Month: September 2015

Pullicino: The Spirit of the group was transferred to the court

Peter Pullicino could not have had such a dream debut as Malta’s futsal national team coach as his team achieved a double victory over San Marino away from home soil.

On Saturday the Maltese boys dominated the match to win 5-1 while the following day they repeated their feat by winning over their opponents 5-3.

This website spoke to Peter Pullicino, who seemed completely satisfied after this positive experience.

How do you describe your debut with the national team?

My first time as national coach was an incredible experience and success thanks largely to the players. The players worked unbelievably hard in the short time we had.

 What were the positives and maybe negatives of these two friendlies?

The massive positive from the trip was how the spirit of the group was transferred to the court. The whole group worked as one to gain the positives outcomes .

Amazingly I cannot think of any negative from the trip abroad. The only negative is the fact that I will not work with the players for another 2 weeks.

How are you preparing your team ahead of the FIFA qualifiers?

To prepare for the qualifiers , the group will again come together on the 12th of October and we’ll work on situations learned from the trip to San Marino as well as analyze our upcoming opponents.

 

 

 

 

 

A Closer Look At … Mark Zammit (Luxol)

Name: Mark Zammit

Born on the 8th February 1986

Place of Birth: Malta

Works as a Systems Integration Specialist at RS2 Software P.L.C.

Plays with Luxol St. Andrews

How did you begin to play futsal?

Back in 2012 I used to play for Demons F.C. in one of the Futsal 4th Division sections, finishing top of our section. Games were still played in outdoor 5-a-side pitches, so I had no experience yet of what futsal had to offer. This though all changed at the end of the season, when I was approached by a friend who proposed me to join Werqa Futsal in the second division. Accepting immediately this challenge, my futsal career kicked off.

Talk about the teams you have played with so far.

I spent a good 2 years with Werqa Futsal (aka Qormi FC), forming a good relationship with many players and staff, and also achieving promotion to Premier Division after finishing top of the 2nd Division alongside San Ġwann. After having an exceptional personal and team performance throughout the season, I was privileged to be approached by national team coach Kevin Mifsud for a trial with the national team. Season 2012/13 I kicked off my experience in Futsal Premier League with San Gwann, enjoying a good run of results taking into consideration that it was the clubs first year in Premier. I was called up once again to form part of the National Futsal team to participate in a couple of friendly matches in Gibraltar. After managing to come back home with an away win, my futsal career took another leap forward when I was approached by current champions Hibernians to join their team for the rest of the season. On doing so I managed to compete in the Futsal Premier League Playoffs for the first time ever, losing the final to Balzan. With Hibernians not competing in the league the following year, current champions Balzan Futsal approached me, and accepting their offer, I managed to elevate my futsal career to another level, by competing for the first time in the UEFA Futsal Cup in Zagreb. That same year, apart from competing at national level in the Futsal UEFA Qualifiers, we managed to win the domestic Super Cup and Knock-out Finals. 2015/16 season kicked-off with Balzan and current league champions Luxol St. Andrews merging as one, with players from both teams being called up to form part of the new Luxol St. Andrews squad. After a tough pre-season camp, I experienced my second UEFA Futsal Cup tournament in Andorra, achieving a very positive 4 points. During 2014/15 season I also had the honour of forming part of Lija Athletic team as an assistant coach, achieving the promotion to Premier Division as champions.

What do you like and dislike in futsal?

Futsal is a fast thinking sport, the game is quite enjoyable to play and watch. With the ball moving constantly from side to side you have to be mentally and physically prepared to compete at high levels. Team spirit, mental strength, physical strength, and concentration are all key factors when it comes to playing futsal. What I dislike about futsal? Regarding the game per se not that much! But I believe that Maltese Futsal deserves more respect and exposure, good quality courts for training and league matches, and also adequate security measures during competitive matches. In addition it requires adequate medical measures during competitive matches and the involvement of more dedicated people that love the sport .. through these measures only we may enhance our club and national level performances!

The best moment you have experienced so far

Any personal achievement at club or national level is a good experience … playing against top international players from around the world (Capuozzo, Ricardo Caputo, Rescia, Gréllo, Cuzzolino, Rogerio Da Silva to mention a few) and experiencing the futsal game at top level is not an everyday occurrence .. but if I had to mention one it must be the back to back wins achieved in San Marino. They were the first matches for me as captain of the national team, and together, we wrote history by gaining two wins in a row .. certainly one to treasure!

What are your objectives as a team?

Definitely trying to win any domestic title at disposal with Luxol St. Andrews, and having a good team performance in Lithuania for the FIFA Futsal European Qualifiers.

What are your personal objectives?

Continue working hard under the guidance of our current coach in order to keep on enhancing my knowledge about the futsal game. “There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success.”

Unity and concentration key factors after positive results

The Maltese national team has returned home from San Marino tired but satisfied after achieving two positive results in the double fixture against the host team. 

The Maltese side got off to a good start after beating San Marino 5-1 on Saturday and succeeded to make a double after seeing off the home side 5-3 a day later.

This website spoke to Xavier Saliba, Matthew Attard and Mark Zammit who seemed overwhelmed by the performance given by the Maltese lads.

