Newly-promoted BOV Premier League Gzira United unveiled new coach Branko Nisevic and a new sponsor Tipbet during a press conference at at Paparazzi 29GUFC on Wednesday.
A former player of Hibernians, Pietà Hotspurs, Valletta, Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara, Branko Nisevic was assistant coach at Birkirkara, coach of the Malta Under-19 national team and assistant coach of the senior national team before joining Hibernians in summer 2013. He helped the Paolites clinch the BOV Premier League title in season 2014/15.
Addressing the media, Nisevic said that he was approached by Gzira United president Sharlon Pace, with whom he played while at Pietà, Valletta and Sliema, and agreed to help him in this new adventure. He said the structure at Gzira is very organised and together with coach Darren Abdilla, he is working hard to assemble a squad which has the first objective to secure Premier League status.
Darren Abdilla, who led the team to the First Division championship while remaining unbeaten, will be working hand in hand with Nisevic. He said that Pace had asked him whether he was ready to work with another experienced coach and agreed as he wanted to be part of this project. Abdilla signed a new three year deal.
The two coaches will be working hand in hand although the final decisions would be taken by Nisevic.
Gzira United president Sharlon Pace said the club had a three-year plan to win promotion to the Premier League and this was achieved on the third attempt, after missing out the previous season, losing the play-off to Mosta. Now that the club is back in the Premier League, Pace said that the main objective for the first year was for the club to establish itself in the Premier League, then to strengthen it further in the second year and to be among the top five teams in the third year.
The Gzira president said that the club is working hard to strengthen the squad and have a list of players they are looking forward to sign. So far they secured the services of Rafael Ledesma and goalkeepers Jurgen Borg and Jamie Azzopardi apart from Spanish striker Moises Avila Perez who has been playing for the club for the past two-and-a-half years. Jonathan Bondin, Yanis Tonna, Andre White, Karl Pulo and Kyle Gerada, who were part of last season’s squad will all stay.
Tipbet, a sports betting company licenced in Malta since October 2015 and operating from Gzira, agreed a three-year sponsorship deal with the club. Gzira Mayor and Gzira United vice-president Conrad Borg Manche said that during a meeting with company officials, he was told that Tipbet wanted to contribute to the locality and the two parties reached an agreement over the sponsorship.