The first round of matches from the BOV Premier League comes to an end on Sunday as newly-promoted Balzan Youths take on Hamrun Spartans and champions Valletta face Tarxien Rainbows at the National Stadium.
Hamrun Spartans vs Balzan Youths
Hamrun Spartans will be hoping to start the season with a win as they take on Balzan Youths who, on the other hand, aim at avoiding defeat in their first Premier League outing.
The Spartans worked hard to strengthen their squad this summer, securing the services of Gianluca Calabretta from Tarxien, Kevin Sammut from Valletta and Matthew Gauci from Hibernians.
Foreign players at the disposal of new coach Jesmond Zammit include defender Nikica Gacesa, midfielder Carlo Polli and strikers Joseph Okonkwo and Anderson Mendes Ribeiro.
Securing a top-six finish should be Hamrun’s main objective this season.
First Division champions Balzan Youths will be aiming at retaining their
Premier League status for the first time.
Under the guidance of coach Ivan Zammit, the Youths drafted a number of new players in the squad, including Yessous Camilleri from Valletta, goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri from Qormi and foreigners Bledion Guga, Daniel Sibalin and Joaquin Dana. Another foreigner could be Nikola Tasic. Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, who played a very important role in the Youths’ promotion to the Premier League – Pedro Dos Santos Calcado was confirmed as one of the foreigners.
Valletta vs Tarxien Rainbows
Champions Valletta start the defence of the title with a game against Tarxien Rainbows.
After winning the twentieth championship in the history of the club, the Citizens start as firm favourites to retain the title. This summer’s major signing was that of Michael Mifsud but other important signings include foreigners William Barbosa da Silva, Ousseni Zongo, last season’s top scorer Alfred Effiong and former Floriana goalkeeper Matthew Towns. Another new foreigner could be Italian defender Filippo Savi.
Since last season, the club loaned Kevin Sammut to Hamrun, Kurt Magro and Ian Zammit to Mosta. Nicky Vella joined Tarxien while Omonigho Temile and Anderson Andrade were not retained.
Tarxien’s strength is once again based on their Brazilian foreigners. From the five players on the club’s books last season, the Rainbows retained Everton Antonio Pereira, Daniel Mariano Bueno and Ricardo Costa, releasing Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues and Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira. Their new Brazilian recruits this season are Rodrigo Galvao, Roberto Saraiva Fagundes and Caio Garcia Suguino.
They also secured the services of goalkeeper Nicky Vella and Adrian Carabott from Valletta Carl Sammut from Vittoriosa, Karl Pulo from Birkirkara and veteran Stefan Giglio from Qormi.
After finishing fifth over the past two years, Tarxien are hoping to go one step further and maybe secure a place in Europe next summer.