Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Another difficult match but we must stay positive – Farrugia
Oct 13, 2018
Posted in:
General
National Team
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE
Malta coach Ray Farrugia (left) and Andrei Agius during the MD-1 press conference.
Malta coach Ray Farrugia (left) and Andrei Agius during the MD-1 press conference.

  • Malta coach Ray Farrugia (left) and Andrei Agius during the MD-1 press conference.

National coach Ray Farrugia knows that Malta have another tough test on their hands on Sunday when they face an Azerbaijan side buoyed by their 3-0 win away to the Faroe Islands in Torshavn in their last UEFA Nations League Group D3 match last Thursday.
 


 “We know that tomorrow (Sunday) we are in a for a very difficult game,” Farrugia told the pre-match press conference at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, venue of Sunday's match (kick-off 18.00 – Malta time).

 

“Azerbaijan are coming from a good 3-0 win over Faroe Islands whereas we had a very difficult match away to Kosovo.

 

“But, this is another game and as always, our aim is to give our utmost and strive to obtain a result. We must remain positive.”

 

Malta trained at the Olympic Stadium in Baku this evening. There are no injuries but captain Michael Mifsud misses out as he is suspended following his red card in the 3-1 defeat to Kosovo. On the plus side, Joseph Zerafa returns from suspension.

 

Farrugia suggested that the coaching staff are planning to make some changes and bring in some ‘fresh legs’ after the Kosovo game.

 

UNDER-21 PRAISE

 

The Malta coach congratulated the Under-21 team for their 2-1 home victory over Hungary in a UEFA Under-21 Group 6 qualifier on Friday, adding that such performances and results augur well for the future.

 

“I take the opportunity to congratulate the Malta Under-21 team for their win over Hungary,” the national coach said.

 

“This augurs well for the future.

 

“We are in a process of transition as we’re trying to introduce more young, under-21 players in the senior squad but we need to be patient. This will not happen overnight.

 

“Joseph Mbong and Juan Corbalan played against Kosovo and we also have Jake Grech with us. We plan to bring in more young players but it’s a gradual process.

 

“We will suffer along the way but I’m convinced that we will bear the fruit of this work in the future.”

 

Malta defender Andrei Agius, who has now scored in the last two UEFA Nations League matches, said: “I agree with what the coach has said. Every match is difficult for us but we always try to play our game.

 

“Azerbaijan are a good team but we have our gameplan, our tactics and we will give everything to take something from this match.”

 

MOVE TOWARDS PROFESSIONALISM


The Hibernians defender stressed that for Maltese football, and sports in general, to really make the step-up in the international scene, there needs to be a shift towards real professionalism.

 

“If we take Kosovo as an example, it’s easy to see why they are already strong,” Agius said.

 

“They are a new nation for UEFA but if you look at their players, where they play at club level and also the nations they represented before opting to play for Kosovo, you will see that their presence in this division is temporary.

 

“I see them in Pot 3 or 4 in the future, but they don’t belong to this category.

 

“The difference between us, Kosovo, Azerbaijan etc is simple, it's down to a simple word... being professional.

"We need to have a system where the players and athletes are true professionals 365 days a year but the current situation not only in Maltese football but sports in general is not like that at the moment.

 

“And it’s not only the players but the whole industry that needs to step up to professionalism. This is the only road to success for us.”

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