Malta Football Association
NEWS:
INTRIGUING PAIRINGS AS TOP TEAMS ARE KEPT APART
Jan 18, 2013
Posted in:
General
Cups & Competitions

When the U*BET FA Trophy fourth round draws were made on the 3rd of December 2012 some intriguing ties emerged.


 


 

There were seven Premier, six 1st Division, one 2nd Division and two teams from Gozo in the hat, with officials of these 16 remaining teams eager to know who their opponents would be.  

 

The new format of the competition, with all national league and most GFA teams in the starting grid, was introduced by the MFA last year to whip up more interest in the prestigious FA Trophy matches.

 

This was spelt out by Bjorn Vassallo during a Press Conference which included the draws. The MFA CEO said that this 75th edition of the competition generated increased interest especially among supporters of the lower division clubs and those from Gozo.

 

‘All of these clubs relish the possibility of their team meeting one of the top sides. Some of the underdogs have done exceptionally well to advance in the competition, while others from the lower tiers as well as some Gozitan teams deserve credit for their performances against bigger and more quoted opponents.’

 

The association’s Chief Executive Officer went on to stress that there is great enthusiasm surrounding the U*BET FA Trophy  especially from clubs in the lower divisions and those from the sister island.

 

‘There is a postive feeling now since Maltese footbal is not just about the Premier League,’ Vassallo said.

 

Finally he thanked the sponsors for being fully behind the MFA when the association embarked on this plan to create a new format of the competition.

 

On her part, Ms Iris Mifsud on behalf of Maltco Lotteries, said that the company is willing to explore further incentives to help local football.

 

As for the draws, the only all Premier tie was that between Qormi and Birkirkara, while St. Andrew’s and Mqabba were the other teams from the same tier – the 1st Division - to be paired together.

 

The two teams from Gozo, Nadur Youngsters and Sannat Lions will be facing Valletta and Rabat Ajax respectively in what should be attractive ties. Holders Hibernians were drawn against 1st Division team Gudja while Premier sides Floriana and Balzan face Lija Athletic and Gzira Utd (from the 1st Division) respectively.

The stage is now set for the last 16 matches to be played between the 18th and 23rd January 2013. Enthusiasm will be at high pitch and it is expected that the eight matches will attract huge crowds to the different venues.

 

Meanwhile, the quarter-finals to be played on 17th February will bring together the winners of the Balzan/Gzira tie against Qormi or Birkirkara. The other matches are St Andrew’s/Mqabba v Lija/Floriana, Sannat/Rabat v Valletta/Nadur and Gudja/Hibernians v Marsaskala/Zebbuń°. Another round of keenly-expected ties.

 

Certainly, the MFA’s foresight in revamping the second most important competition in Maltese football is being vindicated. 

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