Valletta presented their new technical staff for season 2010/11 during a press conference which was held at the club premises on Saturday. The technical staff will be made up of coach Jesmond Zerafa, assistant coach Nardu Farrugia and team manager Jesmond Zammit and will be replacing Dutch coach Ton Caanen and team manager Nicky Saliba.
For Jesmond Zerafa and Nardu Farrugia, this will be a return to the club with which they spent most of their career with as players.
Zerafa, who had earlier coached Tarxien Rainbows, spent the last three years with Qormi as coach/team manager. However in April, his job was terminated after he failed to commit himself with the club for next season. Farrugia coached mainly at youth level and in lower divisions while Zammit spent the last few years as coach of Dingli Swallows bringing them from Division 2 up to the Premier League.
Addressing the media, Valletta president Victor Sciriha said that the committee has been working in view of the coming season for a number of weeks now and is determined that the club will not commit mistakes, they made last season.
He said that with the appointment of the new technical staff, there is more “Valletta blood” within the club due to the presence of two former Valletta players. He said this was something which should be of greater motivation for the players themselves.
Sciriha said the committee will continue working hard to achieve its objectives. He said that over the past season, it was only the particular format of the Premier League which put them in second place behind Birkirkara, despite winning the same number of games, obtaining the same number of draws and having a better record in terms of goals scored and goals conceded.
The Valletta president also said he believed there was something irregular in a particular league match over which he asked both the MFA and Police to investigate.
Finally Sciriha thanked the Supporters Club – which he described as the club’s biggest sponsor, Giovanni Cappitta who is the club’s main sponsor, former team manager Nicky Saliba and Jesmond Zerafa for accepting his offer to take over as the new Valletta coach.
New Valletta coach Jesmond Zerafa said that accepting to become coach of Valletta for him meant that he was paying something back to the club which made him a player, gave him fame and thought him discipline. He said he felt obliged to pay back the club for the faith they showed in him.
Zerafa said that it was of great pleasure to return with the club after eight years when he was assistant coach to the then Valletta coach Krassmir Manolov. He thanked Nardu Farrugia and Jesmond Zammit for accepting his offer to join the technical staff.
The new Valletta coach said that to win the championship, one had to work diligently. He said that they had to believe in themselves, in particular players as it was only that way that the targets could be achieved. Zerafa said he does not feel any particular pressure, saying that the players who will be at his disposal and the club’s structure will provide the right environment for him. He stressed that discipline will be a key element.
As regards the transfer market, Jesmond Zerafa said the club was close to signing a number of players and that Valletta’s transfer market was more based on quality rather than quantity. Sciriha revealed that the new signings will include two Maltese players and three or four foreigners. Should Njongo Priso leave the club, he could be replaced by Omonigho Temile, brother of Frank Temile. A Brazilian striker who played in the Brazilian top division will arrive in Malta on Monday.
The club has not yet decided which of the players who were on loan with other clubs will be retained this season, except for Massimo Grima, Jonathan Bondin and David Camilleri whose contract with the club expired. Zerafa said that such decisions will be taken after the UEFA Europa League games.
Meanwhile assistant coach Nardu Farrugia thanked Victor Sciriha and Jesmond Zerafa for offering him to take the post. He said he was proud to take this job and said he was hoping that sometime, he would return to the club which loved him and respected him. Farrugia said that he is looking forward for the coming season and that with unity between the committee, players and supporters, the club’s objectives could be achieved.
Training under the new technical staff has already started and between June 14th and 18th, the squad will be travelling to Gozo for a training camp.
The team will be in action on June 21, 23 and 25 in the Euro Cup in view of the UEFA Europa League commitments on July 15 and 22.