Sliema), Christian Cassar (Floriana), Trevor Cilia (Floriana), Dyson Falzon (Valletta), George Mallia (Birkirkara), Claude Mattocks (Sliema), Jamie Pace (Marsaxlokk), Kevin Sammut (Marsaxlokk), Gareth Sciberras (Marsaxlokk);
forwards Gilbert Agius (Valletta), Michael Mifsud (Lillestrom), Terence Scerri (Hibernians), Andre Schembri (Marsaxlokk), Ivan Woods (Sliema).
Saturday's game against Bosnia-Herzegovina will be controlled by Danish officials. The referee is Thomas Vejlgaard who will be assisted by Palle Vudsen and Martin Wulff and fourth official Nicolai Vollquartz.
Match ticket prices are as follows:
West Sides A & C - Upper - Lm 7;
West Sides A & C - Lower - Lm 4;
Millennium Stand - Lm 3;
Ladies, Children (Under 11), Kartanzjan Holders and Persons with Special Needs Card Holders and Persons on Wheelchair (in Millennium Stand only) - Lm 2.
Pre-Sale of tickets starts on Wednesday 30th August and will continue up to mid-day on match-day on Wednesday, 7th September, 2005. The following are the Authorised Ticket Retailers: Geraldu Kiosk (Republic Street, Valletta); Eros Stationery (Wilga Street, Paceville), Star Tourism (Pioneer Road, Bugibba) and the National Stadium.
Tickets will also be available at the gates just before the match. The gates at the National Stadium will open at 15:30.
Besides the Malta 'A' National Team game, the Under-19 side will be facing the Switzerland Under-19 side in a friendly match on Saturday as well, kick-off at 16:15. The Swiss Under-19 side will then take on the Malta Under-20 side in another friendly match on Wednesday, kick-off at 18:00. The two matches will be played at the National Stadium.
On Saturday, during the interval between the Under-19 and the National 'A' Team matches, entertainment will be provided by a number of singers, namely Fabrizio Faniello, Priscilla Psaila, Thea & Friends, Triston B and Kevin Borg. The entertainment is ebing provided by Events Services.
On the other hand, Bank of Valletta will be distributing plastic balloon sticks to the spectators to help create an atmosphere prior to and during the match.
- Melita Cable will be transmitting 35 matches from the BOV Premier League and the home-matches of the Malta national team following an agreement between the cable television company and the Malta Football Association.
This was revealed during a press conference which was held at the Centenary Hall, Ta' Qali on Tuesday.
MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud announced that a few months ago, the association had offered for sale the media rights of the National League matches as well as the home matches of the Malta National 'A' team. There were four different packages meant for television and radio stations and another for mobile phone operators.
Dr Mifsud said the association's objective was to provide a better product. For example, while filming of matches was being carried out by two cameras, according to the bidding document, those who were interested in filming football matches were due to have at least four cameras.
No bids were made by the local stations. The Malta Football Association then decided to offer the three free-to-air television stations, i.e. Public Broadcasting Services Ltd - TVM, Media.Link - Net Television and One Productions - Super One, the possibility to extend their previous two-year contract, practically on the same conditions they had earlier.
Radio station RTK accepted the offer and so far has been the only station to be able to transmit from Ta' Qali.
On the other hand, TVM, Net TV and Super One joined forces but their offer was much lower than the over Lm 20,000 they used to pay before.
Net TV and Super One reportedly used to pay around Lm 6,000 each while TVM used to pay a higher figure due to the exclusive right for national teams matches.
The Malta Football Association is ready to accept an offer by the three stations only if the MFA receives the same amount it used to receive before.
Dr Mifsud said that thanks to the agreement with Melita Cable, the three free-to-air television stations will have reduced costs. In fact, Melita will be offering the three stations with a film of the game from which they could take the match highlights that they are used to screening during sports news and other sports programmes.
Melita Cable will be filming 35 BOV Premier League matches, the first one being the September 10 clash between Floriana and Sliema Wanderers. Filming will be carried out with seven cameras and matches will be screened on the Melita sports channels.
As part of the agreement, all teams will be featured in these live matches.
All national 'A' team home-matches will be screened live as well - the first one being next Saturday's EURO 2008 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The company will be trying to buy television rights for away matches, when possible.
Melita Cable sales and marketing manager Franco Degabriele said Melita has been spending thousands of liri to acquire rights for football matches. The company is now ready to offer a high-quality product in screening local matches.
Degabriele made it clear that their acquisition does not interfere in any way with the television rights of free-to-air television stations as the negotiations Melita had with the Malta Football Association only covered pay-television rights.
Asked whether this will affect the number of spectators for football matches, Dr Mifsud said this was a test and only at the end of the season, one would be able to judge if this was more of a benefit for the local game or not. Mr Degabriele said live screening of football matches, in a professional manner, could help in raising interest in the local game and therefore could be a positive aspect for football in Malta.
- Czech coach Michal Striz was unveiled as the new coach of the Malta national futsal team.
Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud said that over the past years, futsal has developed fast with no less than 63 teams taking part in the Futsal competitions last season and 64 teams due to take part this season.
Dr Mifsud said the association wanted a good coach who would set up a national team which would take part in the next edition of the UEFA Futsal Championship.
Striz was the head coach of the Czech national futsal team between 1998 and 2005 and for seven years between 1998 and 2004, he was voted as the best futsal coach in the Czech Republic. Under his guidance, the Czech Republic placed third in the UEFA European Futsal Championship in 2003 in Caserta, Italy.
On club level, he coached Plumbum Hradec Kralove, Viktoria Zizkov and Nejzbach Vysoke Myto in the Czech Republic and Doukas Athene in Greece. On the other hand, as a player, Striz won the Czech Futsal Championship 1988 with Saturn Brno and won the Best Player award in the Czech Republic in 1994. He played 26 matches for the national team scoring 16 goals.
Speaking to the media, Striz said he was glad to take this job and that he wanted to pass on his experience to this "new-born baby". He admitted creating a new team puts a lot of responsibility on his shoulders but is looking forward to this new adventure. The Czech coach also said that he is looking forward to work with coaches of local teams.
MFA vice-president Mr John Farrugia said that futsal has always been a popular game - first as 5-a-side football and now as an organised game under FIFA regulations. He said that the next step was that of creating a national team.
Although so far, futsal teams were mainly formed of older players and groups of friends, the MFA is looking forward to have young players turning to the game. The national team could be a good showcase for these players.
Farrugia said that together with Michal Striz, the association planned to strengthen the game. Coaching education was on top of the list.
The Malta national futsal team will start its preparation on September 5th with three training sessions a week - two at the Corradino complex and one at De La Salle.
- Mr Ingmar Spiteri, FIFA Assistant Referee, has been chosen to attend the 6th UEFA Seminar for Assistant Referees which is being held at the UEFA Headquarters – House of European Football at Nyon, Switzerland.
Mr Spiteri will join representatives from other UEFA Member States at the Seminar which is being held from August 29 to 31.
- Malta will be taking part in an Under-17 International Youth Football Tournament which is being held in Chios Islands, Greece, from the 2nd to the 6th of September. Taking part in the tournament are Chios, Georgia, Greece and Malta.
In the first game on Saturday, Malta will face Greece. Malta then meets Georgia on Sunday and Chios on Tuesday.
The group of players selected by Under-17 coach Oliver Spiteri are:
goalkeepers Daniel Balzan (Qormi), Paul Camilleri (Tarxien), Michael Incorvaja (Sliema);
defenders Owen Bugeja (Floriana), Carl Camilleri (Pietà), Paul Kane Farrugia (Sliema), Keith Fenech (Birkirkara), Ismail Grech (Mosta), Merlin Mifsud (Mgarr), Jonathan Xerri (Hibernians), Clint Zammit (Birkirkara);
midfielders Nathan Busuttil (Pieta), Miguel Ciantar (Sliema), Leighton Grech (Hibernians), Chris Mackay (Pietà), Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara), Randall Refalo (Hibernians);
forwards Dylon Grima (Pietà), Timothy Fleri Soler (Hibernians).
- Valletta FC Nursery – A School of Football will be holding a General Meeting for committee members, coaches, parents and children next Sunday, 3rd September, at St. Dominic Parish Church Hall in Valletta.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 10am.
Details about the new Nursery set-up and policy will be given out to those present.
In the meantime, a Buffet Night will be held at Castille Hotel on Thursday, 7th September. More details can be obtained by logging in to the new nursery website, www.vallettanursery.tk.
- Malta international striker Michael Mifsud was once again on target for Lillestrom as they defeated Ham Kam 3-1 to stay in second place in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, one point behind leaders Brann. Mifsud scored the second goal which put them two goals ahead before the visitors reduced the gap.
- The Buzu School of Football has just issued a DVD aimed at improving the technical abilities of young footballers.
The DVD also includes highlights from the careers of former Malta international players Carmel Busuttil and John Buttigieg.
The DVD is available by phoning Carmel Busuttil on 99837001.
- Premier League Marsaxlokk vs Pietà H. 5-0, Msida SJ vs Birkirkara 5-1
- Malta international goalkeeper Justin Haber joined Belgian Second Division side Excelsior Virton.
A product of Floriana, Haber played for a short spell with SK Dobrudzha in Bulgaria before joining Birkirkara. Last season, he played for non-league French side US Quevilly.
- The draws for the Youth FA APS Bank Under-16 and Under-14 Leagues and for the Youth FA Under-16 Knock-Out were held during the annual Pepsi Seminar which was held at the Corinthia Hotel, Attard. This season's seminar had the theme "25 Years Building Young People Through Football."
Following the introduction by Youth FA president Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro, the first speaker was Assistant Commissioner Josie Brincat who spoke about Stewards in Youth FA Competitions.
Mr Brincat spoke about the roles and responsibilities of stewards, the requirement stewards should have and the benefits derived from good stewarding.
Mr Iden Azzopardi and Mr Sinclair Cassar from the Kunsill Malti ghall-Isport delivered talks about the Preparation of a Budget and Assistance Incentives Schemes.
Mr Andrew Triganza Scott and Mr Andrew Decelis then spoke about the identification of priorities and the development of effective sport management practice. The presentation focussed on the standards set by UEFA with regards to club licensing and the English model which was set by Sport England.
Following a short explanation about new Competition Rules for season 2006/07 by Youth FA vice-president Mr Joe Cassar, the draws for the leagues and knock-outs were held.
