Category: A Closer Look At

A Closer Look At … Clive Calleja (Safi San Lorenzo)

Name: Clive Calleja
Born on: 29.12.1987
Plays for Safi San Lorenzo
Works as: Accountant
Hobbies: Football; supporting Liverpool

How long have you been playing futsal?
I started futsal in 2009 where I joined Los Street boys. On my first season we won promotion to the 1st Division equivalent to nowadays top division. We played a decider against Sliema Bilbao. The match ended 1-1 and we won through a penalty shootout. Against all odds during the same season we also managed to make it to the final of the knockout but we lost the match against a much better equipped Naxxar Motors.

The following season we played in the top flight division where we encountered various difficulties due to the higher level in this division. However it was a great experience for all players involved. After this season Los Street Boys and Luxol Futsal Club joined forces and I also had a small spell with Luxol.

In season 2012/13 I joined Vittoriosa Stars who had a similar squad setup as my previous team and that was the main driving force which led to join Vittoriosa Stars. We won promotion from 1st division to Premier by placing 2nd place. The following season we had a good season in the top flight and again managed to make the finals of the knockout but we lost the final against Balzan

In 2014/15 I had a short spell with Balzan which was a learning curve in my futsal career. Now I am part of Safi San Lorenzo on our first year as a futsal club and I am looking forward to achieve all the targets of the club.

What do you think about this sport?
When I started playing futsal the sport was on a high. Everybody was interested in playing futsal and in fact there were 4 divisions which made it very interesting. However for various reasons nowadays Maltese futsal is losing its appeal and one can say that this is a shame. In my opinion we are risking of losing this beautiful game from the local scene and all of us who love this sport need to join forces and find a common way how to make things interesting again for everyone involved in local sports.

How can you define Safi San Lorenzo’s championship so far?
This is our first year as a futsal club. Most of the players in the team have no experience in Futsal and therefore we always accepted the fact that our first season will be a hard fought one. We are using this season as a learning curve for all involved and in fact in January we managed to sign the experienced coach Kevin Mifsud in order to help us achieve this target.

Analysing the results one can easily see that we had our ups and downs but fortunately enough we are a very strong group and we always look forward to bounce back in the difficult moments.

What are your main objectives for this season?
Our objective at the start of the season was to make it to the playoffs of the 1st division. Luckily enough we still have a chance of doing so and therefore one must say that we still have a good opportunity of achieving our targets.

A Closer Look At … Marwan Telisi


Name: Marwan Telisi
Born on the 4th November 1987
Plays for Mreiehel ESS
Works at MT Designer Brand Clothes
Hobbies: Football
Motto in life: Concentrate and work hard till you reach the target.

How long have you been playing futsal?
I have been playing futsal for quite a long time, but in Malta this is my third season. I played with Qormi, Hamrun and now Mriehel ESS.

What do you think about this sport?
For me futsal is the best sport ever.

How can you define Mriehel’s championship so far?
Actually I joined Mriehel ESS in January together with three foreigners, who are very good futsal players together with coach Eslam Khalifa. We came to help the team to reach the top five teams. We are training hard and we still have to learn to improve ourselves.

In my opinion, Mriehel is becoming a surprising team. Do you agree with that?
I totally agree with you, because being the first time for Mriehel ESS to play in the Maltese futsal league and placing in the 6th place, it’s quite surprising. Keeping in mind that it’s not easy to play with the best futsal teams in the domestic league. As a team we have the opportunity to become one of the best teams in Malta as well.

What are your main objectives for this season?
Definitely our main objective is to be with the top 5 teams and then we’ll take it from there.

A Closer Look at….Roderick Mascena (Qormi Futsal)

Name: Roderick Mascena
Born on September 10th 1982.
Plays for Qormi Futsal.
Works in a pharmaceutical company.
Hobbies: Playing and watching football, Tennis, Snooker and Darts.
Motto in life: Life is a journey…enjoy the ride.

How long have you been playing futsal?

I have been playing this beautiful game for the last five years.

What do you think about this sport?
I think that it’s a sport that has been growing so fast during these years. In fact lots of coaches and players are involved and most of all I can mention the sterling job that the Malta Futsal School is doing with the kids.

