Ray Zazu Farrugia has been appointed as the new coach of the Malta national team. This was announced by MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo during a press conference at the Centenary Hall on Wednesday.
Darmanin Demajo said that the decision was taken unanimously by the MFA Executive Committee during a meeting held earlier on Wednesday. The MFA President said that the term of the contract is yet to be discussed and that the two parties will be meeting soon to discuss who will be the members of his technical staff.
“I’m proud and honoured to be appointed national coach,” Farrugia told www.mfa.com.mt.
“This has been my lifelong ambition and I’m naturally delighted to have been given the privilege to lead my country. I’d like to thank the Malta FA for the faith they have shown in me. I will be giving my all to repay this trust and take our national team forward.”
“I’m aware of the scale of the task awaiting me as this is a very delicate period for our national team but with hard work, dedication and the backing of all the stakeholders, the players, technical staff, clubs, officials and supporters, I believe that we can improve.”
Farrugia has been a member of the MFA technical staff for several years, serving as Under-21 national coach and lately as assistant coach to both Pietro Ghedin and Tom Saintfiet. He had also served as assistant to another two Malta coaches – Josip Ilic and Sigi Held.
He was first appointed Malta Under-21 coach in 1998 and spent four years, until 2002 and was re-appointed as Under-21 coach in 2011 and served until 2014. At club level, Farrugia coached Naxxar Lions, Pietà Hotspurs and Sliema Wanderers.
In fact, the MFA Executive Committee agreed on the choice of Farrugia as national coach since he has been serving as part of the MFA technical sector for a number of years and therefore knows the local game and local players well.
The MFA President explained that the decision to terminate the contract of Tom Saintfiet was taken as had not given the reassurances requested by the association following reports that he had applied for the job of national coach of Cameroon just six months after taking the job of Malta national coach.
Ray Farrugia’s first commitments with the national team will be in the training camp in Austria which will be held later this month and in the beginning of June where Malta will be playing friendly matches against Armenia and Georgia. On the other hand, the first competitive matches will be played in September as Malta plays the first match against the Faroe Islands in the UEFA Nations League. Apart from the Faroe Islands, Malta will be facing Azerbaijan and Kosovo in the competition.