Brazilian striker Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro won the MFPA Best Player Award, as voted by his fellow players, during the MFPA Awards 2016 which was held at the Xara Lodge on Monday. Lydon Micallef of Balzan, on the other hand, claimed the Best Young Player Award.
Although Valletta coach Paul Zammit was voted Best Coach, only one Valletta player made it to the Team of the Year which includes three Balzan players, two each from Balzan, Floriana and Hibernians and one from Birkirkara.
Michael Mifsud won the MFPA Special Award while Joseph St John won the MFPA Merit Award.
The special guest for the night was Jean-Marc Bosman, famous for the ‘Bosman ruling’, which made waves in the football world in the early nineties and is still very relevant at present, in the local football scene. In his speech on the night, Bosman spoke about his struggle to overturn the transfer fee at the beginning of his career. He voiced his concern about Malta’s situation and told local players he will support them, until they too can attain ‘freedom’. He called on to local authorities to make away with this archaic fee.
While addressing those present, MFPA General Secretary Carlo Mamo mentioned a few issues which are a cause of great concern for the association of players. He reiterated Bosman’s concern about the unjust imposition of a transfer fee on players. Mr Mamo also spoke about current medical emergency situations which transpired and which exposed the mediocrity of Health and Safety Procedures currently in place and called on MFA to do more than issue a simple reminder to clubs about their responsibility vis-a-vis health and Safety.
On behalf of the association, Mamo said that MFPA would continue to champion players’ rights and as long as unjust situations exist, the Association will be persistent and determined to attain its goals. He mentioned specific cases of George Mallia, who is currently unjustly suspended from local football and cases whereby players pay exorbitant fees out of their own pocket, just to be able to transfer from one team to another, even when there are no contractual liabilities.
Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport Chris Agius, as well as Shadow Minister for Local Council, Youth and Sport David Agius, were in attendance for the event.
List of winners:
MFPA Best Young Goalkeeper – Andrea Cassar (Tarxien Rainbows)
MFPA Best Young Defender – Daniel Zerafa (Tarxien Rainbows)
MFPA Best Young Midfielder – Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians)
MFPA Best Young Forward – Lydon Micallef (Balzan)
MFPA Best Young Player – Lydon Micallef (Balzan)
MFPA Best XI Goalkeeper – Andrea Cassar (Tarxien Rainbows)
MFPA Best XI Left-Back – Joseph Zerafa (Birkirkara)
MFPA Best XI Right-Back – Justin Grioli (Balzan)
MFPA Best XI Central Defenders (2) – Bruno Oliveria (Tarxien Rainbows), Enrico Pepe (Floriana)
MFPA Best Midfielders (3) – Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (Hibernians), Paul Fenech (Balzan)
MFPA Best Forwards (3) – Alfred Effiong (Balzan), Jhonnattann Benites (Valletta), Matteo Piciollo (Floriana)
MFPA Best Player 2016 Award – Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (Hibernians)
MFPA Best Coach Award – Paul Zammit (Valletta)
MFPA Best Referee Award – Alan Mario Sant
MFPA Best Futsal Player Award – Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira (Hamrun)
MFPA Best Female Player Award – Stephania Farrugia (Birkirkara)
MFPA Best First Division Player Award – Augustine James Obaje (Senglea)
MFPA Special Award – Michael Mifsud
MFPA Merit Award – Joseph St John