Qormi Nursery visits Sheffield

A contingent of twenty nine persons led by Qormi FC Nursery Chairman Victor Camilleri and Head Coach Edward Micallef and including a group of children from the aged fourteen to sixteen, spent six days in Sheffield between October 30th and November 4th.

The aim behind his visit was to give the players the opportunity of professional training The group included seven players who were selected by Sheffield Wednesday coaches in July during a training camp in Malta. The players were Ismael Borg, Dormord Micallef, George Portelli, Luke Farrugia and Jurgen Sciriha from the Qormi FC Youth Nursery, Liam Portelli from the Mosta FC Nursery and Miguel Ghigo from the Paola Hibs Nursery.

After arriving at Heathrow Airport, the contingent travelled to Leicester where the team played two friendly matches against the Leicester City and Southampton Academies Under-17 sides.

Although the team did its best, they could not avoid suffering a 6-0 defeat. Miguel Ghigo and Liam Portelli played the first half of the game and then joined the Leicester players for a training session. The second game was a more balanced affair with Southampton winning 2-1. Jurgen Sciriha scored the goal for Qormi.

In these games, Gilmore Azzopardi and Mark Costa left a good impression and Sheffiled coaches and were kept under observation by Sheffield coaches.

The following day, the team had a training session at a 9-a-side indoor pitch in Sheffield and then played a match against the Sheffield Academy Under-19 side, losing 1-4 with Shaun Pace scoring the only goal for Qormi.

Another game was in programme later in the day where they met the Burxton Under-19s. During this game two English players were on trial with Qormi. The game was played in very difficult weather conditions but still it proved to be a good expierence for the Maltese youngsters.

On Thursday 1st November, while the players were attending a training session, Qormi officials met the co-ordinator of this visit, Markus Bramel, and Sheffield Wednesday vice-chairman Paul Aldridge to discuss future plans of this partnership between Qormi and Sheffield Wednesday.

Gillmore Azzopardi, Ismael Borg, Mark Costa, Dormord Micallef, George Portelli, Luke Farrugia and Jurgen Sciriha then wore the Wednesday shirt in a match against the Newcastle United Academy. Dormond Micallef scored one of the goals in a 4-1 win for the Wednesday.

In the mean time, Miguel Ghigo and Liam Portelli were attending a training session with their age-group.

After some free time, Qormi played another friendly against the Rotherham United Under-19 side and played a good game despite a defeat.

The following day, Qormi played another friendly match against Barnsley and then after a tour of Sheffield, including the facilities of the oldest club in England – Sheffield FC, and Chester including the the stadium of Chesterfield FC.

The Maltese contingent then had a stadium tour at Hillsborough – the stadium of Sheffield Wednesday which was followed by free time at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre and the Bowling Centre.

On Friday 3rd November, the group was the guests of Sheffield Wednesday for the League Championship game against Peterborough where they had the opportunity to greet the players before the game and watching the game from one of the boxes.

The final activity for the group was a visit the park where greyhound races are organised. The contingent travelled back to Malta on Sunday 4th.

The visit was definitely a wonderful experience for the young players and also for the Qormi officials as it improved further the good relationship between the two clubs.