Champions Hibernians will open their defence of the title with a clash against Balzan in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium on Saturday. A clash between two teams who had a fantastic campaign last season – Hibs winning the title and Balzan claiming a historic place in European competitions.
The Paolites will be starting this Premier League campaign as the team to beat considering that they had only slight changes from the team which dominated last season. They brought in Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro and Jorge Santos Silva and signed Matthew Towns as a back-up goalkeeper for the young Jurgen Borg who will now guard the posts as Henry Bonello was not retained.
Balzan, once again under the guidance of coach Oliver Spiteri, were strengthened with the signing of goalkeeper Valerio Senatore from Floriana, Ryan Fenech and Maxim Focsa from Valletta and new foreigners Godwin Mensha and Aleksandar Vujacic. A late addition was that of Malta international striker Alfred Effiong who joined the club on Friday. These players will make up for the departure or release of Gianmarco Piccioni, Oscar Guerrero and Osa Guobadia apart from Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who is back with Valletta.
Meanwhile in the first match, Floriana take on Mosta.
The Greens focussed their transfer market on foreign players although they did manage to sign two local players Jurgen Pisani and Firas Aboulezz. The new arrivals are Federico Usai, Nicolas Hernan Chiesa, Mario Fonatanella, Mauricio Villa, Simeon Ezeadi Chukwuneme, Juninho Cabral, Enrico Pepe and former Sliema defender Filippo Andrea Scozzese. All foreigners who were on the books of the club moved elsewhere.
Mosta, on the other hand, re-signed Dyson Falzon on loan and secured the services of goalkeeper Yenz Cini and Isaac Galea. They signed several new foreign players including Nigerians Fredrick Abel, Saviour Fidelis, Abdulmalik Mohammed, Yau Hassan and Osa ‘Ice Cream’ Guobadia, American Carlos Montes Zuniga and former Gudja striker Edile Micheletti Awoh.