Malta Football Association
Michael Mifsud reaches a milestone in his glittering career
Sep 11, 2015
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Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

Alex Vella


Considering that goals for a low-pedigree football nation such as Malta are at a premium, our small island can boast of a remarkable scorer who has outdone some of the greatest goal-grabbing performers on the international stage.


His goal number 40 for Malta against Azerbaijan in a Euro 2016 qualifier on 6 September at Ta’ Qali National Stadium epitomised his striking skills as he hit a thunderous shot with perfect body co-ordination and exceptional accuracy to send the opposing net bulging.


His finger language then when signifying number 40 said it all as he was embraced by his jubilant team-mates and met by the spectators’ elation.


That was a huge moment in Mifsud’s glittering career which will remain as a legacy in the years ahead.


His duty for Malta started in 2000 against Albania. Fifteen years and 112 caps on his scoring traits are still alive and literally ‘kicking’ as he kept banging in the goals with notable regularity. He netted his first goal against Iceland in a World Cup qualifier in 2001.


After that baptism of fire Mifsud maintained his scoring momentum.


The 40-goal milestone was not a co-incidence given the player’s instinct and eye for the opposing net. The fact that very few players can take pride in reaching such a landmark rightly qualifies Mifsud as one who deserves a place in the pantheon of the world’s top marksmen at national team level.


Moreover, he beat the odds when one takes into account that Malta is up against much stronger footballing nations most of the time. That, besides the fact that goals against today’s organised rearguards are not easy to come by.


His career at club level started with his home town team Sliema Wanderers. He twice topped the domestic scoring charts before he was lured to Kaiserslautern in Germany and the Norwegian side Lillestrom, teams in their respective top divisions.


His move to Coventry City in England brought further fame for the diminutive 1.65m striker, mostly when he scored a famous brace in his team’s 2-0 win against Manchester United in a League Cup match in September 2007. He was then dubbed by the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello sport as ‘Il messi di Malta.’


Back in his home country, a sojourn with Valletta and Qormi was followed by his brief venture in the Australian major league. After a short ‘sabbathical’ his prodigal instincts brought him back to his parent club, Sliema Wanderers.


His ‘Sporstman of the Year’ awards in 2001 and 2003 also testify to the player’s recognition in Malta on a wider sporting scene.


What else can one say except that Mifsud did his country proud in a global sport, a feat which, hopefully, will continue blossoming despite his ripe age?


Well done Michael.

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