Futsal team prepares for EURO 2012 qualifiers

National futsal coach Vic Hermans announced a programme of friendly matches and international tournaments for the Malta futsal team as part of the preparation for the Futsal EURO 2012 Preliminary Round mini-tournament which will be played in Malta next January.

Hermans was speaking on the eve of the first of two friendly matches between Malta and Finland which will be played at the Cottonera Sports Complex. The two friendly matches between Malta and Finland, in fact, will be played on Thursday 14 and Friday 15, kick-off at 20:00.

National coach Vic Hermans said Finland was one of the fast-growing countries in Futsal and their squad boasts some professional players including one based in Spain.

Next month, Malta will take part in the first edition of the Mediterranean Futsal Cup which will be held in Libya – the draws for which will be held late on Wednesday.

Sixteen countries will be taking part in this tournament, namely Libya, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, France, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta, Albania, Palestine, Syria, Marocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lebanon. Each team will play a total of six matches over a period of ten days between November 1 and 10.

Malta was drawn in Group C together with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus and Tunisia, games scheduled for Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3 and Friday 5 respectively. In the second phase, the team will play another three matches in games which determine the placings from the first to the sixteenth place.

In December, Malta will be taking part in a quadrangular tournament in Switzerland together with the hosts, Germany and Turkey.

The national futsal team will then play two friendly matches against Norway in the second week of January before the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 mini-tournament gets underway on January 20. Malta will be facing Bulgaria, France and Lithuania.

Vic Hermans said he was pleased that he managed to find players who sacrificed their work, taking leave from work in order to be able to join the squad, especially for the tournament in Libya.

The national futsal coach said that several things had changed since his arrival over a year ago and he is quite pleased with how things changed so far. With the national team moving elsewhere for training sessions, the Corradino Pavilion is now able to host all Futsal matches from the First to the Third Division. Training sessions for the national team are being held twice a week at St. Aloysius while national team matches are being played at the Cottonera Sports Complex – a venue selected by UEFA for the UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament.

Hermans, who is now also the Head of the MFA Technical Centre, said that now a plan has to be developed as regards which direction football should go.

The squad selected by Hermans and his assistant Bert Kessen is made up of:
goalkeepers Brian Baldacchino, Matthew Mifsud, Bjorn Vassallo;
players Melvin Borg, Christopher Brincat, Clint Cope, John Cutajar, Nicola Del Re, Alan Galea, Jeanbert Gatt, Dean Gera, Robert Magro, Jonathan Magri Overend, Carlo Scicluna, Xavier Saliba, David Smith, Frank Xerri.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA