Two of the three teams who were promoted from the First Division at the end of last season will be in action on Saturday as Mosta face Marsaxlokk and Mqabba take on Floriana. Two matches which are scheduled to be played at the Hibernians Stadium.
Marsaxlokk vs Mosta
In the first game, Marsaxlokk take on a Mosta side is aiming to retain its newly-acquired Premier League status for the first time at the end of the season.
Once again led by coach Oliver Spiteri, Mosta worked hard to strengthen their squad with the signing of a number of players including goalkeeper Glenn Zammit from Marsaxlokk, Luca Martinelli who was on loan with Melita last season, Sheldon Grech from Pietà Hotspurs, Kurt Magro and Ian Zammit from Valletta. Firas Aboulezz and Kenneth Spiteri will be playing once again for the Blues.
Nikola Bogdanovic was retained as one of the club’s foreigners and joins new signings Rudy Alhinho – a Portuguese defender formerly of Melita, Federico Tisbi – an Italian defender and Diego Maradona Petriaggi – a Brazilian striker. A fifth foreigner could possibly be added to the squad.
From last year’s squad, Victor Osobu and Mark Briggs were not retained while Simon Shead, William Camenzuli and Ryan Deguara moved elsewhere.
With Patrick Curmi joining Birkirkara, Marsaxlokk have appointed Winston Muscat as their new coach. Muscat will hope to lead the Southseasiders to a place in the Championship Pool following a first adventure in the Premier League with Vittoriosa Stars last season.
The Southseasiders lost a number of players since last season including Malta international midfielder Gareth Sciberras and Premier League top scorer Alfred Effiong who joined Birkirkara and Valletta respectively. Julio Alcorse and Rumen Galabov were not retained while Glenn Zammit and Andrew Spiteri signed for Mosta and Floriana respectively.
New signings include Jean Paul Farrugia, Patrick Borg and Sacha Borg who join the club on loan from Hibernians, Birkirkara and Floriana respectively. Jonathan Xerri join Marsaxlokk from Hibernians after being on loan with Vittoriosa. Florent Raimy will be playing once again for the Southseasiders and will be joined by Argentinian striker Emiliano Lattes who played for Birkirkara, Brazilian midfielder Carlos Campagnoli – formerly of Vittoriosa, Italian midfielder Modesto Valeriani and Nigerian striker Obinna Obiefule who played for Sliema.
Floriana vs Mqabba
In the second game, Floriana take on Mqabba.
After winning the U*BET FA Trophy in May, the Greens hardly had a break due to their UEFA Europa League commitments. After collecting just one point in a draw with Birkirkara and losing to Valletta in the Euro Cup, Floriana suffered a nightmare 0-8 defeat to AEK Larnaca at the Hibs Stadium before losing just 1-0 in Larnaca in the second leg. Last week, Floriana were in action once again in the BOV Super Cup, suffering a 0-3 defeat to rivals Valletta.
Since last season, Thomas Paris and Christian Cassar made permanent moves to the club. Manuel Bartolo and John Mintoff joined the Greens on loan from Msida and Sliema respectively while Andrew Spiteri joined the club from Marsaxlokk. As regards foreigners, Dragomir Draganov and Daniel Nwoke are no longer with the club while goalkeeper Matthew Towns was released.
Former Ghana international goalkeeper William Amamoo was set to replace him but he has just been handed a four-week suspension by the club after failing to turn up for the Super Cup. Joining Pablo Doffo – the only foreigner to stay with the club – is Nigerian striker Boris Odwong who was based in Italy and was on the books of Sampdoria a few years ago.
Meanwhile after securing promotion to the Premier League, Mqabba have confirmed Clive Mizzi as their coach.
Brazilian striker Thiago Mazzittelli and Serbian defender Branislav Timotic were confirmed. Their third foreigner is Serbian midfielder Marko Potezica who played for Lija Athletic last season. Albanians Vilson Caushi and Advan Caqiki were not retained.
New signings include Ryan Sammut, James Paris, Clayton Micallef, Franklin Azzopardi, Renè Duca and Andrew Scicluna.