Valletta presented their new signings and unveiled a new sponsor during a press conference which was held at the Le Meridien St. Julian’s on Monday.
After finishing as runner-up in the BOV Premier League and winning the U*BET FA Trophy, the club did its best to strengthen the squad for the coming season. The Citizens signed four new players, namely Brazilians Ramon Dos Santos and Denni Rocha Dos Santos and Nigerians Omonigho Temile and Joseph Okonkwo. Except for Temile, the other three players joined Valletta from other local clubs – Ramon from Qormi, Denni from Tarxien and Okonkwo from Dingli. The other two new recruits are Jonathan Caruana and Ian Azzopardi who join the club from Hibernians and Sliema Wanderers respectively.
The technical staff is made up of coach Jesmond Zerafa, assistant coach Nardu Farrugia and team-manager Jesmond Zammit.
Valletta coach Jesmond Zerafa said that the squad was strengthened considerably in order for the team to be among the main challengers for honours. He said the squad was already strong but just by having good players was not enough to win the championship. The Valletta coach said that the team worked hard over the past three months and is now well-prepared for the coming BOV Premier League campaign.
Jesmond Zerafa says he does not feel any pressure as the players at his disposal make it easy for him. He launched an appeal to players to do their part, respecting themselves and Valletta supporters. The Valletta coach says the team has what it takes to win the championship. However he admits that this season, the Premier League will be a very difficult competition. Zerafa praised the players for being disciplined and staying calm in their Super Cup success.
Vice-president Paul Spiteri announced that the club will have two main sponsors this season – Mare Blu Tuna Farms and Faceworks. Spiteri thanked Giovanni Cappitta of Mare Blu, who is also a vice-president of the club, for his continuous support to president Victor Sciriha and for being a big asset for the club. This will be the third season for Mare Blu as main sponsor of Valletta.
Famalco Group will be the other main sponsor of the club through Faceworks Ltd – a company specialising in excavation and demolition services for the construction industry. Famalco Group had already sponsored Valletta FC during season 2007/08 through Fapi Motors and Cadillac. Speaking on behalf of the company, chief financial officer David Gauci said that on that occasion, Valletta had lifted the Premier League trophy and hopefully, Valletta will win the title once again. He said that for the company, support to local sport was not just a marketing initiative but a way of supporting the community as sport strengthened the physical and mental health.
Valletta FC president Victor Sciriha said this was the fourth season at the helm of the club. He said he is proud to be the president of Valletta as the club has the most passionate and demanding fans on the island. Sciriha said that with the new players at the disposal of coach Jesmond Zerafa, Valletta has all it takes to reach their objectives. More Valletta blood was injected in the technical staff and the squad.
He thanked main sponsors Mare Blu and Faceworks and the other sponsors, namely Heat, Browns, Passalacqua, Powerade, Gato Negro, Shark and Le Meridien St. Julian’s.
The Valletta president said that by the end of the month, the club will hopefully sign the agreement for the large piece of land in ?al-Farru? where Valletta will be building their stadium. Sciriha said that if this project is planned to perfection, the club could be self-financed through it.
The club’s professional scheme has been retained with the players training twice on Mondays and Tuesdays, have a day off on Wednesday and then have one evening session on Thursdays and Fridays and another one on Sundays, unless they play on the day. With changes to the current national team training system expected to change in the coming days, national team physical trainer Luca Pagani will be still visiting the clubs to assess the physical condition of players.
Commenting on the league format, vice-president Paul Spiteri said that as a club, they preferred a Premier League with ten clubs played on a three-round league basis. However the other Premier clubs prefer a Premier League with twelve clubs. Discussions on the league format are expected to be carried out in the coming weeks as the new MFA administration aims at having a new format in place as from season 2011/12.
Also present for the press conference was Ricky Reeves who is the club’s new administrative consultant.
Meanwhile Valletta will be presenting the squad during an activity for supporters which will be held in Hastings Gardens on Friday at 20:00.