Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seeking a positive performance in Croatia by Sandro Micallef from Split

Birkirkara seeking a positive performance in Croatia

The training grounds of the Poljud Stadium was the venue for Birkirkara’s first training session ahead of their UEFA Cup first qualifying round match against Hajduk Split of Croatia. The contingent which is led by John Borg and Emanuel Zammit International Secretary and Board member respectively arrived in Split Tuesday evening in view of Thursday’s match which will be played in front of an estimated 25,000 crowd.

The Stripes first training session was held on Wednesday at 11:00 whilst the final re-touch session ahead of Thursday’s game was held later on in the evening in the Poljud Stadium at 21:00 same time of Thursday’s kick-off. The Birkirkara contingent is also being accompanied by the locality Mayor Michael Fenech Adami. The team is composed of 19 players which includes Thomas Paris who will unfortunately miss Thursday’s UEFA Cup encounter against Hajduk since he is suspended following his red card in last season’s first round second leg Intertoto game against Maribor of Slovenia. Birkirkara’s mentor John Buttigieg can choose his starting line up from the following players which are all in Croatia:

Omar Borg, Bernard Paris, Emil Yanchev, Joseph Zerafa, Ronni Hartvig, Roderick Sammut, Paul Fenech, Shaun Bajada, Michael Galea, George Mallia, Alan Tabone, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Lee Lombardi, Martin Anastasi, Angus Buhagiar, Clint Zammit, Luke Sciberras, Andrew Scicluna.

Giving his comments immediately after Wednesday’s morning session Buttigieg commented: “It will be a difficult game as we are all aware of our opponent’s potential. Hajduk have got a strong squad with individual key tactical players which can make the difference within the 90 minutes. On the other hand we have a very young squad and I can dispose of only two foreigners as Davy Amed Sylla has not yet been replaced added Buttigieg. Asked to comment about his team’s pre-season so far the ex-Malta international remarked “We have been only training for three weeks and we are just into the fourth, considering that the norm for a good pre-season is usually between seven to eight weeks I sincerely do not think that we are physically prepared for this high profile European commitment. We did not have enough time to prepare not even for the Euro Challenge Cup which we won, but as things stand with the existing calendar of Maltese football nothing much more can be done. My aim is to prepare physically and tactically the team for the start of the BOV Premier League but nonetheless I will make all the effort together with my colleagues and players for a positive showing against Hajduk even for the benefit of all the Birkirkara fans that will be watching us live on TV” concluded Buttigieg.

It has been learnt that negotiations for the renewal of contracts for two players that were in the Stripes squad last season have been cut short. The players concerned are Lino Galea and Adrian Ciantar both of them willing to move ahead with their respective careers elsewhere.

In the meantime Birkirkara’s opponents Hajduk Split led by Goran Vucevic will field a strong side in view of the Club’s aspirations to progress till the final stages of this year’s edition of the UEFA Cup. In their last friendly as a build up for Thursday’s encounter Hajduk hosted Italian Serie A team Napoli against which they won by a solitary goal.

Birkirkara v Hajduk Split will be screened live on Melita Sports. To subscribe to Melita Sports and watch this game customers are to call on 27 270 270 or by applying online on

Birkirkara FC probable starting line Up

Omar Barg, Lee Lombardi, Emil Yanchev, Ronni Hartvig, Jospeh Zerafa, Paul Fenech, George Mallia, Shaun Bajada, Alan Tabone, Michael Galea (Martin Anastasi) , Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza.

Hajduk Split probable starting line up

D. Subasic, M. Buljat, B. Pandza, G. Rubil, I. Strinic, B. Zivkovic, D. Gabric, S. Linic, S. Ibricic, N.Kalinic, T. Busic.

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