First Division side Qormi FC presented their squad for season 2019/20 at the Dolmen Hotel.
Qormi signed Romulo Silva Santos and Niang Serigne-Falou, welcomed back Chris Matombo, retaining Freud Gnindokponou who had joined the club mid-way through last season. Brandon Grech, Sheldon Grech and Francesco Gusman also joined the club.
Players like Jamie Azzopardi, Alan Abela, captain Alessio Cassar, Nick Ghio, Michael Borg, Tensior Gusman, Iven Zammit and Carmelo Farrugia continue to form the back-bone of the squad along with the younger players like Miguel Falzon, Nathan Gauci, Luke Farrugia, Kyle Spiteri, Isaac Mizzi and Carlos Debattista,
New Qormi FC coach Vince Carbonaro, who led Sirens FC to their first ever promotion to the Premier League, thanked the president and the committee for showing faith in him.
Carbonaro, a former player and coach of Qormi, said that the main task for a team which had just been relegated was to get back the motivation. He said that the First Division league was a difficult league and the club’s target will be to establish itself and only if the team turns out to be strong enough, challenge for promotion.
The Qormi coach said that together with the rest of the technical staff made up of assistant coach Warren Said, goalkeepers’ coach Duncan Galea, physical trainer Emerson Farrugia and physio Zach Gatt, they have been working hard. Carbonaro said the twenty-one man squad at his disposal includes four players from the Youths team, seven nursery products, four foreign players and six players who had joined Qormi from other clubs.
“We will take game by game and enjoy playing football. We will try to play good football, showing determination to take home the three points.”
Vince Carbonaro stressed that without unity no success was possible. He added that players had to be disciplines both in training and on the pitch.
The Qormi coach concluded by saying that although on paper there teams who seemed to be front-runners for promotion, Qormi were tried to build a team which is competitive enough in Division 1 but stressed that the team will be showing full commitments to try and win every game.
Captain Alessio Cassar agreed on the importance of unity in the team and hard work. He said he was glad that there were a good number of nursery product in the squad.
Cassar added that teams in Division 1 are more or less on the same level. He said the first two games are tricky tests against two newly-promoted sides who will be all out to impress. However he believes that if the players give their best, this should be a good season for the club.
President Victor Camilleri said that he was proud of the team but appealed for more support from the Qormi community as unfortunately the club did not receive enough support.
“We are working hard. We are doing excellent work. This is the result of decades of work in the nursery,” said Camilleri.
The Qormi president said he was glad to see several youngsters in the squad and that there were more on the way. He said he was proud that over the past decades, the nursery managed to attract a number of youngsters to the game and off the streets.
Camilleri added the two years ago, he found a situation of huge debts and court cases. However by last year 72% of the debts were covered. He added that it was not easy for a club with a debt of €620,000 to win promotion in 2017/18 and despite the lack of funds, last year, the club tried hard to retain Premier League status.
He went on to stress on the importance of keeping the squad united and for the players to play for each other. Camilleri added that success was the result of the sacrifices and that players need to leave the pitch with heads held up high game after game.
The Qormi president once again appealed for the Qormi community to contribute as the club was an asset for the community.
Mayor Renald Falzon said that unlike other sectors, in football, Qormi was united as one. He said that for such a big town, he believed Qormi deserved better.
He praised the nursery and its dedicated coaches, saying nursery products are the future of the club. Falzon concluded by saying that the council will do its best to support the club where possible.
President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said the beauty of football was that it brings people together and that football was a language which everyone understands.
She stressed on the importance of working as a team as otherwise no success was possible and went on to speak about values brought about by sport including that of bringing the community together and mitigate conflicts, the sense of discipline and the sense of unity, team spirit and altruism. Coleiro Preca also focussed on the voluntary work of administrators who give their time and that of their family for the benefit of others.
Former Qormi and Malta national team player Leli Fabri, who is now a coach with the Qormi Youth Football Academy, was presented with a memento as he made his debut for the club fifty years ago in Trapani when he was still a sixteen year old.
Fabri said he was ambitious from a young age and eventually went on to play for Sliema Wanderers and the national team. He told the younger players to learn from the more experience players and for the experienced ones to encourage the younger players.
Leli Fabri added that the club needed to build a strong base so that when the club wins promotion, the club retains its status and challenges for honours.