MFA not likely to name new national team coach until March

The Malta Football Association is in no hurry to name a new national coach and the decision is expected to be taken sometime round March to May. This emerged from a meeting of the Council of the MFA which was held on Tuesday.

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said the Executive Committee started discussing the matter and while stressing that the association, despite a friendly match against Liechtenstein on February 2012, will not hurry to appoint the new coach.

He said the Executive Committee agreed that the national coach should be a “foreign coach at the right price … the right coach for the right price”, pointing out that the a foreign coach with a huge salary was not necessarily the right choice for Malta to improve.

Darmanin Demajo revealed that the association had received over thirty applications from coaches willing to take over the Malta national team. He said these applications were forwarded to MFA Technical Director Robert Gatt.

The possible candidates are therefore various, including Dusan Fitzel who however is currently under contract with the Czech Football Association.

The MFA President said that most likely, a decision will be taken some time between March and May and for the friendly match against Liechtenstein, the team will be led by a Maltese caretaker-coach.

Italian physical trainer Luca Pagani, whose contract expires at the end of the year, has been offered a new two-year contract.

Darmanin Demajo said the association is investing heavily in a programme for boys born 1998. He said a number of young players were selected and are being given a professional training programme which is being led by Argentine coach Sergio Soldano. Soldano is currently working for the association on a part-time basis but could be offered a full-time job.

Constant scouting is being held on this age-group in order to have the best possible group of players. The players will be monitored constantly and there is also constant dialogue with parents.

This group of players will be experiencing something others could not experience before in Malta with the main objective being that of preparing these young players to make the move abroad.

Meanwhile another item regarding the national team emerged during the same meeting is about the national team kit sponsor, Givova.

The association is not happy that throughout the first two years of the four-year sponsorship agreement the Italian sportswear company failed to provide all the material it was due to provide and make the due payments.

According to the contract signed in 2010, any disputes have to be presented at the Corte di Cassazione in Naples, making it more difficult for the association to settle the issue. Heavy fines are stipulated in the contract should the association decide to opt for another company.

The association is worried that for the coming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Malta will have to wear kits of inferior quality which would definitely tarnish the image, also in view of the recent sponsorship for the national team by US foreign exchange company FXDD.