How can you define Qormi’s championship so far?
I think that till now our season was satisfying. Actually this is what we’ve expected as we won the matches against teams of our level but found it a bit hard against the elite teams.

In my opinion, Qormi is a solid team with players that have been together for so many years. Do you agree with that?
Yes sure I do agree. We are a group of players that have been together for many years and we can define ourselves as one team.
With the addition of new players and a new coach, I feel that we are more competitive than ever also considering that our team is made up of Maltese players with only one foreigner in the squad.

What are your main objectives for this season?

Our aim is to reach the First Division play-offs and who knows, maybe we can achieve what we didn’t succeed to do last year; the championship.
Certainly it won’t be easy because all the teams are really strong but we will do our best to succeed in our mission.

A Closer Look at…Russell Camilleri (Zurrieq Wolves)

Name: Russell Camilleri.
Plays with Zurrieq Wolves
Born on April 12th 1985
Works in an IT department.
Motto in life: Limits hold you back / Everything in life worth doing is worth overdoing.

How long have you been playing futsal?

This is my 6th year in the futsal game. However I stopped playing futsal in the last 3 years after the restructuring of the league. So this is a sort of coming back from retirement.

What do you think about this game?
I love futsal because it requires great teamwork and discipline. Also, it’s a fast paced game which requires techniques. Actually, all players are highly involved in the game.

Talk about your season so far with Zurrieq Wolves.
Zurrieq Wolves returned to futsal after 4 years. We have a mix of experienced and new players who still need to get acquainted to the game. We have to improve game after game, but I believe we are on the right track.
Right now I am sidelined because I am recovering from an injury during a game. I hope to return to the game in March hopefully. I think considering the strength of our opponents I have had a good run so far. I always give my best for the team and myself
You didn’t get any point so far in the league..
The fact that we still have 0 points so far is a bit of a disappointment for sure. There were at least 3 games where we could have come out with points. In futsal a couple of minutes under distraction can cause the score line to be unreachable. It is a psychological thing which we need to improve. Also the fact that we play against highly competitive teams can be a bit of a demotivation from the initial whistle. However the morale is good and we play game by game. A victory for us would be a great achievement and I believe will get this satisfaction. Zurrieq Wolves has played consistently in futsal and the players do feel a sense of belonging due to the tradition of the club
Give your opinion about the current futsal league.
The current league has 4 top teams (Valletta, Hamrun, Luxol and Swieqi) which I believe will make a great challenge for the championship. Then there are some evenly balanced teams like Safi, UOM and Mriehel ESS which have some good foundation to improve in the game. Then there are the lower teams like ours which always start as underdogs. So it’s a 3 tier league, however any result can come out in every game.
What about your personal objectives?
My objective is to help my team in winning some games and scoring as much as possible. Also, I always try to learn some new tactics which can prove crucial in futsal.

A Closer Look at….David Peter Borg (Club Secretary – Valletta Futsal)


Who is David Peter Borg?
David Peter Borg is a hardworking, caring and a trustworthy person who always ready to help everyone. I’m 29 years old and I was born in Penrith – New South Wales – Australia.

What is your job with Valletta Futsal?
I’m the Club Secretary of Valletta FC Futsal Club since May 2016.

What do you think about the season so far?
The Season for us is quite good – we managed to win all 9 league matches from 9 and also a Knock-Out encounter against Tarxien. Unfortunately in November we lost the Super-Cup final against Luxol. But on the whole, we are performing quite well.

What is your opinion about the current futsal league?
My opinion regarding the current Futsal League is that in the near future I do hope for two divisions at least – Premier and First Division so that the teams can be evenly matched and hopefully the level of the game will rise up too and maybe we can gain more fans and players towards the Maltese Futsal in general.

You are the current league champions. This year you face a stiff competition from Luxol FC…
Well our target or club’s objectives is to reach the Final and be once again title Challengers. We know that Luxol have strengthened considerably their squad this season but we believe also that our players on form can match them quite well and give them a big challenge once again. If luck strikes on our side, you can never know what will happen. As they say – Not always the best team wins!

