The BOV Premier League campaign 2014/15 kicks-off on Saturday with the first four matches – two at the National Stadium and two at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
A Premier League campaign which brings a change in the format as although points will be divided at the end of the second round, teams will not be divided into a Championship Pool and a Relegation Pool but all teams will play a third round against eachother.
Not many local players were involved in the transfer market but a number of clubs made wholesale changes with regards to foreigners.
Tarxien Rainbows vs Sliema Wanderers, kick-off 18:30 at National Stadium
In the first match at the National Stadium, a completely new Tarxien Rainbows side take on Sliema Wanderers.
Tarxien were the most active side in the transfer market this summer, signing no less than thirteen new players, retaining just five players from last season’s squad. They secured the services of Jonathan Debono from Mqabba, Sean Cini from Vittoriosa, Matthew Tabone and Triston Caruana from Hibernians, Alex Cini and Kane Farrugia from Mosta, Owen Bugeja from Qormi, Firas Abulezz from Balzan and Manuel Xerri from Xewkija, apart from Brazilians Wesley Pipico, Alvaro Silva, Clebinho and Alessandro Lopes.
The Wanderers, on the other hand, secured the services of Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Marko Potezica, Michael Mifsud and Andrea Pisanu. The Italian striker will hopefully make up for the void left by influential Nigerian striker Stanley Ohawuchi who has now joined Wadi Degla in Egypt. Other new signings include goalkeeper Daniel Balzan from Hibernians and Peter Xuereb from San Gwann.
Floriana vs Hibernians, kick-off 20:30 at National Stadium
In the second match, Floriana take on Hibernians.
The Greens confirmed Giovanni Tedesco as coach but changed almost all foreigners apart from Igor Coronado and Gary Muir, signing Matteo Piciollo from Italy, Vito Plut from Slovenia and Marcelina Emerson from Brazil. They secured the services of BOV Third Division top scorer Giovanni Galea. Other new signings are Steve Bonnici formerly of Tarxien and young Rabat goalkeeper Andrew Zammit.
The Paolites, on the other hand, captured Jorge Pereira da Silva from Qormi and goalkeeper Henry Bonello from Sliema. They had earlier signed defender Rui Fernando da Gracia and welcomed back Rodolfo Soares and Marcelo Dias. Obinna Obiefule is no longer with the club while Jean Paul Farrugia is set to join Spartak Trnava in Slovakia.
For Floriana, Steve Pisani is ruled out through suspension.
Birkirkara vs Pietà Hotspurs, kick-off 18:30 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Fresh from winning the BOV Super Cup, Birkirkara take on newly-promoted Pietà Hotspurs in the first match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
The Stripes will rely on Brazilian trio Eliandro, Liliu and Rafael Ledesma in attack as Frank Temile, Shola Shodiya and Jhonnattann Benites are no longer with the club. Edmond Agius joined the club from Valletta and Leighton Grech is back with the club from Qormi. However this summer they lost Rowen Muscat to Dunaujvaros in Hungary.
The Hotspurs, on the other hand, have a new foreign line-up as they signed Brazilians Leonardo Fortunato, Rafael Rodriguez, Joao Gabriel da Silva and Rafael Xavier and Argentine Claudio Frances. Other new arrivals are Melita’s Luke Micallef and Rabat’s Malcolm Licari.
Balzan vs Zebbug Rangers, kick-off 20:45 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
In the second match, Balzan take the other newly-promoted side Zebbug Rangers.
After appointing Oliver Spiteri as their new coach, Balzan signed Clive Brincat from Marsaxlokk, Samir Arab and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza from Valletta, goalkeepers Steve Sultana from Qormi and Christian Cassar from Hibernians and foreigners Oscar Guerrero, Elkin Serrano and Gianmarco Piccioni. Arab and Brincat are however ruled out through suspension.
Zebbug, on the other hand, secured the services of Spanish defender Javi Diaz Serrano, Argentine midfielder Matias Muchardi and Miguel Ciantar from Sliema Wanderers. Yessous Camilleri re-joins the club on loan from Valletta. Obinna Obiefule, who was due to join the club, is moving to Saudi Arabia.