Malta goalkeeper Justin Haber will spend the next season and a half with Ferencváros after signing an eighteen-month contract with the Hungarian giants. This was revealed during a press conference which was held in Mellieha on Tuesday.
Ferencváros are currently in Malta on a two-week training camp during which they will be playing a number of friendly matches. The team is currently preparing for the second phase of the Hungarian league. After winning the Second Division League comfortably last season, Fradi are currently eleventh with seventeen points from fifteen matches.
The first friendly match for Ferencváros in Malta will be against the Malta Under-21 side on Wednesday at the MFA Training Grounds, Ta’ Qali. On Thursday, they will be taking part in a triangular tournament with Hamrun Spartans and Mosta at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. Ferencváros will then play a friendly match against a Gozo selection on Saturday at the Gozo Stadium while the final game will be against Sliema Wanderers on Tuesday at the MFA Training Grounds.
Justin Haber had already played for Ferencváros in the first part of the season, joining them on loan from Sheffield United. His contract with the Blades was due to expire at the end of this season but thanks to this new deal, he will be playing for the Hungarian side until the end of season 2010/11.
Haber said that this was one of the happiest days in his career as Ferencváros were making his dream – that of signing for a big club – come true. He is prepared to fight for the number 1 shirt at the club – something he has already done in his first spell with Fradi earlier this season, saying that this will be his main challenge.
A return to the national team is another objective for the former Floriana, Birkirkara and Marsaxlokk goalkeeper who has also played for SK Dobrudzha in Bulgaria, US Quevilly in France and Royal Excelsior Virton in Belgium.
“The national team shirt was ‘stolen’ from me. Therefore I want to show that I deserve to be there,” said Haber.
“My goal in football is to win a major trophy with a foreign club – something no other local player has done. I hope that I will be able to achieve this with Ferencváros,” concluded Haber.
Ferencváros chief executive Krisztián Berki said the team was glad to be here. He thanked Malta for the hospitality and for the perfect organisation, saying this training camp will hopefully prove successful in view of the rest of the season.
Joint Managing Director Dave McCarthy revealed the details regarding the friendly matches the team will be playing and the community events, Ferencváros are taking part in. After taking part in the training session at the Marsa Sports Grounds last Saturday, players and officials will be visiting Dar tal-Providenza on Monday. Players themselves will be making individual donations to the institution.
Group Executive Director Mike Farnan said that by bringing Ferencváros to Malta, the Malta Tourism Authority was making a strategic move as this training camp was exposing the country as a new destination for Hungarian tourists. Ferencváros are believed to have around 1.5 million supporters in a country with a population of ten million.
Mike Farnan thanked Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa, the MTA and the Maltese people in general for being warm and welcoming.
Meanwhile Ferencváros Head Coach Craig Short, who took over as new manager towards the end of the year, said this appointment was a huge challenge for him and is now looking forward to the resumption of the competition. He said that he aimed at strengthening the squad with more experienced players.
Director of Football Ron Reid, who also joined the club a few weeks ago, spoke in detail about the team’s preparation. Reid said during this training camp, they were trying to build a programme around the methodology on how players are to approach games. He said that his first job was to win the players’ respect. Players were responding very positively to the new method of training being employed. Reid said that after this training camp, the main objective was to transfer what they were doing here to the field of play.
Chairman Kevin McCabe thanked the Maltese for their hospitality. He said the club’s main objectives was to climb further up the table while strengthening the team in view of next season. The academy has also been restructured as in the very near future, Ferencváros aim at being at the top in Hungary.