Forty-one teams are taking part in the APS Bank League Under-14 - twelve in Section A, twelve in Section B and seventeen in Section C. Sections A and B will be played on a two-round basis while Section C will be played on one round.
Three teams are relegated from Section A and four from Section B. Three teams are promoted from Section B to Section A while the first four teams in Section C will be promoted to Section B.
Forty-three teams are taking part in the APS Bank League Under-16 - twelve in Section A, twelve in Section B and nineteen in Section C. Sections A and B will be played on a two-round basis while Section C will be played on one round.
Three teams are relegated from Section A and three from Section B. Three teams are promoted from Section B to Section A while the first three teams in Section C will be promoted to Section B.
Forty-two teams are taking part in the Youth FA Under-16 Knock-Out while eight teams are taking part in the Youth FA Under-14 Knock-Out.
This season, all Youth FA competitions will be played in football grounds with artificial turf, namely the Luxol Ground, St. Aloysius, HAM Complex, San Gwann and Tarxien.
The seminar was concluded with speeches by MFA vice-president Mr Ludovico Micallef and Mr Triganza from APS Bank.
- Premier League St. George's vs Marsa 0-0, Valletta vs Floriana 2-2
- Premier League Sliema W. vs Hibernians 2-1
- Pietà Hotspurs signed Hungarian Under-19 international midfielder Attila Filkor. Bulgarian midfielder Svetlan Kondev was therefore released.
Filkor was a member of the Hungarian national teams which took part in the UEFA Under-17 Championship in 2005 and the UEFA Under-19 Championship this year.
- Malta international striker Michael Mifsud scored twice for Lillestrom but these goals were not enough for the Canaries to claim the three points. Three points which would have given Lillestrom sole leadership in the Norwegian Tippeligaen.
Playing against Lyn away from home, Lillestrom took the lead after just four minutes. The hosts equalised on 35 minutes and five minutes later, Lillestrom had a player sent off. However with two goals in five minutes, on 53 and 58 minutes, Michael Mifsud put Lillestrom 3-1 ahead.
Lyn had other thoughts and managed to reduce the gap on 69 minutes and equalise on the 90th.
With all teams playing 17 matches, Brann lead the way with 31 points, followed by Rosenborg and Lillestrom on 30.
This will be the last season for Michael Mifsud with Lillestrom as he is planning to move elsewhere.
UK newspaper The Observer reported that Michael is a target for Championship side Coventry City. However since his contract with Lillestrom expires in November, the Malta international striker could only join a new club in the January transfer window.
- Bosnia coach Blaz Sliskovic recalled Hearts midfielder Mirsad Beslija and veteran striker Elvir Bolic of Rijeka for Euro 2008 Group C qualifiers against Malta and Hungary next month.
Sliskovic had dropped Beslija for last week's 2-1 friendly loss to France in Sarajevo because he has played little club football since his January move to Scotland.
He had, however, little option but to recall Beslija in the absence of quality replacements for Bayern Munich's Hasan Salihamidzic who announced his international retirement last week.
National team all-time leading scorer Bolic was rested so Sliskovic could try two young forwards in the France game.
Bosnia travel to Malta on September 2 to start their Euro 2008 qualifiers and entertain Hungary four days later at Bilino Polje in Zenica.
The squad is made up of:
goalkeepers Kenan Hasagic (Gaziantepspor), Almir Tolja (Batery Sabat Tehran)
defenders Dzemal Berberovic (Litex Lovech), Emir Spahic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Sasa Papac (Austria Vienna), Vule Trivunovic (Sarajevo), Ninoslav Milenkovic (Germinal Beerschot)
midfielders Vedin Music (Torino), Zlatan Bajramovic (Schalke 04), Vladan Grujic (Litex Lovech), Ivica Grlic (Duisburg), Sergej Barbarez (Bayer Leverkusen), Mladen Bartolovic (Hajduk Split), Admir Vladavic (Zeljeznicar Sarajevo), Mirsad Beslija (Hearts), Dusan Kerkez (Rijeka)
forwards Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bochum), Zlatan Muslimovic (Parma), Mirko Hrgovic (Hajduk Split), Elvir Bolic (Rijeka).
- Marsa secured the services of Nigerian striker Anthony Chimezie Ewurum after releasing Romanian defender Filip Marius.
For the past two years, Ewurum played for St. George's, helping the Saints claim the First Division title last season.
The Nigerian striker had joined St. George's in summer 2004 from SK Victoria Wanderers.
Ewurum will be the club's third foreigner along Emil Yantchev and Essien Mbong.
Romanian defender Filip Marius had joined the club last week after spending the last six months with Pietà Hotspurs.
- Malta international goalkeeper Justin Haber will be joining Belgian Second Division side Excelsior Virton.
Haber, who played in France with US Quevilly last season, had a trial with Sheffield United earlier this summer. The former Floriana and Birkirkara goalkeeper signs a one-year contract.
- The Mario Muscat Goalkeeper School will once again commence training for the fourth consecutive year.
Training sessions are going to be held at the newly-installed artificial turf pitch in San Gwann on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Applications are open for goalkeepers aged seven and over.
For more info can contact Mario Muscat on 79620045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or website www.keeperschool.com
- Premier League Birkirkara vs Marsaxlokk 1-0
- Vittoriosa Stars are seeking Under-19 players who are willing to join the club as they prepare to take part in the Youth League Section D.
Interested players, who are willing to join the club even just for one season, should contact the Team-Manager on email@example.com
- Premier League Marsa vs Msida SJ 0-1, Pietà H. vs Valletta 0-5
- Sirens FC Youth Nursery is inviting children to join their football Nursery for the coming season 2006/2007.
Boys and girls from the age of 5 to 16 are kindly requested to call at the Sirens F.C. football ground to leave their details. Monday to Friday from 16:00 to 18:00.
The Under-14 and Under-16 teams have already started training while the Under-5 to the Under-12 will start in mid-September.
- Premier League Sliema W. vs St. George's 1-0, Floriana vs Hibernians 4-1
- Hibernians FC together with Sta. Venera Lightnings will be organising an Under-19 eleven-a-side tournament - the Graziella Fenech Memorial on Saturday 26th August.
This tournament will mark the first aniversary from the tragic accident which took the life of Graziella Fenech - a player with Sta. Venera Lightnings.
Taking part in the tournament are Hibernians, Sta. Venera Lightnings and Mgarr United together with Birkirkara or Mosta/Melita. All matches will be played at the Hibs Ground, Corradino.
Meanwhile a mass will be held on Tuesday 22nd August at 19:00 at the St. Joseph Institute, Sta. Venera (next to the petrol station).
After winning the second championship in the history of the club, the Stripes will be aiming at defending the title.
Since last season, Birkirkara had a change in their foreign line-up. Goalkeeper David Simon, Precious Monye and Emil Yantchev are no longer in squad and these have been replaced by Polish keeper Andrzej Bledzewski, Italians Guido Gallovich and Angelo Paradiso and French midfielder Hatim Sbai. Another signing was that of goalkeeper Sean Sullivan who fills the void left by young Bernard Paris and Joshua Galea who were transferred on loan to St. George's and Mosta respectively.
A number of young players who were on loan with other clubs last season are back with the club and this time, they should be retained in order to provide the team a good back-up.
Being able to field just three foreigners, coach Stephen Azzopardi will most probably use Bledzewski, Gallovich and Paradiso in the Stripes' starting line-up as they are the ones with more experience. However his choice would definitely depend as well on the players who are available.
Over the past months, Birkirkara were plagued by injuries struggling to field a decent formation for the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against B36. Hopefully they would be much more lucky during the season.
After winning the BOV Super Cup last week, Birkirkara will definitely start the season as one of the main favourites for the title but their task could be more difficult than it was last season.
After placing third last season, Marsaxlokk start this Premier League campaign as one of the favourites for the championship.
Unlike recent years, their transfer campaign was far from intensive and they signed just four players. Foreigners Andrew Rocha Da Silva and Haruna Doda join the club from Tarxien Rainbows and Hibernians respectively while Malta international defender Luke Dimech returns from the UK where he spent the last three years. Daniel Bogdanovic is back with the club after spending the last two years on loan.
David Camilleri was transferred to Valletta while foreigners Nuno Gomes and Wendell Gomes were not retained. The release of Wendell Gomes was quite a surprise considering that he was a most prolific scorer last season despite starting several games on the bench.
As a new coach, Marsaxlokk have appointed Englishman Brian Talbot, who has already tasted success in Malta with Hibernians. Talbot could probably be the ideal candidate to deal with a squad which is made up of five national team players together with a number of other former 'A' or Under-21 internationals.
Talbot could count on a number of well-established players, even on the bench and this is one of the main reasons for which the Southseasiders could finally achieve what they had been working for over the past few years.
- Marsaxlokk presented coach Brian Talbot and their four new signings during a press conference which was held in Mriehel on Friday. The club signed Malta international defender Luke Dimech, foreigners Andre Rocha Da Silva and Haruna Doda and welcomed back Daniel Bogdanovic.
Vice-president Victor Sciriha said the club had clear objectives - that of improving the final placing over last season. After ending the Premier League in third place, the Southseasiders will therefore aiming at moving a step further.
"We hardly had any changes from the squad but we added new players and the squad is therefore strong enough. With the addition of a highly-experienced coach and if all the players give their hundred per cent, we could reach our objectives," said Sciriha.
Sciriha went on to state that he believed in the ability of the players in the squad and that they could lead the team to achieve what the club had been working for in the past years.
Luke Dimech makes his return to Malta after playing for Mansfield Town and Chester City over the last couple of years. Brazilian midfielder Andre Rocha Da Silva started his career in Malta with Floriana and played for Tarxien Rainbows in Division 1 last season. On the other hand, Nigerian striker Haruna Doda spent last season with Hibernians after two years with Birkirkara.
On the other hand, Daniel Bogdanovic returns with the club after spending the last 20 months on loan with Ghajnsielem first and then Sliema Wanderers.
New coach Brian Talbot said he is looking forward to achieving success as he did in his first spell in Malta with Hibernians.
"Having done well last season, thanks to the new arrivals, Marsaxlokk could do better this season. The main ambition is to win the league," said Talbot.
Speaking about the pre-season, the English mentor said he was pleased with the players' preparation as they worked hard. However he was disappointed that the national team players were not at his disposal for a long period of time.