Finally, what are your personal objectives?
My personal objectives… Well to be honest I’m not a person which plans a lot about the future. I always try to be a simple person but ready when circumstances will occur. But my main objective is to do well at work, live the life the way I’m doing with friends, family and work colleagues, maybe have a girlfriend in the future who knows. I try to live day by day and see what happens and why not, try to travel more since I like visiting different countries.

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Seth Lawson Burkett … The boy in Brazil

Seth Lawson Burkett former futsal player in Brazil had the pleasure to share his professional insight with us.
He started playing futsal at the age of 8 in Peterborough United’s football academy where he played futsal once a week. The head of the academy at that time was Dan Ashworth who is now the FA’s director of elite development. Burkett started to play futsal professionally at the age of 18, first for Stamford AFC and soon after for Loughborough University, where he spent five seasons. Whilst at Loughborough he was called up for the England development squad. Since then he had a season at London United and now he’s playing for Baku United.
Burkett maintained that playing futsal as a young athlete is a no-brainer. First of all it’s fun. You get loads of touches and the chance to express yourself in any position. Too often young footballers are pushed into a position early on and stay there throughout their whole career.
Futsal encourages you to be comfortable defending close to your goal and creating goal-scoring opportunities. It’s a sport which creates confident, competent, rounded players who are technically advanced.
While playing in Brazil Seth Lawson Burkett attracted some attention as the only British footballer playing professionally in Brazil. In 2011, he was also called up to the England futsal squad. In 2014, he released a book on his time in Brazil, called The Boy in Brazil, which made The Independent’s Book of the Week in June.

A Closer Look at … Vanderlei Reis Augustus (Valletta Futsal)


Name: Vanderlei Reis Augusto.
Country: Brasil
Born on December 22nd 1980 (35 years old)
He played in Italy with Montesilvano, Pescara, Acqua e Sapone, Loreto Aprutino, Magione, Torgianesse and Minturno.
Last year he played for Luxol FC in the UEFA Futsal Cup and is now with Valletta FC in Finland for the same competition.

How long have you been training with Valletta FC?
I have joined Valletta three weeks ago and I was welcomed very well. It’s like I have been here for a long time. The group is very united and we have trained intensively under the guidance of a great coach, Clayton Felice.
We also had two friendlies where we performed really well.

How did you find the atmosphere at Valletta FC?
As I have just told you, the Citizens are really a great group. They are like a family; humble persons like me that want to do well and improve more and more.

Last year you also had the chance to play for Luxol FC in the UEFA Futsal Cup. Now you are playing for Valletta.
Yes true. I had the opportunity to play for Luxol and I can confirm that it was a great experience. In fact I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the Luxol committee for believing in me but most of all I would like to mention William Barbosa, a special friend that paved the way for me to play in Malta. It’s thanks to him that I’m experiencing another UEFA Futsal Cup, this time with Valletta.

You played in Italy with various teams and you have a wealth of experience. How did you begin to play futsal?
I have been playing in Italy since the year 2000 and I played for Montesilvano, Pescara, Acqua e Sapone, Loreto Aprutino, Magione, Torgianesse and Minturno.
I started playing this wonderful game at the age of 8 years and since them it has become like part of my life. I cannot imagine myself without playing futsal!

As a player you always played for a short time with a Maltese team. Can we see Vanderlei playing a whole season, maybe with Valletta?
Yes I’ve always come for a short time. I would like to make a whole season but for now, my main objective is to help Valletta perform well in this tournament.

Your personal objective in the future.
In the future I would like to be a coach or maybe a managing director in a futsal team. I would like to build my own team and achieve success, always doing so with humility and respect because that is what futsal is all about.

A Closer Look At … Keith Borg (Coach – Sirens)

Name: Keith Borg
Born on the 29th April 1980 in Attard
Favourite football player: Peter Schmeichel

Favourite futsal player: Ricardinho
Favourite Dish: Fish
Personal Motto: Believe in yourself and you will succeed


Why did you choose this sport?

I chose Futsal after I stopped from playing football due to a serious injury. I always enjoyed playing 5 a side football and when I was 14 years old I had the opportunity to play in Sicily.

How long have you been involved in futsal?

