Hibernians and Malta forward Jurgen Degabriele and Charlene Zammit, the Birkirkara and women’s national team defender, crowned a memorable season by winning the MFPA Best Men’s and Women’s Player awards respectively.
All eyes were on the outstanding performers during the 2021-22 domestic football season at the MFPA Awards, held on Monday evening at the Malta Aviation Museum in Ta’ Qali. Degabriele, who scored 14 league goals, captured the most prestigious individual honour after inspiring Hibernians to their 13th league title, beating the challenge of Hibernians team-mate Jake Grech and Maxuell Maia of Gżira United.
In the female category, Zammit was rewarded for her consistent performances at the heart of defence in another successful season for champions Birkirkara. The other finalists for the MFPA Women’s Best Player Award were Mġarr United midfielder Brenda Borg and Stephania Farrugia, the Birkirkara defender.
Floriana and Malta forward Jan Busuttil was voted MFPA Best Young player while the up-and-coming Maya Lucia, the Raiders Lija midfielder, topped the charts in the women’s category.
Photos courtesy of domenic aquilina
During an entertaining show, presented by Keith Demicoli, the MFPA handed out a total of 35 awards. Twenty-two of these went to the players who received the highest number of votes from their peers in the MFPA Best XI categories for both men and women.
Degabriele was joined by Hibernians team-mates Leandro Almeida and Jake Grech in the MFPA Best XI while Italian tactician Stefano Sanderra retained the best coach honour after guiding the Paolites to the Premier League title.
The other players in the 2021-22 MFPA Best XI are Sirens goalkeeper Jonathan Debono, Birkirkara’s Cain Attard (right-back), Floriana trio Ryan Camenzuli (left-back), Oualid El Hasni (centre-back) and Brandon Paiber (midfielder), Ivan Curjuric, the Valletta midfielder, and forwards Luke Montebello (Birkirkara) and Maxuell Maia (Gżira United).
In the MFPA Women’s Best XI, Charlene Zammit was one of three Birkirkara players, the others being Stephania Farrugia (centre-half) and Ann-Marie Said (midfielder). The other players in the best selection were goalkeeper Jodie Attard (Swieqi United), right-back Rebecca Bajada (Mġarr United FC), left-back Jade Flask (Swieqi United FC), midfielders Maya Lucia (Raiders Lija) and Brenda Borg (Mġarr United) while Rodianne Zerafa (Kirkop United), Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United) and Leah Alice Ayres (Raiders Lija) formed the three-strong forward line.
It was a case of double delight for Lija Athletic striker Lydon Micallef who collected the MFPA Best Challenge League Forward and Best Challenge League Player awards. Micallef was the top scorer of the 2021-22 Challenge League with 18 goals while Attard striker Nicholas Schembri, who led the scoring charts with 21 goals in the third-tier championship, became the first ever winner of the MFPA Best Amateur League Player Award.
JOHN BUTTIGIEG RECEIVES MERIT AWARD
A compelling video feature on a stalwart of Maltese football served
as a fitting prelude to the presentation of the Merit Award with former Malta defender and coach John Buttigieg recognised for his sterling contribution. He received the award from Joachim Walltin, General Secretary of FIFPRO Division Europe.
FIFA referee Trustin Farrugia Cann made it four in a row after being voted best referee of the season.
During the Awards Night, Carlo Mamo, the MFPA General Secretary, gave a detailed overview of the various projects and work carried out by the Association during this season, drawing praise from Walltin who, on behalf of FIFPRO, congratulated the MFPA for its strong commitment and efforts to support and assist football players in Malta.
MFPA BEST XI:
BEST GOALKEEPER Jonathan Debono (Sirens);
BEST LEFT-BACK Ryan Camenzuli (Floriana).
BEST CENTRE-BACKS Leandro Almeida (Hibernians); Oualid El Hasni (Floriana)
BEST RIGHT-BACK Cain Attard (Birkirkara)
BEST MIDFIELDERS Ivan Curjuric (Valletta); Jake Grech (Hibernians); Brandon Paiber (Floriana)
BEST FORWARDS Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians); Maxuell Maia (Gżira United); Luke Montebello (Birkirkara)
MFPA BEST MEN’S YOUNG PLAYER Jan Busuttil (Floriana)
MFPA BEST MEN’S PLAYER Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians);
MFPA BEST COACH Stefano Sanderra (Hibernians).
MFPA BEST REFEREE Trustin Farrugia Cann
MFPA Best Challenge League Goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi (Żebbug Rangers)
MFPA Best Challenge League Defender Juan Cruz Gill (Marsaxlokk)
MFPA Best Challenge League Midfielder James Scicluna (Pietà Hotspurs)
MFPA Best Challenge League Forward Lydon Micallef (Lija Athletic)
MFPA Best Challenge League Player Lydon Micallef (Lija Athletic)
MFPA Best Amateur League Player Nicholas Schembri (Attard)
MFPA WOMEN’S LEAGUE BEST XI
BEST GOALKEEPER Jodie Attard (Swieqi United);
BEST LEFT-BACK Jade Flask (Swieqi United)
BEST CENTRE-BACKS Stephania Farrugia (Birkirkara); Charlene Zammit (Birkirkara).
BEST RIGHT-BACK Rebecca Bajada (Mġarr United)
BEST MIDFIELDERS Brenda Borg (Mġarr United); Maya Lucia (Raiders Lija); Ann-Marie Said (Birkirkara)
BEST FORWARDS Leah Alice Ayres (Raiders Lija); Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United); Rodianne Zerafa (Kirkop United).
MFPA BEST WOMEN’S YOUNG PLAYER Maya Lucia (Raiders Lija)
MFPA BEST WOMEN’S PLAYER Charlene Zammit (Birkirkara).
MERIT AWARD John Buttigieg