Hibernians and Vittoriosa Stars will be joining League Championship side Sheffield United in a triangular tournament – the JPL Cisk Lager Cup at the Hibernians Stadium on Friday, kick-off at 19:30.
The first game will be between Hibs and Vittoriosa. At 20:30, the loser of the first game will meet Sheffield United while the Blades will face the winner of the clash between Hibs and Vittoriosa in the third and final game at 21:30. In case of a draw, penalty-kicks decide the winner.
Three points will be awarded for a win at the end of the 45 minutes, two points for a win on penalties and one point for a defeat after the penalty shoot-out.
For newly-promoted Vittoriosa, this tournament will be a historic event since this will be the first time, the club is facing a foreign club while for the Paolites, this will be an opportunity to face foreign opposition after missing out on European football this summer.
For the Blades, Malta international striker Daniel Bogdanovic should be in action after joining the club earlier this summer from Barnsley where he had spent the last eighteen months.
Meanwhile on Wednesday evening, Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell and the squad took time off from a busy training schedule in Malta to make an appearance at the beach BBQ set up for the Blades travelling support. The event was hosted at the St Georges Bay private beach, which is operated by the five-star InterContinental Hotel.
Presenting Blades fans with a true taste of the Mediterranean lifestyle, St Georges Bay is one of the island’s most popular locations in cosmopolitan St Julian’s. The supporters used the opportunity to get autographs from the United squad, before taking in the vibrant atmosphere that was created against the stunning beachside backdrop.
Sheffield United Group Executive Director Mike Farnan has been a driving force behind the supporter activities. Farnan said: “Our main objective was to create a relaxing atmosphere where Sheffield United fans could enjoy meeting the players at a spectacular location in Malta.
“The event is an extension of our pre-season tour theme of ‘football in the sun’ which has been set up to give our supporters closer access to the players. It’s proving a great opportunity for the supporters to merge their footballing passion with the chance to visit the many attractions the island has to offer. The combination of football and sun is no doubt a football fan’s dream.”
The Beach BBQ provided a timely reunion for eight Maltese children. Early in the year the club’s sponsor Malta Tourism Authority had organised for the group of underprivileged kids to visit Sheffield United’s stadium and training facilities. The children renewed their Sheffield United links by meeting the players at the private beach gathering.
On Friday evening the children have been invited to be the official mascots for the tournament between the Blades and Maltese Premiership opposition.
The Blades beach event also offered a fitting occasion for the club to pay tribute to the newly formed Sheffield United Supporters Club in Malta. Sheffield United Chairman Kevin McCabe presented their founder Jurgen Carl Grixti with an engraved crystal football. In return Kevin McCabe received a commemorative plaque. Richard Cresswell was also presented with a 2009-2010 Player of the Year award as voted by the Sheffield United Supporters Club Malta.
Jurgen Carl Grixti said: “Sheffield United Supporters Club Malta was set up by a group of Maltese students. We are very proud of the fact that such a high profile football club from England are sponsored by our country.
“It has been an unbelievable experience to be invited to meet Kevin McCabe and the Sheffield United squad. We now feel a part of the Blades family and hope more Maltese football fans are encouraged to join our club.”
The Sheffield United Supporters Club Malta has been set-up recently. Those interested in joining the supporters club should phone 98120590 or visit the website http://sufcmalta.weebly.com/