New Malta national coach Pietro Ghedin was officially presented during a press conference at the Centenary Hall, Ta’ Qali.
MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said that although the appointment of a national coach usually causes a stir, this was not the case in the appointment of Pietro Ghedin as from the feedback he got, many agreed with his appointment, considering it a “case of continuation.”
In fact, Ghedin had coached the Malta Under-21 side in the early nineties before taking over as senior national team coach in 1993. In 24 matches as Malta coach between 1993 and 1995, Ghedin led the team to four wins and five draws.
“We know him and he knows us. Usually a new national coach takes time to get to know the team and the players. However Pietro Ghedin is at an advantage as he already knows us well. He is a friend who is coming back. We know his qualities, he has good communication skills and knows the game well after gaining experience with Italy. Above all, Pietro Ghedin always had a disciplined rapport,” said Darmanin Demajo.
The MFA President stressed the association’s objectives for the coming 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.
“We have to honour our fixtures with maximum commitment and will to win. The Executive Committee has full trust in Pietro Ghedin and I am sure he will not let us down.”
Pietro Ghedin said he was honoured to be back in Malta as national coach. He thanked the association for showing faith in him and said his task was now to show he deserved the job.
When asked about what he had to offer since his departure in 1994, he said he had gained considerable experience in two World Cups, two European cups and two Olympic Games with Italy. In fact, Ghedin was appointed as assistant coach of the Italian national team with coach Cesare Maldini for the 1998 World Cup campaign, with Dino Zoff for the EURO 2000 and finally with Giovanni Trapattoni for the 2002 World Cup and EURO 2004. He then led the Olympic team in the Mediterranean Games before being appointed as women’s national team coach in 2005.
He said that there was not much difference between coaching men and women, technically and tactically, apart from strength. The years he spent within the Italian national teams sector has helped him gain experience and become more mature.
Ghedin revealed that a few years ago, he had received an offer by former MFA President Dr Joe Mifsud. An offer which he did not feel like accepting. However after being approached by Bjorn Vassallo and Norman Darmanin Demajo, he was convinced by their offer and felt he could not say no.
The Italian coach said he has matured more and will do whatever possible for Malta to do well.
Ghedin said that although Malta is a small country, things have improved over the years and in football, what counts is the hard work – the willingness to do well and never giving up.
The new Malta national coach said that it was of utmost importance to have more competition between players for a place in the team.
As regards the amount of training players will be having with the national team, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said the association is discussing with clubs on when players would be available. A training programme would be presented before the new season kicks-off.
“In the absence of a full-time professsional system within Premier League clubs, we believe that by having players at Ta’ Qali (training with the national team), clubs themselves will benefit. We believe that by training with the national team, players would be receiving the best preparation possible,” said Darmanin Demajo.
The MFA President stressed there should be no rivalry between clubs and the national team and both parties should work hand in hand. Ghedin agreed, saying there should be complete synergy between clubs and the national team.
“We should decide and work together as we are all working for the same objective,” said Ghedin.
Pietro Ghedin is not particularly worried about Malta’s opponents in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Armenia). He said the most important thing was to be confident of having worked hard, have no fear and leave the field of play with heads held up high. It was his task to work with the players in order to get the best out of them.
Finally Darmanin Demajo thanked Technical Director Robert Gatt who assumed the role of caretaker coach over the past months and FIGC president Giancarlo Abete for releasing Ghedin from his contract.
Pietro Ghedin also thanked Giancarlo Abete for giving him the opportunity to take the job as Malta national team coach by releasing him from his contract as Italy women’s national team coach which was due to expire on July 31.
The first outing for the national team is a friendly match against Luxembourg on June 2 away from home. Another away fixture is a friendly against San Marino on August 14 before Malta plays its first two World Cup qualifiers in September – against Armenia at Ta’ Qali and against Italy away from home.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA