In view of the BOV Premier League 2014/2015 campaign, Qormi have strengthened the squad with the signing of six new foreigners while confirming Nigerian striker Alfred Effiong. The new players were presented during a press conference at the Dolmen Resort Hotel on Thursday.
Qormi FC president Redino Apap said the committee had been working hard to strengthen the squad and it more competitive. Josef Mansueto was appointed as coach after assisting Tommaso Volpi first and Karel Zeman later throughout last season. Mansueto will be assisted by former Hamrun Spartans midfielder Rupert Mangion as assistant coach and Roderick Agius as goalkeepers’ coach.
Apap went on to say that the club signed only two local players due to the particular difficulties of the local market. These are Bjorn Bondin who joins the club on loan from Valletta after playing for Balzan and Gzira United in recent years and Under-21 international striker Ryan Micallef who joined the club from Rabat Ajax.
The foreign players to join the club are Nigerian striker Frank Temile who joined the club from Birkirkara, Serbian midfielder Zoran Levnaic from Hibernians, Ghana Under-21 international midfielder Albert Bruce, Brazilian midfielder Anderson Santos, Argentine defender Mauricio Mazzetti and Italian striker Pietro Viggiani.
Apap said that the club managed to attract foreign investment from a Swiss group of companies – SOFIN Asset Management, Resonor and 2F Powertech.
The Qormi president said that the club’s first objective is that of avoiding the bottom three places as early as possible. Due to the new format of the BOV Premier League, Apap said that it will be difficult to predict how a team would fare. He said that all clubs had been investing in their squads – something which was healthy for the local game and promised to provide an interesting league campaign.
Apap said that this was the seventh year for Qormi in the top division. Seven years during which the club went even close to securing a place in the European competitions although over the past three years, the club had to go through a difficult transition in view of the financial fair play regulations which will be enforced as from next December.
Redino Apap stressed that to achieve the objective of playing in the UEFA competitions one had to work really hard as the club did not want to make this objective just a one-off – Qormi eventually aim at playing in Europe on a regular basis. He said that in his opinion the squad includes a good mix of players, including ones who won major honours with other clubs.
The Qormi president said for a club to maintain its Premier League status, goo infrastructure and at least a budget of €0.25 million were necessary. He said that unfortunately football has become too professional in all sectors, apart from administration. The number of volunteers has diminished and a club could not just rely on volunteers. He stressed on the need to change clubs into companies, with the help of the government, and club administrators becoming full-timers.
He finally revealed that the new Premier League format was something that he had been suggesting for the past two years. He is sure this will provide healthy competition – there will be no team running away with the league and the battle against relegation will be close.
New Qormi coach Josef Mansueto said that from day one of his appointment, he wanted to make sure of signing the new foreigners at the earliest possible and that now, he believes the club has a good foreign line-up. Nursery players are a priority for Mansueto and he said a nucleus of such players were identified and were promoted to the senior squad.
Another priority for the Qormi coach is that of focussing on the structure within the club as he believed that otherwise it would be difficult to achieve results. He said that hopefully this would lead the team to improve from one year to another and in the long-term, this would enable the club to reach its objectives.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Antonio Bisignani said that the group, which will also be present in Malta, believed in core values of professionalism and quality and hoped that these values will be transmitted to the team.
Group founder Giulio Alberico was then presented by a memento by Qormi FC president Redino Apap.