After a rather disappointing Premier League campaign last season during which they struggled until the very end to retain their status, Tarxien Rainbows will be aiming at securing their Premier League status as early as possible, hoping for a top-six finish.
This year’s campaign was off to a most promising start as they defeated Sliema Wanderers 2-0, held Birkirkara and Balzan in draws.
Addressing a press conference, two days before the derby against Hibernians, president Tony Cassar said this was the eighth consecutive season for the club in the Premier League. He said the team was strengthened with eight Maltese players and eight foreigners but the club is still focussed on trying to bring up young players from the nursery.
As a coach, Cassar said the club had appointed Jacques Scerri who had led Pembroke Athleta to promotion from the Third Division to the Second Division and from the First Division to the Premier League.
The team was strengthened with the signing of Andrea Cassar on a three-year deal, Ayrton Azzopardi on a five-year deal, Brandon Muscat, Timothy Tabone Desira and Darren Sciberras on loan from Hibernians, Daniel Zerafa on loan from Birkirkara, Luke Montebello on loan from Valletta, Gaetano Gesualdi who played for International Leipzig in Germany last season and foreigners Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Ebiabowei Baker, Anderson Raimundo da Silva, Danilo Meira Santos, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos, Alex da Paixão Alves, Ren Mizugashira and Lucky Omeruo.
Tarxien Rainbows secretary Kevin Bonavia said that after last season’s campaign, the club had to make radical changes. Jacques Scerri was appointed as the new coach after being offered a three year deal while Gregory Degabriele and Ryan Pulis were appointed as his assistants. He said in the transfer campaign, the new coach opted for younger players eager for success and experienced foreigners.
He thanked the supporters for their backing and Cassar Ship Repair for their sponsorship without which this would have not been possible.
Jacques Scerri thanked the committee for offering him the opportunity to lead the team and for building a competitive side which could challenge any team in the Premier League. He said that for him this was a big challenge but since this was a long-term project, they opted for some of the most promising youngsters while retaining valid players who were already at the club and had given their contribution over the past years. He said the club worked hard to strengthen the squad with experienced foreigners who could support the younger players and give the team the necessary boost.
The Tarxien coach said the club’s main objective is that of securing Premier League status for another season as early as possible. He said the team had a better start than they had expected and saw that despite the several new faces, the fact that the players worked really hard in the pre-season and gave their full commitment, they managed to achieve positive results. Scerri stressed that they will stay with their feet on the ground and continue to work harder as this was just the beginning.
Jacques Scerri finally thanked his assistants Degabriele and Pulis, team manager Anton Tabone and kit manager Matthew Tabone. He also thanked the supporters for welcoming them at the club and making them feel at home.