“We were a mix of new and established players in the team. I believe we worked well together and this could be confirmed by the exceptional performance we have showed.”

On a personal note, Xavier Saliba managed to score two more goals in this double fixture for Malta to add his personal tally to 19 goals and confirm his record of being the all-time leading marksman in the futsal national team.

On the other hand, promising youngster Matthew Attard was elated after scoring his first goal for Malta.

“It was a wonderful experience scoring my first goal with the national team.I wish there will be more in the future. ”

Attard wants to keep his feet on the ground and spoke in a collective way rather than concentrating on his individual feat.

“The most important thing is that we play as a team and keep united to face each match in a confident way. ”

The Luxol youngster recognized that he still has a lot to learn but he is willing to improve his tactical skills.

Mark Zammit confirmed his team’s positive achievement.

“It was a very positive performance by all the team . We enjoyed the majority of possession in both matches. This has helped a lot in building the team’s confidence in view of upcoming matches. Although we trained for only a week prior to our visit here, the coach’s new system of defending proved to be fruitful and helped us a lot in achieving the victories.”

The mighty Luxol striker enjoyed his experience at the Sport-Domus Complex in San Marino.

“We were treated well by hosts and also enjoyed playing on parquet court; something we are not used to in Malta. ”

These matches have been a perfect preparation for the upcoming FIFA Futsal European qualifiers in Kaunas, Lithuania, where the  opponents will be France, Albania and Lithuania.

 

Franco Cachia for European Futsal Cup in Slovenia

The UEFA Referees’ Committee has appointed FIFA referee Franco Cachia for a Futsal Cup mini-tournament organized by the Football Association of Slovenia this coming week.

KMN Dobovec (Slovenia), SL Benfica (Portugal), FC Grand Pro Varna (Bulgaria), MNK Centar Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) will be contesting this Main Round Group B mini-tournament to be played on the 30th September, 01st and 03rd October in the Sporthall Podčetrtek, Podcetrtek.

 The other referees taking charge of the matches with Franco Cachia will be Sebastian Stawicki (Poland), Ilya Akimitsev (Russia) and Ramil Namazov (Azerbaijan).  Azra Ahmetović (Slovenia) will act as Timekeeper.

UEFA representatives Andreas Demetriou (Cyprus) and Marinus Den Engelsman (Nederlands) will act as Referee Observer and Delegate, respectively.    

Malta turn tables to register double on San Marino

Malta obtained a deserved 5-3  victory over San Marino  at the Sport Domus Complex to register a double over their opponents after winning the first match 24 hours earlier.

It wasn’t an easy task for the national team as they had to come from 3-1 down to make a great comeback and achieve their mission.

Malta broke the deadlock in the opening minutes but San Marino reacted and scored twice before the break.

In the second half, our opponents added another one until Peter Pullicino, 11 minutes from the end,  opted for the flying keeper to pile more pressure on the San Marino rearguard.

This move paid dividends as Malta managed to score three times to secure their second consecutive win.

Dylan Musu hit the target twice while Luke Stivala, Carl Azzopardi and Xavier Saliba added more goals for Malta.

The latter continued with his goal-scoring spree as he hit his 19th international goal to strengthen his record number of goals for Malta.

Without doubt this double victory has boosted the players’ moral ahead of next month’s FIFA Futsal European qualifiers to be played in Kaunas, Lithuania.

 

 

 

 

 

Malta triumphs in San Marino

Malta registered a comfortable 5- 1 victory against San Marino to win the first out of two matches away from home soil.

Peter Pullicino, who was making his official debut as the national coach, saw his team dominating the match, enjoying a good amount of possession and creating lots of goal scoring opportunities.

Xavier Saliba, Carl Azzopardi, Melvin Borg and Matthew Attard were the goal-getters for Malta as San Marino conceded an own goal to make it 5-0.

In the dying seconds of the game, San Marino pulled a consolation goal to narrow the gap to 5-1.

These matches are a perfect preparation for the upcoming FIFA Futsal European qualifiers in Kaunas, Lithuania, where the  opponents will be France, Albania and Lithuania.

Tomorrow Malta plays its second game against San Marino at 10.30hrs.

A Closer Look At … Matthew Mifsud (Valletta)

Name: Matthew Mifsud

Born on the 5th February 1978

Lives in Tarxien

Works as a medical doctor

Plays as a goalkeeper with Valletta

How did you begin to play futsal?

My long time friend John Cutajar had been playing futsal for a number of years, and had long since trying to lure me into futsal. I was reluctant due to heavy work commitments that had originally forced me to leave football. Finally I gave in and was drafted to replace the goalkeeper at Naxxar Motors way back in 2008 who were at the time led by Jesmond Caruana . I quickly secured my place and never looked back since.

Talk about the teams you have played with so far.

I haven’t journeyed much, having played exclusively with Naxxar Motors for 4 amazing years (where we have won 3 KOs and reached the final twice out of 4 semifinal playoffs) before stopping due to personal reasons. I was asked to join newly promoted side San Gwann in 2013 by Leandros Calleja who was their coach at the time. Narrowly missing out on a place in the final the following year together with a strong nucleus of San Gwann players and including the coach I joined Valletta where I am to this day. During these years I have been lucky enough to be called up to play with the national team under the helm of first Vic Hermans and subsequently Mark Marlow, who also handed my the honour of captaining the side.