I have been involved in futsal for 11 years, where 8 of them as a player and the last 3 years in administration. My first team was named Boca Juniors which I founded and lasted for 5 yrs. Then I formed Naxxar Lions Futsal Team with Martin Attard, better known as Meme.


The memorable season in futsal that you remember most


There were many moments that I cherish but the last two years will remain marked in my life. Last season with Naxxar Lions we made it to the playoffs and this season Sirens played in the First Division Final against Sliema.


Describe your current team…Sirens

In the beginning of this season nobody considered Sirens to reach the First Division Final. Sirens has a very low budget and the players themselves pay for all the necessities of the club. Being a team formed only in the last five years they couldn’t train properly and focus on the basics of futsal.

As a coach I also worked hard to manage the team and took the responsibility of the team’s administration. This was fruitful in giving a boost in the club’s image and improving the way the team played throughout the season.

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Tell us something about the thesis you’re writing about futsal

The thesis named Improving futsal in Malta, it is self explaining that it is meant to improve the level of the game and increase in populatity. I’m presenting this thesis together with Claudio Azzopardi as part of the course I’m taking on Sports and Active Lifestyles.

We interviewed Peter Sturges ex national England coach and Michael Skubala who was his assistant at that time and now took Sturges’ place. Skubala apart from coaching England’s futsal national team, he also coaches the Under 23 national football team. The list of interviewees continues with Pete Yallance England’s youth futsal coach, Idafe Perez who’s a Spanish coach who worked and coached at Loughborough University. Perez is now head coach of Helvecia. Seth Burket London futsal player and ex youth England futsal player and Shanin Ehtesham Rassi from Iran who coaces London Futsal and played as a professional futsal player in Holland.

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Your personal objectives

I wish to continue learning about the wonderful game of futsal and that my thesis will serve to help all those involved in the local futsal scenario.

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A Closer Look at…Brandon Debono (Sliema Wanderers Futsal Club)

Name: Brandon Debono.
Born on July 30th 1994.
Place of Birth: Mqabba.
Works as a Deliveryman.
Favourite Group: U2
Favourite Dish: Spaghetti.
Personal Motto: Never give up and keep working hard.

How long have you been involved in this sport?
I have been practising this sport for the past four months.

How difficult is the role of the goalkeeper in futsal?
Actually the goalkeeper has to be always concentrated during all the match as he is involved continuously in a lot of saves. Statistically half of the shots at goal come from outside the arc. So one has to be on the alert.

How different is futsal from football?
The rules are different from football and the ball has a low bounce.

Sliema are passing from a bright patch and will now face Mqabba in the play-off semi-final. How difficult is the challenge for the championship?

It’s not going to be easy but we are adamant to keep our feet on the ground. We are working as a group and this is the key for success.

Sliema is also a mix of experienced and young players…

Yes it’s true. In fact I am the youngest player in the squad although it doesn’t make any difference. We all help each other and learn from one another. Unity is the key for success.

You have also scored your first goal in the league from a shot from the second penalty spot…
Yes I was very happy after scoring this goal from the second penalty spot. I would like to thank the team for giving me this golden opportunity.

Your personal objectives.
My personal objectives are to improve more in this sport. My greatest wish is to don the national team shirt.

A Closer Look at…Gaetano Gesualdi (Mdina Knights)

Name: Gaetano Gesualdi.
Born on February 15th 1992.
Personal Motto: Enjoy Life!

How long have you been playing futsal?
It’s quite recent. In fact I’ve been playing futsal since January 2016.

What do you think about this sport?
I find futsal quite an enjoyable sport. It was a bit difficult to adjust at the beginning but now I am enjoying the fast pace of this game.

Your name is also synonymous with the local football scene.
Yes in fact I started this season with Tarxien Rainbows and then moved in the First Division with St Georges.

In my opinion, Mdina Knights is a particular squad with a lot of young players full of energy and determination…
We are quite a large squad and with many of us studying and working at the same time, futsal lets us take off a lot of stress.
At the same time I think that this team is ONE big group that has the goal to improve more and more.

A personal judgement on your performance so far.
On a personal level I think that I had quite a good half season. We may not have achieved the results that we wanted but our bond as a team has grown more and more.

What are your personal objectives?
My personal objectives are to finish my degree successfully and continue enjoying life as a student.