Meanwhile Carmelo Abela Marketing will be sponsoring the club for the fourth year running, once again through the brand Mutti.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Steve Abela said that now that the team has gained more experience, hopefully the team will achieve success.
- Emil Yantchev, Filip Marius and Essien Mbong will be the three new foreigners of newly-promoted Marsa. The three players were presented to the media during a press conference together with the club's other new signings.
Besides the three foreigners, new arrivals are those of Andrea Zammit Tabona and Andrew Scerri from Sliema Wanderers and Victor Bellia from Naxxar Lions. Ivan Casha and Brandon Zammit, who were on loan with the club from Marsaxlokk and Sliema, will be staying with the club. Graham Bencini and Gilbert Martin also decided to stay with Marsa although their contract with the club had expired.
Marsa FC president Twanny Mercieca said the club had worked hard this summer in order to strengthen the squad. Their first objective was to confirm coach Michael Molzahn who will be starting the his third year with the club.
Speaking about Molzahn, secretary Anthony Gafa said the German coach was a truly professional coach who is fully in charge of all the technical aspects, therefore leaving the club to concentrate on administration.
The club retained almost all players with the exception of Nikolai Slavtchev who returned to Bulgaria and striker Stephen Meilak who was on loan from Hamrun. The Red-Blues are interested in securing a new deal with the Spartans over the player.
As regards the new players, Mbong is undoubtedly one of the most experienced foreign players in the Premier League after playing for eight years with Hibernians. Bulgarian defender Emil Yantchev was part of the Birkirkara squad which won the championship last season while Romanian defender Filip Marius spent the last six months with Pietà Hotspurs.
The Red-Blues were due to sign Nigerian striker Ikechukwu Chibueze but the club decided against his signature as he was eager to go for a trial abroad in the coming weeks.
Marsa coach Michael Molzahn said playing in the Premier League is a challenge for the club and for him as a coach as this was his first experience in the top division.
"We are looking forward towards a successful season. The target is to stay in the Premier League, hopefully by securing a top six position," said Molzahn. "Staying in the Premier League would help the club to build a stronger team for the future."
As regards the team's preparation during the pre-season, the Marsa coach said that he was quite satisfied with the performance of the players but warned that it would take time to get the team into the right shape.
President Twanny Mercieca said the Marsa supporters were the club's biggest sponsor. He appealed for help by all Marsa people in order to help the club to achieve the target of retaining Premier League status.
The club thanked the main sponsors - Barilla, Euroweb and Paolo Bonnici Ltd - and other sponsors for their support.
- The MFA Technical Centre will be organising another Coaching Young Footballers Course (CYF) at Ta’ Qali on 2nd and 3rd September 2006.
Applications are available from the Technical Centre, Ta’ Qali, during office hours. Closing date for applications will be on Wednesday 30th August 2006.
The Technical Centre will also organise another Youth Development Diploma (YDD) Course at Ta’ Qali from the 9th to the 17th September 2006, both days included.
Applications are available from the Technical Centre, Ta’ Qali during office hours.
Closing date for applications will be Tuesday 5th September 2006.
A passport-size photo is required for both courses, with a CYF certificate also required for the YDD Course.
Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Technical Centre wishes to notify that both these courses will replace those scheduled and notified for October and November 2006.
- For the third consecutive year, Dingli Swallows FC is organizing a pre season football tournament which this year will be sponsored by Alberta. All matches will be played at the Dingli Swallows Football Ground. Six teams will be participating in this tournament and the final game will be played on 1 September 2006.
The 6 participating teams have been divided in two groups namely Dingli Swallows FC, Attard FC and Zebbug Rangers FC in Group A, and Sirens FC, St Patrick FC and Zejtun Corinthians FC in Group B. Two teams from each group will go through to the final stages.
Presentation of trophies will be held just after the final match on Friday 1 September 2006 by the representative of Alberta.
Marsa FCNewly-promoted Marsa will be aiming at retaining their Premier League status as they prepare for another adventure in the top division, for the first time under the guidance of German coach Michael Molzahn.
Molzahn have been coaching Marsa for the past two years, leading them to the Premier League in his second attempt. For him, this will be his first experience among the elite of Maltese football.
The club worked hard to strengthen the squad, first by confirming almost all players who were part of the squad last season. Two players are no longer in squad - Bulgarian defender Nikolai Slavtchev and striker Steven Meilak, who was on loan from Hamrun.
Marsa signed three new foreigners. The most important signing is definitely that of Nigerian midfielder Essien Mbong - undoubtedly one of the most consistent midfielders in the Premier League. His experience will be a big asset for Michael Molzahn's side.
The other two foreigners are defenders Emil Yantchev and Filip Marius, who played for Birkirkara and Pietà Hotspurs respectively.
The club was due to sign Nigerian striker Ikechukwu Chibueze who would have formed an interesting forward-line together with Gilbert Martin. However Chibueze was willing to go for a trial with a club in Qatar and would have therefore missed the first couple of league matches.
All the Marsa supporters have high hopes on Gilbert Martin - the player who impressed most in the last couple of years. He will now have to prove himself in the Premier League, having played only in Division 1 so far.
His main partner in attack will be Under-21 international Andrew Scerri, who joins the club from Sliema after spending last season on loan with Qormi.
Other new players in the squad are midfielders Andrea Zammit Tabona and Victor Bellia, who join the club from Sliema and Naxxar respectively. Bellia, together with Brandon Zammit, who is back with the club, again on loan from Sliema, should help Mbong in midfield as they have already quite some experience in the top division.
Avoiding relegation is the main objective for Marsa although they will be trying to secure a place in the Championship Pool. However this will be no easy task. Winning direct encounters is definitely a must for Marsa but stealing points off teams challenging for honours would be a major boost for the Red-Blues.
Msida St. JosephAfter securing a top-six finish last season, Msida St. Joseph will be looking forward to doing even better this season.
The Saints were quite active in the transfer market, securing the services of three experienced players - Mosta captain Pio Sciriha and Hibernians duo Roderick Baldacchino and Peter Pullicino. These make up for the departure of Daniel Theuma, Mark Pullicino and Clint Micallef.
Other arrivals include the return of Adrian Farrugia, who spent last season with San Gwann, and defenders Stacey Vella and Claudio Ellul.
As a new coach, Msida appointed Patrick Curmi who had coached Pietà, Marsa and Hamrun and for the last three years, was the Head Coach of the Pietà nursery. A coach, who is therefore used to working with young players.
Up front, Msida will once again rely on foreigners Ibrahim Babatunde and Daniel Nwoke. Babatunde's decision to stay with the club was definitely a major boost for the Saints. In midfield, they will be assisted by Ousseni Zongo who established himself well after joining the club in January.
Besides Zongo, Pullicino should offer support to Under-21 international Paul Fenech, who had an excellent season last year. Tyrone Farrugia should once again take the role of defensive midfielder although he could also be employed in defence, if necessary. Pio Sciriha joins Josef Mifsud at the back of the Msida rear-guard.
The only problem for Msida could be the absence of strikers in squad. In fact, with just Babatunde and Nwoke as the only pure strikers, they will have to hope they are lucky enough to avoid injuries and suspensions.
Msida will be hoping to secure a place in the Championship Pool as early as possible, not leaving the issue to be decided in the final game of the first phase as it was the case last season. With the quality of the players in squad, they definitely have what it takes to make it to the top six. However they must be careful not to drop important points especially in direct encounters.
Pietà HotspursClub products will once again form the backbone of Pietà Hotspurs as they embark on another Premier League campaign under the guidance of new Italian manager Davide Vittorio.
After managing to avoid relegation by a whisker last season, Pietà will be hoping to do better this season as their young players have gained another year of experience.
To add experience to the squad, the Hotspurs signed Italian defender Angelo Tasca and defender Daniel Theuma while Anatole Debono is back after being on loan with Valletta. The rear-guard is definitely strengthened with the arrival of Tasca and Theuma while in midfield with Anatole Debono should provide good support for Svetlan Kondev, who did very well for the Hotspurs after joining them in January.
Other arrivals include Chris Camilleri, who spent the last two years with Valletta, and promising striker Edward Herrera - an Under-21 international, who is a product of Melita.
Herrera is set to partner with Martin Deanov in attack, with Andrew Decesare and young Ryan Camilleri being the other options.
The Hotspurs will be aiming at avoiding relegation. Making it to the Championship Pool seems to be quite difficult but the experience gained should eventually enable them to avoid the drop.
Valletta FCEnding the season without winning, or at least challenging for, one of the major honours was something Valletta supporters were not used to.
Under the guidance of Paul Zammit, Valletta hope to do better than they did last season when they had to settle for fifth place.
Kevin Cassar, Anatole Debono and Claude Mattocks are no longer with the club after being on loan from Hibs, Pietà and Sliema respectively. Chris Camilleri, Sharlon Pace and goalkeeper Sean Sullivan moved elsewhere.
To replace Sullivan, the Citizens secured the services of former Malta national goalkeeper Saviour Darmanin, who spent last season in Gozo with Ghajnsielem.
Two important signings were those of David Camilleri and Dyson Falzon. Camilleri spent the last eighteen months on loan with Hibs from Marsaxlokk. There he had an excellent season at the back of the Hibs defence. A highly-experienced player who should be a major asset for the Valletta defence. On the other hand, Dyson Falzon is one of the most promising players on the island and should establish himself in the Valletta midfield under the eyes of coach Paul Zammit, his mentor at Mosta.
As a third foreigner, the Citizens were due to sign Argentinean midfielder Guido Rutili but then opted for young Nigerian defender/midfielder Edafe Uzeh.
In attack, Valletta supporters hope Argentinean striker Omar Sebastian Monesterolo continues where he left last season when he scored eleven goals in twelve matches after joining the club in January.
The main objective for Valletta is to secure a place in the Championship Pool and eventually challenge for a place in one of the UEFA competitions. However the lack of experienced players on the bench could make it difficult for the Citizens in case of injuries and suspensions.
- Valletta will be signing eighteen-year old Nigerian defender Edafe Uzeh as their third foreigner.
Originally Argentinean midfielder Guido Javier Rutili was due to join the club. He played in a couple of friendlies but missed the Hibs Tournament due to an injury.
Uzeh is an Under-17 international and represented Nigeria in the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup which was held in Turkey last year.
