Swieqi United FC launched the 2017/18 season with a Business Lunch for its staff, players, corporate sponsors and guests at the Cavalieri Art Hotel, St. Julian’s on Saturday.
Swieqi United FC president Dr Justin Fenech said that the club had come quite a long way since it was founded in 2009. He said that when creating the logo, the club wanted to establish its identity. He explained that the blue and orange were derived from the blue, red and yellow on the Swieqi crest, the owl represented the University students who were behind the formation of the club while the three stars represented the three localities within Swieqi – Swieqi, Tal-Ibraġ and Madliena, adding that the project was aimed at bringing the locality together through sport.
Dr Fenech said that the objectives remained valid till today but now they aimed at giving more value to these objectives. He said that the orange reminds how Swieqi United are trying to do a revolution in Maltese football, the owl represented the wisdom needed to run a sustainable club and the three stars represented the principles of education, innovation and the community.
The Swieqi United president spoke about a number of initiatives being taken by the club including the launch of a Club Philosophy document; a strategy for goalkeeper training and development to support further the technical structure which already includes a head coach, assistant coach and a physio for each category and performance analysis.
Dr Justin Fenech went on to explain that since last season, Andrea Vella was appointed as full-time academy director, an insurance for all players will be introduced through Mapfre Middlesea, a technical sponsorship agreement was reached with Go Sport – representatives of Nike, a lifestyle card will be introduced, a magazine will be launched and a company – SUFC Enterprises Ltd will be established to create business for the club. He explained that the club is hoping to switch from amateur status to semi-professional.
Among the targets for the coming season is the introduction of the curriculum for the academy which should provide learning outcomes for parents and kids to know what they are getting; integration of girls and futsal within the Academy and the search for bigger facilities. The Swieqi United FC president said that with the vision the club had and with their effort, the club aims for a multi-sport project.
Vice-president Dr Michael Calleja said that rather than just individual development, Swieqi United focused on collective development. He said that the IASC and Futsal team were set up to give more playing opportunities for their players. He went on to stress on the importance of ‘the team behind the team’ by investing in coaching staff and said that the club only gets players who fit the club philosophy – character and behavior before talent.
Senior team coach Billy Mock said the team will be aiming at securing their Second Division status as early as possible as the fact that there were several youth players involved in the senior squad, they ended up playing twice a week.
Women’s team coach Keith Gouder said that after winning the Second Division championship, the squad has been strengthened with seven new players. The team aims for a top-five finish and a place in the Knock-Out semi-finals.
Youths and IASC team coach Rodney Bugeja, Futsal senior team coach Boycho Marev and Futsal Under-21 coach Kenneth Fiteni also addressed those present.
Academy Director Andrea Vella said that in the past four years, the Swieqi United Academy had achieved a lot and gained respect from all. He said that four years ago, a number of targets were set – some were reached and others were not and that now was the time to focus on another four-year plan. Among the objectives, apart from the launch of the curriculum for the Academy, was the uniform style of play at all levels; the continuous development of coaching staff – also through coach exchange programme and peer learning and the launch of the Women and Futsal Academy.
Other speakers were vice-president Dr Robert Dingli, Dylan Micallef, Timmy GIngell, Jeffrick Cachia, Swieqi Mayor Noel Muscat, former MFA vice-president and Senior Consultant to the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Dr Chris Bonett and former NEC coach Peter Hyballa.
The club’s sponsors for the coming season are: Global Tech, Taxify, bit8, Matching Visions, Noel Muscat Group, Da Vinci Hospital, Logix, Untangled Media and Go Sport.