The Youth Football Association held a consultation meeting for all the nurseries participating in the Under-15 and Under-17 leagues, following a request by the Malta FA Technical Centre to reform the leagues in order to make them more competitive.
Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro appealed to all those present to co-operate and evaluate the proposals with an open mind, as this would assist in having better players in our national teams, as well as our local clubs. The YFA President concluded his address by encouraging the nurseries to work hand in hand with the Association and the Technical Centre on this project for the common good and to improve the quality of local football.
Malta FA President, Norman Darmanin Demajo solicited the nursery administrators to be brave and step out from their comfort zone, as progress could only be achieved by facing new challenges and by recognizing the fact that long-term development is much more important than just winning the next football match. Mr. Darmanin Demajo reminded how the MFA Administration set up a plan for youth development, first by providing the necessary infrastructure to the clubs and nurseries, then by addressing the coaching education and now it was the turn of making the youth leagues more competitive.
Next it was the turn of the Technical Director to highlight the vision behind this youth leagues revamp proposal. Robert Gatt gave details about this long-term programme, which kicked off with the introduction of the festival regulations in 2011, before moving on with the overhaul in coaching courses, including the addition of a full-time coach educator and now the reform in youth leagues and nursery structures was next in line. The Technical Director provided statistics that illustrate that our youth leagues were structured in a way that a team which was dominant this season, does not necessarily mean that it will be so influential the next, and vice-versa, mostly due to a number of players moving on because of the age bracket. He continued that due this factor, the teams were not necessarily ranked to reflect their actual level. Robert Gatt concluded his intervention by requesting the assistance of the nurseries to find the best structure where all the teams would play against their equals, in order to ensure a healthy competition.
The Youth FA General Secretary illustrated the thoughts of the Technical Centre and the YFA, who consider that a knock-out competition at the beginning of the season would reveal the factual level of the teams and so ensure that the actual best teams play in the highest division and so on, leaving all teams to find their natural level of the current period and not based on last season’s performances. Joe Micallef explained that the YFA leagues’ restructuring was still in its conception stage and encouraged the nurseries to contribute to the discussion, as their input was imperative for the success of this reform. He concluded his intervention by inviting all the nurseries to attend a workshop session on the League Reform next Monday, 7th July at the Centenary Hall at 18:00 to provide their feedback and comments on this reform.
All the interested nurseries were represented by their administrators and head coaches, whilst YFA Vice President, Robert Attard and Stephen Grima, Director of Coaching Courses at MFA also formed part of the panel.