One of the most interesting features in the Maltese women’s league is the number of young and promising players that are given the senior platform to showcase their talent every season.
All seven teams in the senior league bank on a lot of youths throughout the season, helping them to gain experience from a young age.
Even champions Birkirkara, winners of the last four leagues, are starting to promote their youth players into their senior ranks with successful outcomes, such as 2003-born Veronique Mifsud who has already scored seven goals in 10 games this season.
Moreover, the emergence of female players into foreign countries is an extra incentive for the young players to try to show the best of their talents in the domestic competitions.
Nonetheless, this would not be possible if it was not for the administrators, coaches and rest of staff that despite all the difficulties and limitations they have, they make sure to provide the best possible teaching to the girls.
Mosta have one of the youngest squads in the senior league, with majority of the players still eligible for the U-19’s side.
Despite sitting second-bottom in the senior league, coach Ray Sant is upbeat about the progress of the young team that he has at his hands.
“We believe a lot in the progress of our girls,” Sant told The Times of Malta.
“Prioritising the development of the players over results has been our policy in the last four years, because that is key to the progress of the holistic movement.”
In fact, Sant explained how they promote a lot of players from U-15’s to U-19’s, and into the senior side so that the girls start to taste the competitive experience.
The U-15’s, U-19’s and seniors are the three competitive teams that Mosta women have, alongside the U-12’s who sometimes participate in friendlies, coronavirus permitting.
“The three competitive teams train three times a week, alongside Match Day every week – midweek for the seniors and weekend for the younger categories,” Sant explained.
“Every Wednesday, we gather the seniors and U-19’s for a physical session with coach Mark Ciangura while on Saturday, there is a session for all custodians with our goalkeeper coach.
There and then, we also do a match analysis session during the week which we deem important for the knowledge of the game.”
One of Sant’s biggest satisfactions in the game is when he sees players that were nurtured at Mosta, becoming established players in the domestic competitions, or moreover, making a name at international level.
Nonetheless, Mosta’s coach sees the flip side of the coin in this situation.
“Obviously, we are always pleased to see our former players do well in other teams because that means that we are doing a good job with the development of players,” he explained.
“However, at the same time, it’s sad to see players who as soon as they become noticed, they move to bigger clubs and then find it difficult to get more playing time. I feel this hinders their progress.”
Sant highlights this issue when he explains how the women’s game in Malta can progress, as he feels that if there is more competition between teams, that could ease the growth of the players.
Yet, the Mosta coach still remains motivated to help the young girls grow.
Coach Sant has been at Mosta for a number of years, having also been at the helm of the senior side in the 2011/2012 UEFA Women’s Champions League expedition when he guided his team against KI of Faroe Islands, Scotland’s Glasgow City and Spartak Subotica of Serbia.
“What keeps me motivated is the passion and commitment that these girls show to the game,” Sant explained.
“We work with them on a lot of aspects and while at the end, our football goal is to help the senior side become more competitive, we still care about their growth as persons.
“From a football point of view, we work on the physical aspect but also on basic skills like shooting and set-pieces because it is important that the players become more skilful and explore their potentials.
“When you see them joy or despair after a game, you feel for them and that keeps driving me in this role.”
TODAY – 20.30
Mtarfa vs Raiders Għargħur
Mġarr United vs Kirkop United
TOMORROW – 20.30
Mosta vs Birkirkara
Bye: Swieqi United.
Birkirkara (10 games) 30 points; Swieqi United (11) 25; Mġarr United (11) 22; Kirkop United (10) 15; Raiders Għargħur (10) 9; Mosta (10) 6; Mtarfa (10) 0.