Newly-promoted Mosta FC will be aiming at retaining their Premier League status for the first time in the history of the club after missing out on this objective on previous occasions. This was revealed by president George Galea and coach Oliver Spiteri during the presentation of the club’s new signings for season 2011/12 at The George Hotel, St. Julian’s on Saturday.
President George Galea said that last season, the club had set promotion as their main objective. Something Mosta achieved after defeating Melita in a promotion decider. This time, the club will be aiming at going one step further and do something Mosta FC had failed to do in past – retain their Premier League status.
In their first season among the elite of Maltese football, in 1974/75, Mosta had ended their commitments at the bottom of the then Division 1. During 1987/88, Mosta finished eighth in the Premier League and then tenth in 2002/03. The closest they went to staying in the Premier League was during season 2005/06 when a dramatic 3-3 draw with Floriana condemned the Blues to Division 1.
Galea said the club managed to sign players who the committee believed will strengthen the squad. He said that playing in the top division will mean that there will be no easy match for Mosta but he believed the team was well prepared for this challenge and is confident that they can make it.
The Mosta president said that the good performances in the Gammari Muscat Mosta Tournament fills the committee and supporters with courage and appealed to supporters to back the team in this adventure.
George Galea thanked the sponsors namely Pricemark, Noel Vella of Noel Co Limited, 4 Homes Real Estate, V & C Costruction, Sixt, Dome Jewellers, Silverstar, Mosta Auto Dealer and The George Hotel. He also thanked the Malta Football Association for helping the club upgrade the Charles Abela Memorial Stadium to a state-of-the-art venue.
Mosta coach Oliver Spiteri said that following his appointment as coach three years ago, together with the committee, he had outlined a plan where the club had to make a return to the Premier League in three years’ time. After reaching this objective, his goal is to retain Premier League status at the end of the forthcoming season.
With the increase of the number of teams in the Premier League to twelve, this meant that at least one of the three teams promoted from Division 1 would stay in the top division at the season. Therefore chances were slightly better than in previous seasons.
Spiteri said that although the budget is limited considered to that of other Premier League clubs, Mosta still worked hard to sign the right players which would strengthen the various departments.
The Blues signed Luca Martinelli from Sliema Wanderers (on loan with Melita last season), Sheldon Grech from Pietà Hotspurs, Rudi Alhinho from Melita, Glenn Zammit from Marsaxlokk, Kurt Magro and Ian Zammit from Valletta. They retained Firas Aboulezz, Kenneth Spiteri and Nicola Bogdanovic and secured the services of another two foreigners namely twenty-year old Italian central defender Federico Tisbi and twenty-one year old Brazilian striker Diego Maradona Petriaggi.
Meanwhile a foreign midfielder has just arrived for a trial and could sign for the club before the Premier League debut against Marsaxlokk on Saturday.
Spiteri said the Mosta Nursery was one of the biggest sponsors for the club considering that eight players out of the twenty-one man squad are home-grown players who play an important role in the team.
The Mosta coach went on to thank his technical staff, namely his assistant Ramon Zammit, goalkeepers’ coach Clyde Vella, team manager Pieter Bregman and technical director Jeffrey Farrugia. Spiteri had particular words of praise for Farrugia saying he was suprised with his dedication and that he was doing a great job. He also thanked the players for working hard during the past six weeks of pre-season training.
Oliver Spiteri was then presented with the new Mosta FC shirt by Jeremy Muscat of main sponsor Pricemark.
Jeffrey Farrugia, who joined the club this summer after serving as team manager of Floriana, said joining Mosta was one of the best decisions he ever took in football. He said he was impressed with how the club worked so hard.
Farrugia said the club’s objective was that of retaining Premier League status and with the players at their disposal, the Blues could make it. He thanked players like Ian Zammit who opted to join a small club like Mosta despite being used to playing for a club that always challenged for honours.
Assistant coach and Nursery Head Coach Ramon Zammit explained that for the nursery both quantity and quality were important. He said that during this season, the number of children in the nursery is expected to rise to around three hundred and fifty. This meant that the Mosta nursery was attractive enough for these young players that they opted to move there. The nursery aimed at keeping children away from bad habits and sedentary lifestyle.
In order to have a stronger foundation, the nursery will emphasise on the technical, physical and mental levels of preparation at particular ages. Zammit revealed the Nursery will be setting-up an Academy within the nursery where nine to thirteen year olds will be given extra sessions in basic skills such as technique, co-ordination, agility, speed, etc.
The Nursery Head Coach announced plans that training will not only focus on football as giving particular importance to motor skills would also help children who later prefer to shift from football to another sport.
Zammit revealed that this season, he will be sharing his responsibilities with Herman Bugeja. He concluded by thanking nursery chairman Tony Meli and the twenty-eight coaches within the nursery’s technical staff.
Mosta FC vice-president Chris Grech explained works currently being held at the Charles Abela Stadium. He said the first phase of the project consisted of the installation of artificial turf and the building of the stand – a project undertaken by the government. The second phase of the project, which is being financed by the Malta Football Association and which will turn this venue into one of the regional stadiums which will host Second and Third Division football, included the building of dressing rooms for the teams playing there and another one for the club’s teams, the installation of glass panels to separate supporters from the field of play and the installation of turnstiles.
Grech concluded by thanking the government and the Malta Football Association, in particular Norman Darmanin Demajo and Bjorn Vassallo, for their support, saying the club has in all benefited from €1 million of works at the stadium.