The happy faces and enthusiastic voices of the young participants, their eyes riveted on the ball, perfectly captured the ‘Football, Live It With Love’ motto at the two day Youth FA Under-9 Fun Festival, held last weekend at the Centenary Stadium.
The end-of-season event, making a return after an absence of three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, generated a lot of interest with a total of 33 youth nurseries and the Malta FA Girls Academy Under-12 team participating in the festival which falls under the Youth FA’s ‘Enjoying The Game’ pillar. A total of 24 youth nurseries fielded two teams at the festival while the other 10 brought one team.
Four games were played simultaneously at the Centenary Stadium which was split into four five-a-side pitches while the teams were divided into groups of four or five. Every team played at least three matches with the emphasis being on fun and participation.
Commenting on the two-day festival, Joe Cassar, the CEO of the Youth Football Association, said: “This event is one of the highlights of the Youth FA calendar and we are glad that we were able to host this festival again after a long absence due to COVID-19.
“The response from the youth nurseries was great and this also manifested itself in the joy and enthusiasm of the participating children which is what these festivals are about. We look forward to organising more events for children and their youth nurseries as well as launching new initiatives in the coming months.”
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The young participants’ passion for football came to the fore at the festival as highlighted by Katrina Catania, a member of the Malta FA Academy Girls U-12 team, who said: “I really enjoyed taking part in this festival with my team-mates and playing against boys’ teams was a nice experience. I wish to be involved in more events like this.”
Xandru Tanti, aged eight, and nine-year-old Zane Gatt Gauci, who plays as a goalkeeper, were also delighted to play in the festival. “It was fun,” said the young Mellieħa Youth nursery duo, adding: “We enjoyed meeting with friends, playing together, as a team, and with other nurseries. We love football and we want to become football players when we grow up.”
The Youth FA would like to thank the participating nurseries for their co-operation and the Malta FA for making the Centenary Stadium available for this event which was also supported by SportMalta, Assikura Insurance Brokers PCC Limited, Teamsport, Horace Enterprises and Global Security.