Sergio Afric is trying to inject new life into the underachieving Sliema Frank Salt Real Estate side this year and Sunday’s Enemed Cup triumph over San Ġiljan TUM Invest could be a major sign of things to come.
The Croatian’s return to Sliema must have lifted the spirits of technical staff, players and the fans after he has won the league with all Premier Division clubs he had been in charge.
Since his appointment, the team made giant strides forward as last year they made a strong finish to the 2019 campaign but silverware is still eluding them.
Afric has a group of players who have been nurtured in recent years and can now look to the upcoming season with much hope after landing the Enemed Cup.
Success in the pre-season competition is the first piece of silverware won by the Għar id-Dud club since the Winter League triumph in 2014 and has re-ignited hopes that their quest for a 32nd National Championship crown that has eluded them since 2009 could be a reality this year.
Speaking to sportsdesk.com.mt, Afric reckons there’s no clear favourite in this year’s edition as no foreigner will figure in the summer competition.
“Without foreigners, one will see the real strength of team. We all start on a level-playing field this time,” he told sportsdesk.com.mt.
“On our part, we invested in local talent and with the arrivals of Nicky Grixti and John Brownrigg, we have strengthened our side,” he said.
On his part, Sliema captain Mark Meli said that Enemed Cup’s success was long overdue and this might give his team the confidence to start believing more that they can challenge for major trophies.
“We have improved the strength-in depth in the group,” he said.
“With Grixti, the team is strong in every department now and we have some very talented players who are keen to learn and hopefully this season will yield better things for our club.”