Malta Football Association
‘National team players are role models for all’ Devis Mangia
Sep 28, 2021
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Credit: Domenic Aquilina
Credit: Domenic Aquilina

‘All the national team players are considered role models for the younger generations and thus I cannot turn a blind eye to their actions’ said National Teams Head Coach Devis Mangia when speaking to the media in what is now turning into an established practice following the 30-man call up issued last Friday. 

Mr Mangia was speaking about his decision to leave out the three Hibernians players from the squad; namely Andrei Agius, Ferdinando Apap and Bjorn Kristensen following the hefty ban they received recently.  Coach Devis Mangia explained that the players sign a code of ethics and they are expected to follow this.  ‘They did a mistake and they have to face consequences’ emphasized the National Team Coach.   He stated that this decision was for this international window only and that the players are still in his plans. Devis Mangia reiterated that before the call up was issued he spoke to each of the three players individually to explain his decision.


Devis Mangia specified that the decision was taken also as the National Teams Head Coach, whereas in the past he reprimanded an Under 17 player for getting a 3-match ban, and so he cannot have claims of two weights, two measures because one player is in senior team and one is in youths.  Mr Mangia said that his wish was that Hibernians win the match and was very disappointed that they did not pass onto the next round since this would have been another feather in the cap for Maltese football in general.   


During the press conference it was announced that Yannick Yankam, has dropped out of the team due to health issues and is recovering in hospital.  The Coach, on behalf of all the team, wishes Yankam a speedy recovery.  He will not be replaced in the squad.


James Brown is one of the new faces in the team and Devis Mangia explained that he wanted to assess the extent of his recent injury and see him playing at close range. 


When speaking about Shaun Dimech and him being left out of the Valletta squad, Mr Mangia explained that he will never criticise the work of another coach.  He stressed that Dimech must understand why he is out of Valletta’s first eleven and clear it with his team.  Devis Mangia explained that he will find time to work with Coach Cardoso Mendez to find ways to help Dimech, as they both want to see the player improve and grow.


Another new face is Under 21 player Adam Magri Overend, who found a place in the national team following the exclusion of the three Hibernians players.  ‘Despite being young, he has performed well and he has the skills to continue to grow’ said Devis Mangia


This week the Malta FA was criticised for flying straight after the match and sending the players to their clubs without a proper recovery session.  Mr Mangia explained that this criticism is unfound.  The Malta FA is following UEFA and FIFA rules that state that players must be released by the association in the morning of the day after the last match of their team in the tournament. Mr Mangia declared that if all Club Presidents agreed, he and his team can conduct a recovery session on home soil, if UEFA and FIFA rules allow it.  He mentioned that anyone can criticise the work and how it is done, however he believes that it is hard work and dedication that will speak for the team and its worth.


The National Team will face Slovenia on the 8th of October and four days later play against Cyprus in Larnaca as part of their commitments in the FIFA World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.

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