The other two foreigners on the books of the club are Serbian defender Branko Nisevic and Argentinean striker Omar Sebastian Monesterolo.
- Scottish side Motherwell could make a move for Hibernians midfielder Udo Nwoko after Falkirk dropped their interest in the Nigerian-born striker.
This news was reported by The Daily Express on Thursday.
The newspaper reports that Falkirk were no longer interested in the player although the Paolites had reduced their fee demand which was originally £150,000 (Lm 94,000).
Nwoko had undergone a trial with Falkirk and impressed manager John Hughes with his displays during the pre-season tour to the Netherlands.
He also managed to score a goal for Falkirk during a friendly match against Turkish side Rizespor in a friendly match in Holland.
A product of the Hibernians youth nursery, Nwoko made his Premier League debut in season 2003/04. He was then loaned to Xewkija Tigers in Gozo mid-way through that season. Nwoko spent another season on loan with Xewkija in 2004/05 and last season, he spent another year's loan with Mosta in the Premier League.
- The BOV Premier League 2006/07 kicks-off this weekend with the first round of matches - two games on Saturday, another two on Sunday and one on Monday. The league promises to be highly competitive as this season, the gap between the teams seems to be as narrow as ever.
Champions Birkirkara will be looking forward to retaining the title but will definitely face a big challenge from a number of teams. Securing a top-six finish by the end of the first phase is the target for others in order to avoid playing in the Relegation Pool.
maltafootball.com will be taking a look at the ten teams in the BOV Premier League starting with the four teams which will be in action on Saturday.
Sliema WanderersSliema disappointed last season after ending the season without league or the FA Trophy after dominating the Premier League in the previous three years. For most of the time, the Blues kept the pace with Birkirkara, but eventually lost ground, although they managed to secure the runner-up position.
This summer, veterans Joe Brincat and Danilo Doncic moved to Floriana and San Gwann respectively. Striker Adrian Mifsud joined Floriana on a permanent deal while goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri returned with the Greens after spending 18-months on loan with the Blues. Lee Grima was released.
The Blues welcomed back Ian Ciantar and Claude Mattocks who were on loan with Floriana and Valletta respectively. They signed Clifton Ciantar from Floriana and Sharlon Pace from Valletta while Chucks Nwoko and Mark Galea joined the club from Birkirkara and Pietà respectively. As a third foreigner, besides Akanji and Di Lello, Sliema secured the services of former Czech international midfielder Zdenek Svoboda.
This leaves coach Edward Aquilina and his assistant Hugh Caruana spoilt for choice in defence with players like Ian Ciantar, Clifton Ciantar, Jeffrey Chetcuti, Brian Said, Mauro Di Lello, Lee Lombardi, Sharlon Pace and possibly David Carabott, all fighting for a place in the starting line-up. In goalkeeper Henry Bonello, the Blues have excellent back-up for Nigerian keeper Murphy Akanji.
Stefan Giglio, Roderick Bajada, Claude Mattocks and Zdenek Svoboda were the first choice in midfield for the UEFA Cup qualifiers but the Blues expect the return of Noel Turner who was recovering from an injury.
Ivan Woods will once again lead the forward-line with Chucks Nwoko probably being his partner in attack. However the presence of Mark Galea and young John Mintoff gives the Sliema coach several options.
The Blues' objective this season is definitely the championship. They have what it takes to challenge Birkirkara for the title and any finish other than first place would be a disappointment for the Wanderers.
St. George'sFirst Division champions St. George's return to the Premier League after ten years. A remarkable achievement for a club which was playing in Division 3 in season 2002/03. They won consecutive championships and after spending two years in Division 1, they return among the elite.
Last season, the team was based on several young players, mainly products of the club, with a touch of experience given by players like Patrick Muscat and Silvio Sciberras. In attack, they had Nigerian striker Anthony Ewurum who scored a number of important goals.
Ewurum is no longer in squad as the Saints, once again under the guidance of former Valletta midfielder Marco Gerada, signed three new foreigners. Brazilian striker Edoardo Do Nascimento is no new face for the Premier League, having played for Floriana and Sliema Wanderers. The player is coming from a difficult season as he was inactive due to an injury. His partner in attack will be Sulaiman Hammad. The other new foreigner is Brazilian defender Renato Garcia Conceicao. He made a single appearance for Sliema Wanderers a few years ago in a UEFA Cup qualifier and last season played for Ghajnsielem in Gozo.
Other new arrivals include goalkeeper Bernard Paris, defenders Steve Borda, Wayne Buttigieg and Benoir Fenech and midfielder Lee Grima. Paris made a few appearances for Birkirkara in the Premier League while Fenech and Grima have played for St. Patrick and Valletta/Sliema respectively.
The main objective for St. George's will be that of avoiding a quick return to Division 1. It will be no easy task mainly due to the lack of Premier League experience of the other players in squad but the Saints will be doing their best to give all their opponents a hard time.
Floriana FCAfter reaching the final of the U*BET FA Trophy last season, Floriana will be looking forward to challenge for honours once again or at least for a place in a European competition.
Former Msida and Malta Under-21 coach Joe Grech replaced Jan Artz as Floriana coach. Brazilian striker Wendell Gomes joins the club from Marsaxlokk. Goalkeeper Simon Agius and striker Adrian Mifsud are now Floriana players after securing long-term deals with the club. Goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri returns with the Greens after spending the last season-and-a-half with Sliema on loan.
Since last season, Ian Ciantar returned with Sliema while his brother Clifton also joins the Blues as part of the deal which brought Adrian Mifsud to Floriana. Congolese midfielder Rufin Oba was released after failing to impress.
The basis of the squad will be once again the several young players, who by now have gained considerable experience. Joe Brincat, who is also due to join the club, will definitely give the team a major helping hand in midfield with players like Mauro Brincat, Christian Caruana and Kurt Formosa eager to fight for a place in the starting line-up together with Christian Cassar and Trevor Cilia.
The Floriana forward-line used to be criticised for some time but with Adrian Mifsud and Wendell Gomes, who scored 15 and 14 goals respectively last season, this would definitely not be their weakest department. Nigerian striker Anthony Eviparker could also prove to be useful.
Floriana's main objective is definitely to secure a place in the Championship Pool after having to play with the bottom-four last season. By securing a top-six finish, they could then aim at fighting out for a place in the UEFA or Intertoto Cup.
Hibernians FCFighting for the championship will once again be the target for Hibernians as they start this Premier League campaign with a rejuvenated squad.
Since last season, the Paolites released or transferred six players. Foreigners Essien Mbong, Haruna Doda and Dave Williamson were released. Roderick Baldacchino and Peter Pullicino were transferred to Msida while David Camilleri's loan spell expired.
Hibs welcomed back Kevin Cassar, Jonathan Caruana and Matthew Bartolo who spent last season on loan, the former with Valletta and the latter two with Mosta. Another return was that of Nigerian striker Ndubisi Chukunyere, who was given a second chance by the Paolites. Young defender Roderick Briffa and striker Thomas Caruana joined the club from St. Andrews and St. Patrick respectively. The other new signing is that of Argentinean midfielder Pablo Cesar Doffo.
The third foreigner should be Brazilian Fabio Silva but the club should first decide on the position of Udo Nwoko who is now attracting the interest of Scottish side Motherwell. The player was earlier on trial with Falkirk but the latter dropped their interest although Hibs reducing their demand.
Coach Robert Gatt will therefore have to rely mainly on the enthusiasm of young players, especially in midfield with players like Edmond Agius, Matthew Bartolo and Clayton Failla, who are set to play an important role in the team. At the back, Hibs have the experience of goalkeeper Mario Muscat and defenders Kevin Cassar, Aaron Xuereb, Adrian Pulis and Ryan Mintoff, while up front, Andrew Cohen, assisted by Terence Scerri, should provide the goals.
After winning the Euro Challenge Cup, Hibernians will be looking forward to adding more silverware this season by challenging for the BOV Premier League championship and the U*BET FA Trophy, which they won last season. Targets which are not out of reach.
- St. George's announced the signing of eight new players as the club returns to the Premier League after ten years.
The St. George's squad is based mainly on young players, including ones who were part of the squad which saw the team climb from Division 3 to Division 1 in just four years.
Despite financial constraints, the club managed to strengthen the squad with the signing of three foreign players and five locals.
The three foreigners will be Brazilian striker Eduardo do Nascimento, Brazilian defender Renato Garcia Conceicao and striker Sulaiman Hammad. The local signings are goalkeeper Bernard Paris (Birkirkara), midfielder Lee Grima (Sliema), three Hibs players who were on loan with other clubs - Steve Borda (Marsa), Wayne Buttigieg (Mellieha) and Benoir Fenech (St. Patrick).
Larson Pace, Heathcliff Schembri and Lawrence Mizzi, who were on loan with other clubs return with St. George's.
All these players will be in Marco Gerada's squad for the game against Sliema Wanderers on Saturday.
- Malta retained the 122nd place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking list which was published on Wednesday. The friendly match against Slovakia was not taken into account.
Among the other European countries, Malta is 46th. Just ahead of Malta are Georgia (84, up 3), Cyprus (90, up 2), Armenia (104, up 1), Azerbaijan (106, up 3) and Iceland (106, up 1). Behind Malta are Liechtenstein (124), Andorra (132, down 1), Kazakhstan (141, down 1), Faroe Islands (169), San Marino (191) and Luxembourg (195, down 1).
The revised ranking calculation, introduced for the first time in July 2006, has led to more movement in the ranking table. Key factors having an effect include the reduction in time period evaluated from eight years to four, the weighting of point-laden FIFA World Cup matches and the more intense devaluation rate of matches that are more than a year old.
- The Fgura United Tournament kicked off on Wednesday with two matches.
In Group A, organizers Fgura United obtained a deserved point after drawing 1-1 with Second Division side Birzebbuga SP.
Fgura squandered some easy chances in the first half with B'Bugia forging ahead on the hour mark thanks to penalty converted by sub Ronnie Celeste. Fgura levelled the score through an Eric Lia deflected shot seven minutes later. Renald Attard defending the United posts kept the score level thanks to a splendid save late in the match. Referee: Paul Apap
Next match in this group will be played on Friday with Tarxien R. taking on Zurrieq.
