Malta Football Association
Balzan coach wants to make home advantage count
Jul 12, 2018
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
The Balzan FC pre-match press conference. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
The Balzan FC pre-match press conference. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • The Balzan FC pre-match press conference. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Action from the Gżira-Sant Julia match. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Balzan FC kick off their European campaign this evening when they take on Azerbaijan side Kesla FK in the first leg of qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off 18.00).

Addressing the pre-match press conference, Balzan FC coach Marko Micovic said his team have been training hard for the past six weeks ahead of this important game.


“We know we are facing a very difficult opponent,” the Serbian coach said.


“We have to make sure that we are on top of our game to keep progressing in this competition and put the setback of missing out on the title last season behind us,” the Serbian coach said.


“It’s not my intention to play a waiting game.


“We are at home and we have to do our utmost not just to score and please our fans, but also to try and get a positive result ahead of the long trip to Azerbaijan and difficult game against Keshla.”


Left-back Steve Bezzina, who will be taking over the captain’s armband following the departure of Paul Fenech, said the team is in high spirits.


“We had a very positive training camp in Slovenia where we managed to beat FC Vardar from Macedonia 4-2 and only lost 2-1 against strong Croatian side Rijeka,” Bezzina said.


Balzan have made some significant changes to their squad, signing goalkeeper Steve Sultana and Dale Camilleri from Ħamrun Spartans, promising midfielder Neil Frendo from Mosta and Riccardo Correa Duarte from Sliema Wanderers, while Lydon Micallef has returned following his loan spell with Ħamrun Spartans.


Ryan Fenech and Paul Fenech have left the club to join Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara respectively while defender Clive Brincat is no longer part of the squad.


Vlad Simovic, the sports director of Balzan FC, spoke about the transfer activity so far in this close season.


“We’re happy with the squad we’ve got at the moment,” Simovic said.


“For the past few weeks, our focus has been solely on this double Keshla fixture, and our future transfer plans depend on our progress in the Europa League.”




Meanwhile, Gżira United will be looking to extend their positive run in the Europa League when they meet Serbian side Radnicki Nis in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie in Cair, Niš (kick-off 21.00).


The Maroons advanced to this round after beating Andorra’s Sant Julia 4-1 on aggregate.


Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla said the team has been preparing well for this game but they are aware that Radnicki Nis are tougher opponents compared to Sant Julia.


“We’ve been watching footage of our next opponents. Radnicki are stronger than Sant Julia but we will go there and do our best,” Abdilla said


“Like us, Radnicki had not played in Europe for 30 years. We’re expecting a difficult atmosphere against a relentless side vying to obtain qualification in their 20,000-capacity stadium before heading back to Malta for the return match.”


The only injury doubt for Abdilla is midfielder Zack Scerri.

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