What do you like and dislike in futsal?

Futsal is a fast game where everyone needs to give his utmost. Everyone is involved in the game, unlike football where subs are sometimes only introduced late in the game. In my opinion it is more thrilling and more exciting to watch, and I believe there is much more scope for improvement locally. Can’t say I dislike anything as such about futsal….Unless you mean futsal in Malta where I could list a million things…

The best moment you have experienced so far.

Some unforgettable moments were winning the first ever international match against Palestine in Libya and the first ever international home win against Switzerland, but I like to believe my best moment might yet come…

What are your objectives as a team?

We are aiming to better last year’s result, hence our objective is to reach the final. And then who knows? Besides being a strong side we are also a very close-knit group and so far we have trained hard to achieve them. So we hope for a good season!

What are your personal objectives?

My personal objectives are to enjoy the game as much as possible and naturally aid my team in securing its objectives.

Mdina Knights’ impressive launch

UoM (University of Malta) Mdina Knights Futsal officially launched their second presence in the local futsal league, during a presentation held at the University’s IT Services Auditorium.

This second season will be the continuation of a successful project between the MUSC (Malta University Sports Club), KSU (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji) and Mdina Knights FC together with new sponsors coming on board. UoM Mdina Knights invested a lot in improving the team’s image as this also reflects the image of the University Students. During the launch those present were really impressed with the positive approach shown from the UoM Mdina Knights executive committee and players. Together with the hard working training in preparation for the coming league, UoM Mdina Knights will be always in touch with their followers through the brand new website which incorporates all the social media and will include live blogging and live score during Mdina Knights Futsal’s matches. They also introduced a membership scheme with various advantageous offers from the sponsors. UoM Mdina Knights will make a hit in their merchandising which will boost up during the University Freshers Week and also will be available online. Apart from the commercial aspect which will help the clubs’ growth, RIDT (Research, Innovation & Development Trust) will be part of the Mdina Knights’ Project where part of the membership fee will be dedicated to ALS’ research. Various activities like Futsal Friendlies will also be organised as part of the fund raising for the University’s research to combat Motor Neuron diseases like ALS.

Last but not least, UoM Mdina Knights Futsal presented their new official kit which will be used throughout the coming futsal season. The kit’s colour is white based with red and royal blue which incorporates the University of Malta and the affiliation with Mdina Knights FC.

A Closer Look At … Peter Pullicino (National Team Coach)

Recently the Malta Football Association appointed Peter Pullicino as the Maltese Futsal National Team’s Coach.

Pullicino is a qualified UEFA A Coach at senior level and Youth Elite. He is also a qualified Physical Trainer in Football and a Personal Trainer. Pullicino covered MFA courses in goal keeping, I.T. in football and recently finished a course in Sports Nutrition. Currently he is also studying to obtain the PRO licence.

He started his adventure in futsal when 17 years of age, where he played for a short period of years in Australia at State level. He resumed his futsal esperience in Malta where he played for a further six months with Qormi before joining Luxol and winning the league.

Pullicino’s football coaching career consists of 4 years as Assistant Coach at Birkirkara and another 4 years as the Minors coach at Birkirkara in which they won the league.  Presently he is the Physical Trainer of the U16, U19 & U21 Malta National Teams and also the Malta Futsal National Team Coach.

Apart from his career, Peter Pullicino stated that he is a family man with a wonderful wife who blessed him with two great boys, Ryan & Dylan, now aged six and nine. He describes himself as a competitive person when it matters, but pretty relaxed otherwise.

Finally his expectations as a National Coach are pretty simple. These consist of a team of players doing their best, working together as a team and creating a difficult barrier as possible for their opponents to beat them. Peter Pullicino expects nothing less when representing Malta.

Gatorade League and KO draws made

League champions Luxol were handed a comfortable start to their title defence when they were drawn against newcomers Sliema as the draws of the Gatorade Futsal League and KO competition were held at the Corradino Pavillion.

Meanwhile last year’s play-off finalists Valletta and Hamrun will start their commitments against Sirens and Lija respectively.

On the other hand, the St Andrews side received a bye  alongside Sirens  to the second round of the KO competition.

Matches from the first round will be played between October 5 and 9 while the league  is scheduled to start in November.

Consequently, the FMA will decide Luxol’s opponent in the Gatorade Super Cup as last year’s KO finalists Balzan dropped their participation.

The draws resulted as follows:

Gatorade Futsal League Day 1

Luxol vs Sliema

Mqabba vs Qrendi

Zebbug vs Msida

Sirens vs Valletta

Marsaskala vs Swieqi

Lija vs Hamrun

Mdina vs Gozo

Gatorade Futsal KO competition First Round draws

Valletta vs Sliema

Mqabba vs Gozo

Swieqi vs Marsaskala

Hamrun vs Zebbug

Lija vs Msida

Qrendi  vs Mdina