In Group B, Gzira U. emerged 2-1 winners over Xghajra T., the latter playing with ten men for most of the match after having Mark Drago sent off midway through the first half. Gzira took the lead early in the second half thanks to Clayton Galea effort. Fifteen minutes from the end Keith Bonello headed in the second goal for the maroons. A spirited Tornados side reduced the arrears six minutes from time thanks to a Martin Portelli fine drive but Xghajra'e final efforts proved useless. Referee: Mr. Ian Miller
Next Friday's match from this group will see Vittoriosa S taking on Gudja U.
- Two Maltese FIFA Referees will be controlling two Friendly ‘A’ International matches between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mr Joe Attard will be in charge of the match between Wales and Bulgaria in Swansea on Tuesday while Mr Anthony Zammit will referee the San Marino vs Albania match.
Another Maltese FIFA Referee, Mr Chris Lautier will control the Under-21 friendly match between Italy and Croatia which is being played in Grosseto on Tuesday.
- The football season in Gozo is set to kick-off on September 2nd with the first matches from the preliminary rounds of the Independence Cup and the Second Division Knock-Out.
Unlike recent years, the season will come to an end much earlier with the last scheduled match being the Promotion/Relegation Decider which will be played on May 1st.
This season, only First Division teams are taking part in the Independence Cup. As usual, the final will be held on September 21st.
The Onvol First Division kicks-off on September 16 while the Sprite Second Division starts off on September 21. Both leagues will be played on three rounds.
The GFA Cup, open to all teams in Divisions 1 and 2, will be played between October 28 and November 26.
Other competitions which will be held next season are the Tazza Jum Il-Helsien, the BOV Super Cup and the new Second Division Challenge Cup.
- The Malta Football Association will be organizing two 5-a-side tournaments - one for Under-13 girls and another for Under-19 ladies on Monday 4th September at the San Gwann synthetic turf ground.
The tournaments will start at 08:30 and finish at about 13:00.
Those interested should obtain an application form from Mr Nunzio Frendo at the MFA Technical Centre, Ta' Qali or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a form will be sent by email.
The application fee is Lm 5. Payment to be made when handing the application form. The closing date will be Monday 28th August.
All players will be given a medal for participation.
Three other tournaments will be held later on during the season - during the Christmas, Carnival and Easter holidays.
Schools and other teams who would like to participate are all welcome.
- Maltese-Australian defender Kevin Muscat is set to captain the Australian national team in their Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait.
Muscat, who last played for Australia during the ill-fated Confederations Cup camping in 2005, will also be called on to anchor Australia's defence.
"I think at this stage, Muscat will start in the middle of a back three," interim coach Graham Arnold said on Sunday as the 18-member Socceroos squad reassembled in Sydney.
"His leadership at the back is going to critical for us. It's no secret that in the squad we have got seven debutants. There are four guys that have had only played one game, and those four had come on substitutes, so they have only got 15 minutes each of experience."
There are none of the foreign-based players and the team is entirely made up of A-League players.
Perth midfielder Stan Lazaridis told Arnold on Friday he would not be ready for the match which would likely have been his Socceroos farewell.
With Lazaridis out, Muscat appears the obvious choice to take the captain's armband.
Muscat has spent most of his career in Britain, playing for Crystal Palace, Wolves, Rangers and Millwall before returning to Australia to join Melbourne Victory.
- Six Marsaxlokk players are part of the eighteen-man Malta national 'A' squad named by national coach Dusan Fitzel ahead of the friendly international match against Slovakia in Bratislava on Tuesday.
Marsaxlokk and Sliema provide eleven players to the squad. In fact, besides Luke Dimech, Steve Wellman Jamie Pace, Kevin Sammut, Gareth Sciberras and Andre Schembri who all play for Marsaxlokk, there are Sliema's Ian Ciantar, Brian Said, Roderick Bajada, Claude Mattocks and Ivan Woods.
A number of players are ruled out injured, namely Etienne Barbara, Roderick Briffa and Michael Galea of Birkirkara, Adrian Pulis and Andrew Cohen of Hibernians. Other players were left out of the squad as they have just recovered from injuries.
The only uncapped player in the squad is Dyson Falzon, who has recently joined Valletta from Mosta.
This friendly match, which follows a ten-day training camp in the Czech Republic which ended on Wednesday, forms part of the preparation in view of the two forthcoming EURO 2008 qualifying encounters against Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 2 at Ta' Qali and against Turkey on September 6 at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.
Malta and Slovakia met four times. Slovakia won 2-1 in a friendly match at Ta' Qali in March 1994 but in August of the same year, Malta held Slovakia in a 1-1 draw in Bratislava. The two countries then met in 2008 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Slovakia winning 6-0 in Bratislava and 2-0 at Ta' Qali.
The players selected by Fitzel are:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (no club), Mario Muscat (Hibs);
defenders Ian Azzopardi (Floriana), Ian Ciantar (Sliema), Luke Dimech (Marsaxlokk), Brian Said (Sliema), Steve Wellman (Marsaxlokk);
midfielders Roderick Bajada (Sliema), Trevor Cilia (Floriana), Dyson Falzon (Valletta), Claude Mattocks (Sliema), Jamie Pace (Marsaxlokk), Kevin Sammut (Marsaxlokk), Gareth Sciberras (Marsaxlokk) and
forwards Gilbert Agius (Valletta), Michael Mifsud (Lillestrom), Andre Schembri (Marsaxlokk), Ivan Woods (Sliema).
The Malta contingent headed by MFA President, Dr Joe Mifsud, leaves Malta on Sunday at 14:35 on Flight No. KM512.
The match will be played at the Slovan Stadium, Bratislava, kick-off at 20:15.
- Super Cup Birkirkara vs Hibernians 2-1
- The 2006 edition of the Gammari Muscat Mosta Tournament kicks-off on Friday 18th August.
Taking part in the tournament, which is sponsored by Miksons Transport Co. Ltd. are First Division sides Mosta and St. Patrick, Second Division sides Lija Athletic and Sta. Venera Lightnings and Third Division side Mgarr United. The tournament will be played on a one-round league basis.
The tournament comes to an end on Monday 28.
Meanwhile Mosta will be organising as well the Mosta FC Under-19 Challenge. This will be held between August 27th and September 4th.
Eight teams are taking part, divided in two sections. Mgarr United, Pietà Hotspurs, Rabat Ajax and St. Patrick will be playing in Section A while Floriana, Mosta, Sliema Wanderers and Valletta will be playing in Section B.
- The Women's League 2006/07 kicks-off on September 26 with the first game being Sta. Venera Lightnings vs Mgarr United.
Mgarr will be taking part for the first time. There will still be eight teams in the competition as Qormi decided not to participate this season.
In the other games from the first round of matches, Birkirkara take on Mosta, champions Hibernians meet Rabat Ajax while Sliema Raiders play Melita.
The league will be played in two phases. All the teams will be facing each other in the first round. Teams will then be divided into two pools of four teams where they will be playing on two rounds.
The Women's Football League will be played at the Luxol Ground. Matches will be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Msida St. Joseph defeated Valletta 2-1 in a friendly match at the Hibs Ground on Thursday.
The Citizens went ahead after few minutes after a mistake in the defence with Sebastian Monesterolo firing in a superb curled shot.
Msida, who had a very good performance, pressed a lot and were close on several occasions.
In the second half Msida SJ continued where they left and brought the matters even with a powerful header by Tyrone Farrugia from an Ousseni Zongo cross. Minutes later, again from a Zongo cross, Ibrahim Babatunde scored again with a header.
This was the first game in an Msida SJ shirt for Roderick Baldacchino and Peter Pullicino, with the later playing just under twenty minutes in the second half.
- Fgura United Football Club would like to announce that the nursery is currently accepting applications for young footballers aged between 6-17 years to join the nursery.
Those interested can phone on 79707390, 79069139 or 79710864. Alternatively, an application form can be downloaded from http://www.fguraunitedfc.com/joinnursery.html and sent back to:- Fgura United Football Club, Mr. Stefan Vella, St Thomas Street, Fgura PLA12.
Applications are accepted via email on email@example.com as well.
- Sean Sullivan joined Birkirkara after spending the last ten years with Valletta. He signs a two-year contract with the Stripes.
- Msida St. Joseph presented their new coach and the new players to the media during a press conference which was held at the Sea View Hotel, Qawra on Thursday.
After ending their commitments in a most creditable sixth place last season, Msida worked hard to strengthen the squad this summer.
Their appointed Patrick Curmi as new coach and secured the services of seven new players - a blend of young and experienced players.
They signed goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo (San Gwann), four defenders - Roderick Baldacchino (Hibernians), Pio Sciriha (Mosta), Stacey Vella (San Gwann) and Claudio Ellul and two midfielders - Adrian Farrugia (San Gwann) and Malta international midfielder Peter Pullicino (Hibs).
Bartolo was already on loan with the club for the past six months while Adrian Farrugia had already played for the Saints until the end of season 2004/05.
Addressing the press conference, senior vice-president Mr Edward Calleja revealed that the club's target was to strengthen the squad in all departments.
As regards the appointment of Patrick Curmi as coach, Mr Calleja said the club believed in his qualities especially in his last two years at the Pietà Hotspurs youth sector.
"With a squad based mainly on young players, we believe he will bring out the potential of these youngsters," said Calleja.
The Msida vice-president denied reports that the club was going to transfer any of their players. He said the only player for whom there was a formal request was Ibrahim Babatunde. However despite the interest of an Italian Serie C1 club, the player decided to stay with Msida for another year.
Another club who is interested in the Nigerian striker is French Ligue 2 side RC Strasbourg. In fact, the player's agent already had discussions with Strasbourg manager Jean Pierre Papin.
Speaking about San Gwann defender Luke Vella Critien, Mr Calleja said the player had started the pre-season training with Msida as from day one. The two clubs had reached an agreement over the player. However when the club discussed with the player, the deal fell through as the club could not accept the conditions which were put forward.
The club will be aiming at repeating last season's top-six finish. However Mr Calleja said the target is to make sure of a place in the Championship Pool, earlier than they did last season when only a decisive game against rivals Hamrun Spartans decided the issue.
Coach Patrick Curmi said that following his appointment, together with the club's executive committee, they started working on strengthening the squad. A number of potential new players were identified.
He said that over the past six weeks of pre-season training, he noticed great enthusiasm from the players. Curmi believes that with the signing of the new players, the squad is more balanced.
