Seven local football nurseries are taking part in the first Elite Academy Pilot Project run by the Malta FA Technical Centre.
This initiative was launched at the beginning of the current football season by the MFA Technical Director, Robert Gatt, and the technical staff of the MFA Technical Centre with the approval of the MFA Executive Committee.
Originally, 14 nurseries expressed an interest in participating in this pilot project but only half of them were shortlisted, namely those that had the potential to restructure their set-up in order to meet the requirements.
The academies that satisfied the criteria to take part in this pilot project are Balzan FC, Birkirkara FC, Ħamrun Spartans FC, Mosta FC, St Andrews FC, Sliema Wanderers FC and Valletta FC.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
The criteria include greater financial investment to strengthen their administration, engage higher qualified technical staff and also to raise the standards of their training facilities.
The Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 teams of the selected nurseries had to increase their hours of training and play one league game weekly. These squads must be composed of not more than 23 players, including goalkeepers, and a coach-player ratio of 1 to 10.
The seven academies are requested to submit their monthly periodisation training play to the MFA Technical Centre at the beginning of every month.
Staff from the MFA Technical Centre staff periodically make unannounced visits to these academies to assess the training sessions as outlined in the periodisation programme.
“The main objective of the first part of this pilot project is not to build a winning team but to restructure and upgrade their status from a local nursery to an academy,” Robert Gatt, the MFA Technical Director, told www.mfa.com.mt.
“The pilot project is going according to plan and, at the end of this season, the Technical Centre will prepare a report with recommendations to the MFA Executive committee.”
Some of the main requirements to participate in the Pilot Project are to upgrade the following: an administrator that is certified by the Malta FA; head coach who possesses a UEFA A Youth Elite licence; a UEFA A coach and assistant coach (UEFA B) with every team – U-13, U-15, U-17; goalkeeper coach, physical coach and physiotherapist with the academy and full pitches with all facilities.