The Malta Football Association (MFA) is to nominate the Malta U-21 national side in the Team of the Year category for the upcoming SportMalta Awards – Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali, to be held on February 25 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
At a meeting of the MFA Executive Committee, held on Thursday at a St Julians hotel, the members unanimously agreed that the Malta U-21 team’s feat in collecting 11 points in Group One of the 2017 UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying campaign, a record for a Maltese national side, makes them worthy candidates for the Team of the Year prize at these annual awards, organised jointly by SportMalta and the Għaqda Ġurnalisti Sport.
Coach Silvio Vella, who masterminded the Malta U-21s’ positive run in the European qualifiers, is being nominated for the Coach of the Year award.
Under Vella’s guidance, the Malta U-21 team gained three wins, beating Latvia 1-0 at home and 2-1 away, and Moldova 3-2 at home in their final qualifier, played on October 11. They also figured in two goalless draws away to Moldova and Montenegro for an unprecedented tally of 11 points which placed them above Latvia and Moldova in the group standings.
The MFA Executive Committee is also putting forward the nomination of Esther Azzopardi for the Official of the Year honour.
Azzopardi, Malta’s first female FIFA referee, today announced her retirement from refereeing after a successful career spanning 20 years.
These three nominations are being submitted for the consideration of the organising committee of the SportMalta Awards – Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali.
Meanwhile, the MFA Executive Committee discussed a host of other important topics during today’s well-attended meeting.
The business model for the BOV Premier League and the introduction of season tickets, a new course for local football administrators, a health and safety assessment of all the venues operated by the MFA and an update on the talks between the Association and the Gozo FA on homegrown players regulations and club licensing, were among the subjects addressed at Thursday’s meeting.
Photos: Copyright domenic aquilina/MFA