Sliema Wanderers present new signings

Sliema Wanderers presented the seven new players in their squad as they start the second year of a three-year plan on which the club embarked last season.
Sliema Wanderers president Steve Abela said that the first year was a big challenge for the club. A challenging year during which they managed to win two major honours – the U*BET FA Trophy and the BOV Super Cup together with the trophy marking the club’s hundredth anniversary after winning the Sliema Wanderers Centennial Cup – a mini-tournament played against Sheffield Wednesday and Birkirkara. 
Abela said that the club’s objective is now to move a step further. He said that the committee believed that the new signings strengthened the team enough and that it is now up to the technical staff and players to achieve these targets.
Besides Josef Mifsud, Clayton Failla, Ryan Fenech, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza and the returning Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, the club has two new foreigners – Brazilian goalkeeper Michael Gustavo Siscoutto Lima and German striker Henry Isaac. The latter had started the season with Vittoriosa Stars.
The Sliema president revealed that the Tigne complex is nearing completion as the artificial turf pitch has been laid. In the coming weeks, the government is expected to hand over the complex to the club on a long-term lease. The complex, which forms part of MIDI’s Tigne Point project, will include an 11-a-side football pitch on the roof of a shopping complex, two indoor pitches, dressing rooms, meeting rooms for the committee and technical staff and a bar.
Steve Abela said the club was looking forward to returning to Tigne as this meant that the Wanderers would be “returning home” after a ten-year absence. He said all Sliema teams – from the senior side to the nursery teams – would be training there. The football pitch will only be used as a training ground and not as a stadium due to its location in a premium residential area.
The Wanderers president revealed that the nursery is undergoing a restructuring process, both in terms of technical staff and coaches and administration. He said the club wanted to build on the nursery’s past successes in order to make it once again the leading nursery. With the Sliema nursery also returning to Tigne, he said he hoped the Wanderers would be able to bring back Sliema children who moved to other nurseries while the Sliema nursery was based at the University Grounds.
Sliema mayor Nicky Dimech announced that as part of the local council’s project to give due recognition to all Sliema sports clubs and associations for their successes, a presentation will be held on Tuesday at the club’s premises.
Meanwhile Sliema Wanderers coach Stephen Azzopardi said that the temporary suspension of the BOV Premier League definitely disrupted the training programmes of all clubs, especially due to the fact that it was not clear when the competition was due to resume. 
However his main complaint was on the fact that the Council of the Malta Football Association voted in favour of delaying the Premier League programme by two weeks meaning that there will be two programmes of matches in December and January during what was due to be a two-week break for Christmas and the New Year. Azzopardi said that this decision meant that the players would have no break at all during the season, after having just a one-week break in summer due to the early kick-off of European competitions.
Sliema president Steve Abela, on the other hand, said that national coach John Buttigieg and his assistant Carmel Busuttil turned down a request by the club to discuss the issue of national team players’ training which is held three times a week, therefore disrupting clubs’ preparation. He said they were only ready to meet the Sliema coach to discuss the matter.