Gzira United presented their new signings ahead of the BOV First Division 2013/14 campaign during a press conference at their newly refurbished clubhouse at Manoel Island.
The club, led by President and Gzira United player Sharlon Pace, appointed UEFA B Licenced coach Ivan Zammit as the new coach. Zammit opted to engage the services of familiar faces he had worked with recently. These included Bjorn Bondin, Jonathan Francica, Rennie Forace and goalkeeper Frederick Tabone – all former Balzan players and Christian “Yaya” Cassar who played for Floriana, Marsaxlokk and recently Hamrun Spartans and Floriana.
As regards foreigners, the Maroons signed Joseph Jojo Ogunnupe who was on the books of Valletta last season, Martin Kotyza and Nikola Tasic who played for FK Viktoria Zizkov and Emiliano Polanco who played for FC Loreto in Ancona, Italy.
Vice-President and Team-Manager Kevin Gauci joined the Maroons Committee following a seventeen-year spell in the Valletta FC Committee. He explained that being a Valletta supporter at heart, he has a winning mentality, and together with the Coach, who also hails from Valletta, hopes to transfer that winning mentality to his new club. He said that, from day one, he was made welcome at the Club and that although his heart is still at Valletta, his mind and concentration are 100% behind Gzira United. He was hoping to be able to introduce young Gzira United players to the squad as the season progresses.
Coach Ivan Zammit said that he has had an intense pre-season and once the whole squad was physically fit he thinks he can offer a stiff challenge to all the teams. Considering the limited budget and the amount of players available, he knows it’s going to be an uphill struggle, but assured his players and the Maroons Committee that he was going to do his utmost to get positive results. “We need to concentrate throughout the 90 minutes, we cannot relax, as we can be easily punished if we do so”, concluded Mr Zammit.
Club Secretary Tyrone Demanuele explained that following last season’s experience in the 1st Division, he was expecting to consolidate the Maroons presence in this division. He added that there are teams that have already shown their intentions and had very good results in their pre-season friendlies. Gzira United on the other hand had a positive pre-season when they ended up winners of the Hamrun Powerade Cup, a tournament held between six First Division sides. Mr Demanuele concluded that with the introduction of the Financial Fair Play regulations, his club was keeping in mind the financial well-being of the club. It was easy to get carried away with new signings and over-spending, but at the end of the day he believes that every club needs to find his niche in the National League. He augured well to all teams taking part in the 1st Division and was sure that it was going to be an interesting season.