New signing Malcolm Licari was presented together with foreigners Andre Grabowski and Onome Sodje as Floriana unveiled their main sponsor Charles Micallef Swimming Pools Ltd. during a press conference which was held at the club’s premises on Friday.
Addressing the media, Floriana FC president Johann Said said that the club worked hard to strengthen the squad by focussing on what the club believed were the weaker departments.
Said said the club’s first objective was to have more players who are property of the club. The next objective was that of signing talented foreigners who had a strong character.
He said that since taking over as president in 2010, he learned from his mistakes and unlike before when the club was spending to much money on inviting players for trials, including paying for flight tickets and lodging, now players willing to join the club for a trial are being asked to pay themselves all the expenses and then, only if they satisfy the club’s expectancies, they are offered a contract.
The Floriana president said that the committee worked hard to find the right players. With Togolese defender Eric Akoto, the club managed to fill the void left by Tyrone Farrugia who is ruled out for the rest of the season. The 31-year old central defender, who was a member of the Togo squad in the 2006 World Cup, played for Austria Wien, Grazer AK and Kapfenberger SV in Austria, Interblock Ljubljana in Slovenia, Maccabi Ahi Nazareth in Israel and North Queensland Fury in Australia.
Onome Sodje is a 23-year old Nigerian striker who holds an English passport. He started his career with the Charlon Athletic Academy and played for York City where he was top scorer with 17 goals in 2007. He later played for Barnsley before playing for FK Senica in Slovakia and Dong Nai in Vietnam.
Akoto and Sodje have already made their debut in the Greens’ last Premier League match against Sliema Wanderers.
The Greens had earlier secured the services of Polish winger Andre Grabowski, who holds a Swedish passport. Grabowski has already left his mark with important goals which enabled Floriana to hold Hibernians in a draw and claim victory in the games against Mosta and Tarxien.
The Floriana president said that the club was very careful not to offer huge salaries to foreign players as they wanted to avoid a situation where a foreign player was being paid three or four times the salary of a local player. He said that had the club retained Italian striker Salvatore Amirante this summer, the club would have spent one third of its budget on just one player.
The club’s latest signing is Malcolm Licari who makes his return to the club with which he started his career at the nursery. Johann Said revealed he had been chasing Licari since he was appointed president but managed to secure his signature only now. He said he is confident the former Pietà Hotspurs and Marsaxlokk player will play an important role at the club due to his vast experience.
Andre Grabowski said he was happy to be at the club and said that his main objective is to win a trophy by the end of the season. Onome Sodje said he was impressed with the togetherness of the team. He said the Floriana clan was a tight group which makes new players soon feel welcome. Sodje went on to say that this feeling helps a lot on the pitch and said that hopefully Floriana win a major honour this season.
Malcolm Licari thanked the club for having faith in him and said he was eager to play for the club as for him, this was a new challenge. He concluded that together with his team mates, they will work hard to put the club where it deserves.
Floriana coach Michael Woods said he was satisfied with the team’s consistency so far and after being very close to reaching the first objective – that of playing in the Championship Pool, the team will now focus on achieving one of the top two places, also thanks to the club’s new signings.
Captain Manolito Micallef thanked the committee and technical staff for working hard in order to strengthen the squad and said that the players’ hard work is paying off.
Meanwhile Charles Micallef Swimming Pools Ltd. was unveiled as the club’s new main sponsor. On behalf of the company, Charles Micallef said he loved the club. He said he supported past presidents over the past years and now felt he could help the club even further by becoming the main sponsor. President Johann Said thanked Micallef for his support.