Hibernians skipper Andrew Cohen received the most sought after individual football award in Malta, as the MFPA Best Player award for the season 2014/15. On the other hand, Valletta starlet Hamza Barry won the MFPA Young Player award. These prestigious awards were announced during the annual MFPA Awards Ceremony, held at the Hilton Malta Hotel.
At the event organized by the Malta Football Players Association, players from the Premier League, coaches, former players and VIP guests, Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius and Hon. David Agius, attended the event to celebrate and award the protagonists of the 2014/15 Maltese football season.
Andrew Cohen was a worthy winner of the main award as his technique, goals and top-notch performances helped Hibernians dominate the Premier League.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina
The three other finalists were teammates Edison Dos Santos Tarabai, who is now playing in South Korea, and Jorge Da Silva Pereira and also Naxxar’s Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro.
Andrew Cohen was delighted and could not hide his emotions when his name was announced, recognised by his opponents and peers as the best player in Malta. The award was presented by former Malta and Valletta star, Gilbert Agius.
Being voted as Best Young Player, Hamza Barry confirmed his qualities and potential, and one could easily say that even at this young age he is one of the best foreign players in Malta. The ex-Sliema Wanderers and National Team midfielder Noel Turner presented the award.
Both players thanked the MFPA, the players who voted for them and their respective families for the support during this tough season.
The MFPA Merit Award is given for meritorious service to the Maltese football. This year’s winner was Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro, former football commentator and presenter. Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro is considered as the founder of local football nurseries and is an official of the Malta Youth FA.
Addressing the guests after receiving the award, Fr. Tagliaferro thanked the MFPA for the initiative, but was very critical to the fact that clubs want an increase in number of foreigner players. Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius presented this award.
The MFPA Best XI awards were presented by ex-National Team players. Ernest Barry presented the Best Goalkeeper, Silvio Vella presented the Best Defenders, Joe Brincat the Best Midfielders and Joe Zarb the Best Strikers.
Carlo Mamo in his role of General Secretary of the players association, addressed the crowd highlighting the achievements and future plans of the MFPA, and thanked the executive committee, players, MFPA club delegates, journalists and sponsors. He also thanked MFA officials for bringing forward the players status reform proposal but had harsh words on the fact that the increase in number of foreigner players is on the agenda. Mr. Mamo stated that this is harmful to the National team and will reduce the opportunities for Maltese players.
This year three new awards have been introduced, Alan Mario Sant has been chosen as Best Referee presented by former referee Lorry Sammut, Branko Nisevic as Best Coach presented by former National coach Pippo Psaila and Ariel Laudisi as Best First Division Player presented by Leonard Farrugia, former Malta National Team and Valletta FC striker.
Edison Dos Santos Tarabai, who joined South Korean team Seoul ELand a few weeks ago from newly crowned Maltese Champions Hibernians, sent a video message and was screened during the event. The Brazilian thanked the MFPA and all the players who voted for him and encouraged players to work hard and respect everyone, promising that one day he will return to Malta.
The MFPA presented a donation to Puttinu Cares, a foundation that helps sick children and their families. Top local band Red Electrick entertained the crowed during the break. The event was presented by Sarah Agius and Rodney Vassallo. A reception followed after the awards ceremony.
The event will be aired on TVM in the near future.
The full list of winners from the MFPA Awards 2014/15 was:
Best Player: Andrew Cohen (Hibernians)
Best Young Player: Hamza Barry (Valletta)
Merit Award: Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro (MYFA)
Best 1st Division Player: Ariel Laudisi (Pembroke)
Best Coach: Branko Nisevic (Hibernians)
Best Referee: Alan Mario Sant
The MFPA announced also the team of the year as voted by the players.
The MFPA Best XI were:
Goalkeeper: Henry Bonello (Hibernians)
Wing Backs: Zach Muscat (Birkirkara), Clayton Failla (Hibernians)
Central Defenders: Nikola Vukanac (Birkirkara), Rodolfo Soares
(Hibernians), Andrei Agius (Hibernians)
Midfielders: Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Andrew Cohen (Hibernians), Gilmar
Da Silva Ribeiro (Naxxar) Strikers: Bojan Kaljevic (Balzan), Edison Dos Santos Tarabai (Hibernians)