"If we are able to maintain the same enthusiasm and unity among the players within the squad, we could look forward with optimism and this could be a very positive season for Msida," concluded Curmi.
Three of the new players in squad spoke about their new adventure after spending several years with their previous clubs.
Roderick Baldacchino said he was looking forward towards this new experience. "Although the beginning is always difficult, I hope the good atmosphere at the club will enable me to have four successful years with the club," said the former Hibs defender.
Midfielder Peter Pullicino thanked the club for having faith in him and said he is looking forward to repaying this faith. He also thanked this previous club, Hibernians, where he spent the last four years.
On the other hand, former Mosta captain Pio Sciriha is hoping for a successful season on a personal and a club level. "Mosta gave me a lot and I think I gave a lot to the club as well in these nine years," said Sciriha.
Meanwhile the new Executive Committee for the coming season was confirmed on Wednesday with the appointment of Mr Antoine Portelli as the new president. Mr Edward Calleja is the senior vice-president, Mr Robert Farrugia vice-president, Mr Robert Ancilleri financial director, Mr Keith Abela Wadge general secretary and Mr Saviour Darmanin director of football.
The club's financial director, Mr Ancilleri, who is also Group Financial Controller of Volksbank Malta, said that this will be the third year of sponsorship by the bank.
"The Bank feels sports has an important role in society. Sports needs held from such firms in order to move forward. Therefore we are giving out share so that players, especially younger ones, could develop their full potential," concluded Mr Ancilleri.
- Mr Antoine Portelli has been appointed as president of the Msida St. Joseph executive committee.
Portelli had previously occupied the post of treasurer and vice-president at the club, before handing his resignation a year ago.
When asked for his comments, Antoine Portelli said "Around two weeks ago, I was contacted by two Club officials, namely Acting President Edward Calleja and Club’s Finance Director Robert Farrugia, to join the club’s administration. Following very lengthy meetings – focusing mainly on the club’s commitments and also on the new signings which took place, I accepted to
join on Tuesday 8th August."
Portelli went on to say "I accepted this post after making it clear with all members of the Executive and Administrative Committee that my job and my family come first and foremost at
all times; and in addition although I will be the President, I consider this just a title
and no different in terms of my previous responsibilities, which I had when I held
the posts of Treasurer and Vice President. I consider myself as a Manager, and
together with the other Managers of the Executive Committee will work hard in
the best interest of the Club."
"I promise that I will strive hard to ensure that the Club is run on a
professional basis, with the hope that the coming season will be another successful
one for Msida St Joseph in Malta’s top league," concluded Portelli.
- Fgura United Football Club would like to announce that the annual Fgura United Football Club Pre-Season Tournament is going to be organized between the 16th and 29th August.
Eight teams will participate in this prestigious tournament that is recognized by the Malta Football Association.
The clubs participating include first division sides Vittoriosa Stars and Tarxien Rainbows, second division sides Gudja United FC and Birzebbuga St Peter's and third division sides Fgura United FC, Xghajra Tornadoes, Gzira United FC and Zurrieq FC.
All matches will be played at the Kordin Hockey Ground, Paola starting on the 16th August till the 29th August 2006.
The first games will be Birzebbuga St Peters vs Fgura United and Xghajra Tornadoes vs Gzira United.
The final match will be played on the 29th August 2006 kick off @ 7.30 pm
Entrance for every match is free.
Fgura United Football Club would like to thank all the participants for taking part in this tournament and wish them every success.
- Birkirkara striker Alan Tabone was banned for two matches by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner.
Tabone was due to serve a one-match ban in the Euro Challenge Cup game against Sliema but still played and the suspension was therefore doubled.
He will miss the BOV Super Cup final against Hibernians and the first match from the BOV Premier League against Marsaxlokk.
- Two Maltese FIFA Referees have been appointed to control UEFA Cup matches on Thursday, August 10.
Mr Joe Attard will be controlling the match Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv vs PFC Lokomotiv Sofia. Messrs Ingmar Spiteri and Joseph Camilleri will act as Assistant Referees and Mr Adrian Azzopardi will be the Fourth Official.
This match is being played on the neutral ground of Senec in Slovakia.
Mr Anthony Zammit will be controlling the match SV Ried vs FC Sion in Salzburg. Messrs Philip Agius and Joseph Rapa will act as Assistant Referees while Mr Alan Mario Sant will be the Fourth Official.
In the meantime Mr Anthony Zammit will also control the Friendly “A” international between San Marino and Albania on August 16, while Mr Chris Lautier will control the Friendly Under 21 match between Italy and Croatia being played in Grosseto on August 15.
Messrs Konrad G. Borg and Nicholas Debattista will be his assistants.
- Msida St. Joseph F.C. has reached an agreement with Hibernians F.C. for the transfer of Peter Pullicino and Roderick Baldacchino.
Peter Pullicino - a Maltese national squad player is currently in the Czech Republic on a training camp with the national team and will be joining his new team mates and coach Patrick Curmi later this week. On the other hand Roderick Baldacchino will start training today.
Australian-born Peter Pullicino joined Hibs in season 2001/02 where he played 115 premier league games scoring five goals. He is also a national team player and thus the list of international players with Msida St.Joseph FC goes up to four. Baldachino is an ex-B'Bugia St. Peter's, Zurrieq and Pieta Hotspurs player. He spent the past 10 years with the Paolites where he featured in 202 top league matches scoring 12 goals.
Both players won the Premier Championship title in season 2001/02 and also the FA Trophy, with Baldacchino winning the championship twice, the first in 1997/98. With these two signings Msida St. Joseph have added some experience to the squad and have reached all target signings established by the management board and the technical staff. Msida SJ will start their league campaign against newly promoted Marsa FC on Sunday, 20th August at 17.00 hrs.
In the meantime, last week Msida SJ played another two friendlies against B'kara (1-0) and against Mosta (2-0). This week Msida SJ will play another two friendly matches against Valletta on Thursday, 10th at Hibs Ground, kick-off 19.30 hrs and on Saturday, 12th against Hamrun Spartans at Victor Tedesco Stadium, kick-off 18.00 hrs.
In the mean time Msida SJ didn't reach an agreement with San Gwann FC player Luke Vella Critien and this after the player had started pre-season training with the club from day one. Last week the two clubs, San Gwann FC and Msida St. Joseph FC reached an agreement to transfer Vella Critien on a one-year loan. But unfortunately when Vella Critien met the management board later last week, the management could not accept certain conditions which were put forward, and consequently the deal fell through.
- The match between Sliema Wanderers and newly-promoted St. George's will kick-off the BOV Premier League on Saturday 19th August. The second match in programme will be Floriana vs Hibernians.
This emerged from the official fixtures for the BOV Premier, First, Second & Third Division Leagues and the preliminary round of the quick-KENO Second & Third Division Knock-Out which were published on Tuesday.
The first programme of Premier League matches continues with Marsa vs Msida St. Joseph and Pietà Hotspurs vs Valletta on Sunday 20th. Champions Birkirkara face Marsaxlokk on Monday 21st.
The BOV First Division League kicks-off on Sunday September 3rd.
Four matches are in programme - two at the Victor Tedesco Stadium and another two at the Hibs Ground. At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Mosta take on St. Patrick with Hamrun Spartans hosting Senglea while Qormi face Vittoriosa Stars and Naxxar Lions meet Tarxien Rainbows at the Hibs Ground.
The league comes to an end on May 13th.
The BOV Second Division League kicks-off on Saturday 23rd September with the match between St. Andrews and Balzan Youths. Also in programme on the same day is Gudja United vs Lija Athletic.
On Sunday 24, Dingli Swallows take on Birzebbuga St. Peter's while Melita meet Zebbug Rangers. At the Gozo Stadium, Gozo FC host Rabat Ajax.
The league comes to an end on May 6th.
The first matches from the BOV Third Division will be played on Sunday September 24th. Gzira United take on Siggiewi while Ghaxaq face Pembroke Athleta.
The league comes to an end on May 6th.
The BOV Third Division Play-Offs will be played between May 13th and 20th.
Meanwhile all Second and Third Division clubs, with the exception of Gozo FC will be in action early next month in the Preliminary Round of the quick-KENO Second & Third Division Knock-Out.
The first matches will be played on September 3rd - the games being Ta' Xbiex vs St. Andrews, Birzebbuga St. Peter's vs Siggiewi, Luqa St. Andrew's vs Balzan Youths and Zebbug Rangers vs Mdina Knights.
The first round will be completed by Thursday 21st.
- The Malta National 'A' team training came to an end with the cancellation of the match against Bohemians Prague due to five days of non-stop heavy rain.
However the bad weather that affected the region did not disrupt the planned training sessions.
In a friendly match which was played last week, Malta defeated Mlada Boleslav B 1-0, courtesy of an Andre Schembri goal.
The contingent is travelling back to Malta in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and will be leaving again on Sunday, destination Bratislava in view of the international friendly match against Slovakia which will be played on Tuesday 15.
The training camp and this friendly match form part of the preparation in view of the two forthcoming EURO 2008 qualifying encounters against Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 2 at Ta' Qali and against Turkey on September 6 at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.
- San Gwann defender Luke Vella Critien denies reports that he had joined Msida St. Joseph.
In a statement, the player declares that he rejected Msida's offer and therefore shall not
be joining this club.
- A group of 10 young boys forming part of the San Gwann Youth Football Nursery Under-10 category are currently in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second largest city to participate in an International Youth Football Tournament being organized there between the 6th and the 13th of August. The San Gwann team will be accompanying a contingent of Maltese boys from the Luxol St. Andrews Nursery.
Leading the contingent is Christopher Sant, who will be accompanied by club official Bjorn Vassallo and Nursery Head Coach Sandro Zammit Fava. Parents and other relatives are also traveling with the team, as part of an organized package.
During their stay, the boys will play five matches in the preliminary round, and move forward and play more games depending on their progress in the tournament.
The tournament organizers have made it a point to make the visit by international teams a memorable one and have included a number of cultural and social activities in the programme, which includes visits to Prague, Vienna in Austria and a number of local attractions.
- Malta’s Under 17 friendly international against the Republic of Ireland, played last Sunday 6 August at Dalymount Park, resulted in a win 3-1 for the host country.
The Irish team, preparing for next season’s UEFA U-19 qualifying competition, provided Malta with strong opposition.
