Last season was without doubt an historic one for the University of Malta Futsal Team. With limited resources, the team where part of Malta’s futsal elite, and in the end finished the season off in a strong 5th place out of 16 teams. This season however, the team isn’t resting on its laurels at all. The start of summer saw the Knights’ slogan for the season #DareToAchieve first come to light, showing the extent of the team’s ambitions for this season.
There have been changes to the team itself since the end of last season. Possibly one of the most important changes came within the team’s staff. Stuart Diacono was appointed as UM Futsal Team Manager, a move which brings a man of vast experience in Futsal, Diacono has been worked at Zabbar, Lija and title-winners Valletta, into the squad. Andrew Camilleri, one of the team’s founding members, meanwhile makes the jump from player to coach as he replaces Tyrone Grech as Assistant Coach.
In the court itself meanwhile, there are some new faces as well. The team has been strengthened by a number of new signings, two of whom hail from outside of Malta. Nermin Hasanbegovic is a 27 year old Slovenian pivot who brings with him experience at a very high level having played with SD Brezje Maribor in his home country. Maribor won both the league and cup twice in a row and also competed in the UEFA Futsal Cup, where Hasanbegovic featured 9 times and bagged 3 goals, helping his team to the Elite round. Joselito Aguilera meanwhile comes from the sunnier side of Europe – Spain to be precise! The 25 year old has played across a number of clubs in Spain’s 3rd tier of Futsal, and this is his first sporting adventure outside of his native country.
In terms of domestic players, the Knights have also made a couple of additions. Gary Inguanez signed with the team early in summer, bringing a wealth of experience to the squad having played in both association football with the likes of Senglea Athletics and in futsal with Lija and then reigning champions Valletta. Not only that, but Inguanez also becomes the player with the most National Team caps to ever don the white University kit. Inguanez is joined by another 2 new faces; Alex Ellul, who has experience with Zabbar and Hamrun Tre Angeli, and Alistair Scerri, who was picked from the team’s trials week back in summer.
Despite what may seem to be quite a substantial overhaul; the team’s backbone is still well and truly in place. Stefan Cutajar is entering his second term as President of the club, whilst it’s a fourth season at the helm for coach Kyle Sultana. Club captain Matthew Gatt also remains, whilst the familiar names of Dylan Cacciattolo, Aidan Caruana, Rodney Debono, Paul Scerri and Shawn Deguara can all still be found on the teamsheets for this season.
Indeed we are pleased to say that after a tough pre-season, the team has gotten off to the best possible start to the 2017/18 campaign; coming from 3-1 down to beat Mriehel ESS 6-4 in the knock-out and kicking off their league duties with a 2-0 win against Qormi.