Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Emotional scenes as MFA honours 1957 veterans
Feb 24, 2017
Posted in:
General
National Team

There was no escaping the sense of appreciation, respect and nostalgia at the VVIP Lounge of the National Stadium this afternoon. The sight of six veteran stalwarts of Maltese football making their way into the hall to take part in an event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the national team’s first official international match certainly enriched the allure of what turned out to be a very special occasion.


There were many poignant moments as Lolly Borg, Tony Cauchi, Joe Cilia, Joe Cini, Victor Scerri and Nazzareno Alamango, the latter part of the squad called up by then national coach Joe Griffiths to train ahead of the match, revived many memories from their exceptional careers, not least their recollections of that historic game against Austria which had captured the imagination of the sporting public.

 

This was all about that landmark occasion in the history of Maltese football and those who were part of it, to the delight of Malta FA President Norman Darmanin Demajo who looked visibly emotional as ‘goalkeeper’ Scerri, still sharp and witty, and his former Malta team-mates embraced.

 

A video clip containing original footage from the Malta-Austria game set the tone for an enjoyable gathering, certainly a fitting tribute to those who were involved in that extraordinary match which drew a crowd of over 20,000 to the Empire Stadium.

 

The home fans turned up more in hope than expectation but, by the final whistle, their spirits were sky-high after goals by Tony Cauchi and Sammy Nicholl set up an amazing finale with Austria just clinging on to their one-goal lead to win 3-2.
 

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo read out a message of congratulations sent by FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the occasion.

 

“The best representation of football’s universal beauty lies in local stories like yours: an island with a cultural heritage built by different peoples over the centuries and yet whose small and diverse population comes together to embrace the game at all levels.

 

"Your national football team is a living picture of that richness, and it is my pleasure to salute you on its 60th anniversary,” the FIFA President wrote.

 

Mr Darmanin Demajo then presented commemorative gifts to the veteran stalwarts.

 

The gifts included a silver frame containing a colour photo of the Malta team for that 1957 game, a bottle of wine from a limited edition of 60, a national team shirt and an exact replica of the original match programme.

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