Throughout the 90 minutes there was good, positive football from both sides. But for some inexperience by our defenders the Maltese could have obtained a very respectable result as they fought hard throughout the match.
The hosts went ahead after nine minutes when Emeka Onwubiko advanced unhindered and fired home. The Maltese replied after a few minutes but Miguel Ciantar muffed a good chance when served by Karl Pulo.
However, Ciantar made amends on the half-hour mark, when he slotted in, again after meeting a Pulo cross from the right.
After a fine patch from Malta, the Irish doubled two minutes before the interval through David Connolly.
The home team piled on some pressure in the second period and after seven minutes Daniel Corcoran latched on to a free-kick from mid-pitch to put the seal on the result.
Malta’s generous reaction from then on had the Irish playing with more caution to preserve their advantage till the end.
The result was somewhat hard on the Maltese, given their level of commitment.
For the Malta players and coach Oliver Spiteri, assisted by Charlie Scerri, this match and the participation in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup International Tournament had been a very useful experience.
- A group from Birkirkara F.C. Youth Nursery have just experienced a one week football training camp in northern Italy between the 16th and 24th of July 2006.
This event is organised annually by Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, the Italian Serie A football club renowned mostly for promoting youth soccer players, for a six week period during the summer months. This year, amongst the hundreds of youngsters who attended this sporting event held at Castello di Fiemme, Cavalese (Trento), where eleven boys and two coaches from the Birkirkara football school who experienced this venture with great success.
The boys had the opportunity to train under the guidance of professional Italian coaches and be assessed individually during competitive games. Every participant was given training kits to use during the sessions and other sportswear for keeps together with a technical report, photos and other official Atalanta material.
Apart from learning football skills, the boys enjoyed themselves in other social activities organized namely outings and picnics in the mountains, table tennis, table soccer, "giochi senza frontieri" and swimming whilst also, had the opportunity to spend a full day at Gardaland Theme Park.
It was also a unique experience for the Maltese coaches, Franco Agius and Jeffrey Mifsud, who accompanied the whole group during the week and had the opportunity to train and help out on the field with foreign coaches Bonaccorso, Butti, Pandolfino and Biffi - all professional coaches at Atalanta football school.
The list of boys participating at this memorable event was: Luke Mifsud, Zack Cassar, Gianluca Cardona, Luca Brincat, Sirage Abushkewa, Jeremy Cassar, Ryan Micallef, Ayrton Mifsud, Ryan Scicluna, David Spiteri and Michael Camilleri. Together with coaches and some parents who formed part of the group, such an knowledge will surely remain at heart.
- The Malta National 'A' team is currently conducting a training camp in Nymburk in the Czech Republic.
The training program, under the charge of national coach Dusan Fitzel, includes two daily training sessions.
Two friendly matches were also scheduled. In the first one which was played last Tuesday, Malta defeated Mlada Boleslav B 1-0, courtesy of an Andre Schembri goal.
The second friendly will be played on Tuesday 8th against Bohemians Prague.
So far, the training camp proved to be successful in preparation of the two forthcoming EURO 2008 qualifying encounters against Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 2 at Ta' Qali and against Turkey on September 6 at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.
The squad returns to Malta on Wednesday and will leave once again on Sunday, destination Bratislava in view of the international friendly match against Slovakia which will be played on Tuesday 15.
- Newly-promoted St. George's secured the services of three new players as they prepare to experience Premier League football once again after ten years.
Brazilian striker Eduardo Do Nascimento, better known as Bizu, will be one of the club's three new foreigners. Bizu is an important signing for the Saints' forward-line as clearly shown with the goals scored in the last two friendly matches played by St. George's.
Bizu played for Floriana between season 2000/01 and 2001/02. In summer 2002, he was transferred to Sliema Wanderers, moving to Gozo mid-way through the season where he played for Nadur Youngsters. Back in Malta, he returned with Floriana where he spent fifteen months, moving once again to Gozo where he signed for Ghajnsielem. Last season, he was inactive as an injury ruled him out for most of the season.
Another signing for St. George's is midfielder Lee Grima. A product of Valletta, Grima was on the books of Sliema Wanderers last season. He had earlier played for Xghajra Tornadoes and Marsa.
The Saints also managed to secure the services of Birkirkara goalkeeper Bernard Paris. The Under-21 international is a product of the Stripes. He spent some time on loan with Balzan Youths.
In the coming days, St. George's will be announcing the signing of two foreign players in order to strengthen their squad ahead of their Premier League campaign.
- The Malta Football Association is currently holding a summer training camp for young talent in women's football. This adventure started in the beginning of July and will end in September.
Players will then be chosen to form part of the Under-17 National Team.
UEFA currently holds competitions for senior teams and Under-19 sides - the UEFA Women's Championship and the UEFA Under-19 Women's Championship.
Malta currently takes part only in senior competitions.
Meanwhile four tournaments will be held in order to promote the game further among young ladies.
The first one of these tournaments will be held on Monday 4th September at the San Gwann synthetic turf pitch, starting at 08:00.
The other three tournaments will be held during the Christmas, Carnival and Easter holidays.
These tournaments are open for Under-19 and Under-13 five-side teams.
Any school or team that would like to participate can contact Mr Pierre Brincat on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any young talented players who do not play with a particular club but who would like to attend this summer camp are free to attend. There is no subscription fee. Players should be aged 12 to 19.
Special thanks to the San Gwann nursery for providing the premises and the great help they are offering.
- Referees will be wearing new Diadora kits as from this season after the Malta Football Referees Association signed a sponsorship agreement with Teamsport for the supply of the Diadora kits for the next three years.
MFRA president Mr Lorry Sammut said that through this agreement the association has reached another important milestone because uniformity in kits has not always been the case in Maltese refereeing history. Until mid-nineties, officials had to make their own arrangements vis-a-vis uniforms.
Through TeamSport, the local officials will be supplied with the full kit for matches and the necessary training gear to be worn by MFRA officials.
This partnership with TeamSport and also with PJ Sutters materialised after lengthy negotiations between both firms and MFA officials, with the blessing of the MFA.
The MFRA would have not been able to enter this agreement had the MFA, through its president Dr Joe Mifsud, made it possible for the Match Officials to sport a sponsor's logo on their shirts starting from next season. Furthermore TeamSport allowed the MFRA to include a complimentary sponsor, PJ Sutters through the brand Calvo, thus sealing the deal to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.
Mr Sammut thanked Mr Jonathan Darmanin from TeamSport and Mr Pierre Mattocks from PJ Sutters for their financial assistance and MFA President Dr Joe Mifsud for his supportive role, without which the MFRA would have been unable to secure the deals.
TeamSport Managing Director Mr Jonathan Darmanin said his firm has always tried to help local sport, and especially football. He said TeamSport enjoyed the same ideals of the MFRA whose motto is "For the Service of the Game."
Mr Darmanin said he was sure the professional look, which the new kits will be giving referees, would eventually help improve the image of the referees and the game in general.
MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud remarked that thanks to this sponsorship agreement between the MFRA and TeamSport, now both referees and the national team share the same technical sponsor which ensures top-quality equipment for both the match officials and players.
The presentation of the new kits was held at end of a three-day seminar for referees.
This annual event, organised by the MFA Referees Board under the auspices of UEFA, was conducted by Keith Hackett, a UEFA Referees Instructor.
Among the topics which were tackled during the seminar were: the Amendments to the Laws of the Game 2006; Match Control - Management of the Free-kick; Determining Offside; Pre-match Talk; Reading the Game - Positioning and Relationship - Referees/Coaches.
A session on the subject of the Relationship between Referees and Coaches was also held for Premier League and First Division coaches.
MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud concluded the seminar be reminding the referees on the importance of knowing the Laws of the Game and their correct interpretation. He said communication was also essential between match officials and revealed that the association would be ready to acquire the communication equipment currently used by referees and their assistants in top football tournaments.
Dr Mifsud pointed out that although referees are essential in the game of football, their role is not to steal the show but "to serve the game", as the motto of the MFRA states. He concluded that by showing respect, referees are more likely receive respect from players and officials.
- In a friendly match, Msida St. Joseph defeated Mosta 2-0 thanks to a brace by Daniel Nwoke.
- First Division side Hamrun Spartans defeated Mdina Knights 5-0 in a friendly match. Diego Cucciardi and Stephen Meilak scored two goals each, Stefan Sultana scored the other goal.
- Hamrun Spartans F.C. youth nursery have just returned from a very successful trip to Western Wales where they took part in the Wales International Soccer Tournament held in Aberystwyth.
The group, made up of 46 players divided into four categories, had a very intensive programme. Playing a total of 30 matches in five days was no easy task and this left its mark on both players and officials. However the experience gained competing at a continuously high tempo was invaluable. The tournament was played in glorious sunshine making the trip very enjoyable. The boys' efforts were finally rewarded with the Overall Fair Play Award.
The Hamrun group was led by Chairman Victor Cassar and Head Coaches Stefan Sultana and Marco Grech. Two other groups, one from Melita F.C. nursery and the other from St. Aloysius also took part in the same tournament.
- Pietà Hotspurs won the fourteenth edition of the Carlsberg Tournament, organised by Hibernians.
In the first match, Pietà Hotspurs managed to beat Marsaxlokk 1-0 thanks to a goal by Anatole Debono four minutes from the end of the first half.
Hibernians therefore needed a win over Valletta in the second game in order to claim the tournament.
Sebastian Monesterolo put the Citizens ahead after just three minutes. Ben Camilleri equalised seven minutes later but three minutes from the end of the first half, Justin Grioli gave Valletta a 2-1 win.
Pietà end their commitments on six points, followed by Hibs and Valletta on four points and Marsaxlokk two. Daniel Bogdanovic, Anatole Debono and Sebastian Monesterolo ended as top scorers with two goals each.
The tournament was first organised in 1991. Hibs won the tournament six times, Birkirkara, Floriana and Pietà twice, Sliema and Valletta once.
- Three players were suspended and a club was fined after three players tested positive in a doping test which was carried out after the BOV Third Division Play-Off between Gzira United and Rabat Ajax.
Two Gzira players were suspended for four months and five months respectively. They were also given a suspended sentence if found guilty of other doping charges by the end of the season.
Gzira United were fined Lm 150 as they were found guilty that in one case, the club was aware that the player had used an illicit substance. Gzira were also fined Lm 500 for having two players testing positive in the same game.
