Malta Football Association
Champions face newcomers as 2019-20 Premier League kicks off
Aug 23, 2019
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BOV Premier League

The 2019-20 BOV Premier League rolls into action this weekend with the first seven fixtures – four on Friday and three on Saturday.

The 14 top-flight teams will be eyeing a strong start to lift optimism as they strive to make their mark and attain their pre-set objectives at the end of the season.


A host of teams have high hopes of challenging for the title, others will be aiming to qualify for Europe and there is also a bunch of clubs whose main aim is to retain their BOV Premier League status.


Gżira United vs Ħamrun Spartans (Friday at 18.30, National Stadium)

Gżira United face Ħamrun Spartans in their opener, a fixture that pits Italian coach Giovanni Tedesco against his former team.


“After our positive summer where we managed to advance to the second qualifying round of the Europa League, we are now focusing on another domestic season,” Tedesco said.


“We know that we have a team capable of challenging for the top positions this season but I keep saying we are still the surprise package as there are three to four other teams who will start as favourites.”


Ħamrun Spartans will be looking to build on their fourth-place finish last season under the guidance of former Juventus player Manuele Blasi who has replaced Tedesco.


“I’m very enthusiastic and can’t wait for the start of this new adventure in Malta,” Blasi told


“Honestly, neither I nor the squad have any specific objectives at this stage but we will adopt a game-by-game approach. We know that this will be a difficult championship where we have to work tirelessly to obtain the desired results.”


Sirens vs Senglea Athletic (Friday at 18.30, Centenary Stadium)


Sirens, promoted as First Division champions, begin their first season in the top echelon with a match against Senglea Athletic.


Steve D’Amato, the Sirens coach, said: “This is my ninth season as a Premier League coach and I hope that my experience will be useful to Sirens in their first ever season in the top flight. Needless to say, our objective is to keep our Premier League status and improve game after game as we strive to steer clear of the relegation zone as early as possible.”


Senglea, who have signed a host of a young players, will also be aiming to preserve their Premier League status.


“While we will be looking to give young players the opportunity to showcase their talent in the top league, our top target is for Senglea Athletic to remain in the Premier League for the third season running,” former Malta international Mario Muscat, the club’s goalkeepers’ coach, said.


Birkirkara vs Floriana (Friday at 20.30, National Stadium)


One of the stand-out fixtures of the opening weekend of the 2019-20 BOV Premier League is the clash between Birkirkara and Floriana, two clubs that are determined to improve on their performances last season.


John Buttigieg, the coach of Birkirkara said: “There is a perception that Birkirkara have been extremely busy in the transfer market but this was inevitable with many foreigners leaving and other players looking for pastures new.


“We have faith in this group of players and we must do our best to finish as high as possible in the standings.”


Floriana coach Enzo Potenza, who was in charge of Senglea Athletic last season, is aiming high.


“We know there are high expectations for my team after our transfer activity but we have a long-term project and this group of players needs nurturing,” the Italian said.


“We need to raise our standards week in week out and try our best to finish in a strong position in the table, possibly competing with the big teams challenging for honours or European qualification.”


Valletta vs Santa Lucia (Friday at 20.45, Centenary Stadium)

Champions Valletta launch their title defence with a game against newly-promoted side Santa Lucia for whom this will be their first experience in the BOV Premier League.


Darren Abdilla, the Valletta coach, said that the team’s target is to try and retain the title but he expects a challenging campaign.


“Our target is to defend the title won last season by trying to win every match but we are fully aware that this will be a tough campaign as the other title challengers have been preparing well for the new season,” the former Gżira United coach said.


“We have just concluded a very positive European campaign and I’m sure that our players will benefit from this experience as we pursue another championship success.”


Santa Lucia’s ambitions are understandably different from those of Valletta with coach Oliver Spiteri confident that his young squad can be competitive.


“Our foremost objective is to retain our Premier League status,” Spiteri said.


“We know that we are in for a difficult season.We have a young, inexperienced squad but I’m confident that we can improve with every game. I believe that we have assembled a squad that can play good football and be competitive.”

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