A Rabat player was suspended for seven months with a further suspended sentence of five months if found guilty of other doping charges by May 31, 2007.
Rabat Ajax were not found guilty as the club proved that they could not know the player had taken an illicit substance.
- The Women's Football League will be played at the Luxol Ground next season. The newly-installed synthetic turf pitch will be used as the Floriana Ground would have been unavailable for the first part of the season. Matches will be played on weekdays.
Eight teams will be taking part this season. Qormi withdrew from the competition but a new team - Mgarr United will be taking part.
The eight teams are therefore: Birkirkara, Hibernians, Melita, Mosta, Mgarr United, Rabat Ajax, Sliema Raiders and Sta. Venera Lightnings.
The league will be played in two phases. All the teams will be facing each other in the first round. Teams will then be divided into two pools of four teams where they will be playing on two rounds.
The Women's League kicks-off in mid-September.
- The Malta Under-17 national team lost 3-2 to Irish side County Armagh the final match from the Northern Ireland Milk Cup International Youth Football Tournament.
After suffering two 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and County Londonderry, Malta managed to beat San Francisco Seals 4-2 on penalties after ending the match on a goalless draw. Malta then drew 1-1 with FC Brussels.
On Sunday, the Malta Under-17 team will be playing their counterparts from the Republic of Ireland in a friendly international at Dalymount Park.
- The 9th edition of the HSBC Indoor Football Tournament, organised by S.K. Victoria Wanderers, has come to an end.
Seventeen teams contested this year's tournament during three weeks of play at the Gozo Sports Complex. The winning team was Gozo Beach Boys, who defeated the younger contenders Looney Tunes after extra time. The losing semifinalist were Strippers Boys and Red Devils. These teams won cash prizes, a trophy and also a commemorating medal for every player. Other awards were: Best Player: Josmar Grech (Gozo Beach Boys); Top Scorer: Jean Paul Mizzi (Strippers Boys); and Most Promising Player: Joseph Vella (Past & Future).
The trophies were presented by Mr Pandolfino (HSBC), Mr Mario Bugeja (Bellusa Daughters) and Mr Brian Azzopardi (club President), after the final match on the 28th of July, at the Gozo Sports Complex.
This year's event was sponsored by HSBC (main sponsor), Wilkinson Sword, Selective Travel, Monte Cristo Wines, Tamoil, Continental and San Michel. The SKVW committee would like to thank all the sponsors, participating teams and staff at Gozo Sports Complex for making this event another success.
- In a friendly match, Msida St. Joseph defeated Birkirkara 1-0 thanks to a goal by Ibrahim Babatunde.
- Msida St. Joseph continued to strengthen their squad with the signing of experienced duo Roderick Baldacchino and Peter Pullicino from Hibernians.
News was confirmed by the Paolites' official website www.hibernians.com.mt.
A product of Birzebbuga St. Peter's, Baldacchino made his debut in the Premier League in season 1994/95 for Pietà Hotspurs. Baldacchino then moved to Zurrieq, joining Hibernians in season 1996/97. He has therefore spent ten years with the Paolites.
On the other hand, Malta international midfielder Peter Pullicino started his football career in Australia, playing for Fraser Park and Sutherland. He moved to Malta in summer 2001 and had been playing for the Paolites for the past five years.
Msida, under the guidance of new coach Patrick Curmi, have already secured the services of goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo, young defenders Luke Vella Critien and Stacey Vella and midfielder Adrian Farrugia, all from San Gwann, defender Pio Sciriha from Mosta.
With Nigerian striker Ibrahim Babatunde deciding not to move abroad, the Saints will be retaining him together with Nigerian forward Daniel Nwoke and the midfielder from Burkina Faso Ousseni Zongo. Bulgarian defender Emil Yantchev who was therefore due to join the club will be free to join another club.
- The Ursuline Sisters of the Gwardamangia Creche were presented with the annual Lm 500 donation as pledged by the MFA on the occasion of Pope John Paul II's visit to Malta in 1990.
- The Malta Under-17 national team shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with FC Brussels in another match from the Northern Ireland Milk Cup International Youth Football Tournament. Jonathan Xerri scored for Malta.
- The Malta Under-17 national team played its third match of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup International Tournament when they faced American opponents, San Francisco Seals and managed to win 4-2 on penalties after ending the match on a goalless draw.
The match was a balanced one, with both teams ending with ten men after Nathan Busuttil and Pedro Naranjo were sent off in the opening half.
Malta’s scorers from the penalty spot were Nathan Busuttil, Steven Bonnici, Miguel Ciantar and Sheldon Grech.
On Thursday, Malta meets Brussels, while the opponents on Friday will be County Armagh before the final placings are decided.
On Sunday 6th August the Malta Under-17 team will be playing their counterparts from the Republic of Ireland in a friendly international at Dalymount Park.
- A brace by Malta international striker Michael Mifsud gave Lillestrom a 2-0 win over leaders Brann Bergen.
Lillestrom move to six points behind the leaders but they still have a game in hand. Brann lead the way with 31 points from 15 matches. Lillestrom are second with 26 points from 14.
Mifsud put Lillestrom ahead on 82 minutes and doubled the score a minute later. This was Mifsud's fifth goal in fourteen league matches.
On Sunday, Lillestrom take on Viking away from home.
- The Sirens Football Nursery will be receiving applications to fill the post of Under-14 coach.
Interested applicants, who must have a minimum of an M.F.A. "C" License, are requested to call Mr. Edmund Mifsud on 79064296 for an appointment.
- Zurrieq F.C Youth Nursery are accepting applications from qualified coaches who will be responsible for training children.
Applications should be sent at: Zurrieq F.C Youth Nursery 30, Main Street Zurrieq, Malta For more information feel free to call on 79062941.
- No team claimed maximum points after the second round of matches in the Carlsberg Hibernians Tournament.
In the first game on Wednesday, hosts Hibernians shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Marsaxlokk.
The Paolites took the lead five minutes from time with a goal by Adrian Pulis but Daniel Bogdanovic was quick to notch the equaliser.
In another match, Pietà Hotspurs came from behind to beat Valletta 2-1.
The Citizens took an early lead thanks to Omar Sebastian Monesterolo after just eight minutes. Anatole Debono equalised ten minutes in the second half and Quilin Refalo notched the winner for Pietà sixteen minutes from time.
- The Malta national team played its first friendly match as part of the pre-season training camp which is being held in the Czech Republic. This forms part of the preparation in view of the season’s international commitments which start with a friendly match against Slovakia in a couple of weeks' time and the EURO 2008 qualifiers against Bosnia Herzegovina and Turkey in the first week of September.
On Tuesday, the MFA XI met Mlada Boleslav ‘B’. The Maltese had a good performance in the first half despite the heavy rain. The national team went close with a good Gilbert Agius freekick. Terence Scerri then concluded a good run with a fine shot and off the rebound, Dyson Falzon saw his shot again saved by the goalkeeper.
In the second half, Malta pressed more and got a goal two minutes from time when off a cross by Trevor Cilia, Andre Schembri rounded a defender and slotted the ball home.
Fitzel used the following players: Mario Muscat (Andrew Hogg), Ian Ciantar, Ian Azzopardi (Dyson Falzon), Gareth Sciberras (Peter Pullicino), Brian Said (Kenneth Scicluna), Luke Dimech, Kevin Sammut (Trevor Cilia), Claude Mattocks (Ivan Woods), Terrence Scerri (Andre Schembri), Gilbert Agius (Stefan Giglio), Jamie Pace (Roderick Bajada).
Another friendly match is in programme on August 8th at 17:30 against Bohemians Prague.
- A pre-season Referees' Seminar will be held at the Centenary Hall, Ta' Qali this week between Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th August.
This annual event, organised by the MFA Referees Board under the auspices of UEFA, will this year be conducted by Keith Hackett, a UEFA Referees Instructor.
The subjects covered in the seminar will be:
1. Amendments to the Laws of the Game 2006
2. Match Control - Management of the Free-kick
3. Determining Offside
4. Pre-match Talk
5. Reading the Game - Positioning
6. Relationship: Referees/Coaches
MFA President Dr Joe Mifsud will open the Seminar with an address to the participants at the Conference Hall of the Ta' Qali Technical Centre on Thursday at 18.00 hrs, followed by an introduction by Mr Tom A. Restall, Head Referees Department of the MFA.
- The Malta Under-17 National Team suffered two 3-0 defeats in the first two matches of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup 2006, a well-established and renowned International Youth Football Tournament which is being held between 30th July and 4th August.
On Monday, Malta lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich on Monday. Christoph Hasselmeier, Florian Elender and Yannick Kakoko scored the three goals for Bayern.
In the second match on Tuesday, Malta suffered another 3-0 defeat to Irish side County Londonderry.
- Nadur Youngsters FC Under 12 Team participated in the Gothia Cup 2006, in Gothenburg Sweden. The team did very well indeed, ending their adventure without losing a match, being eliminated only on penalties.
The team took part in Group 15 of the Boys 12 Category. Nadur won their group in style beating Stenungsunds IF (Sweden) 5-2, Moss FK (Norway) 6-0 and AIK Solna (Sweden) 6-0. In the secondnd round they faced Kista FC (Sweden) and emerged winners by 2-1 in a very interesting match. In round 3, the Youngsters met another Swedish team, Hovas-Billdal IF in a thrilling encounter. The Swedes were winning 2-0, with the Nadur side battling until they managed to draw level. Hovas took the lead again and Nadur equalized soon after. The penalties went in Hovas' way 4-2.
Before the tournament, Nadur Youngsters U12 also had a friendly match against a South African team, Crusaders FC, winning 5-4.
The team was made up of the following players: Luke Debono, Mario Cauchi, Marjohn Xuereb, Ian Mifsud, Peppi Mifsud, Nathan Portelli, Daniel Portelli, Christian Debono, Freddy Mifsud, Samuel Muscat, Kevin Mifsud and Matthew Muscat. The players were under the guidance on the Nadur Youngsters FC Nursery Manager, Joe Portelli, and Club officials Lucio Debono and Mario Pace.
In the Gothia Cup something like 1325 teams took part, with 33,000 players from all over the world. There were 4000 matches, with 13 teams being declared winners of their respective category. This was the second time the Youngsters U-12 took part in the Gothia Cup, the other occasion being the year 2000.