The 2020+1 International Teamsport Goalkeeper Battle will be held between July 2 and 4 at the San Ġwann Football Ground.
This year’s edition, which is the tenth anniversary edition, will be organised in collaboration with the San Ġwann Local Council, and will be once again in aid of the Zemzem Foundation.
Organiser Mario Muscat said that since the first edition of the Goalkeeper Battle in 2011, the event had grown in popularity with the number of participants doubling over the years.
Interest from foreign goalkeepers has also increased and over 20 foreign goalkeepers, coming from Scotland, England and Italy, participated in the last three editions.
“The main objective of this event was to give goalkeepers of all ages a platform where they could show their talent while having the opportunity to challenge international goalkeepers in this event,” Muscat, a former Malta goalkeeper, told a news conference.
“Another objective was to help those in need through sports and all profit from the the Goalkeeper Battle will go once again towards the Zemzem Foundation which helps patients undergoing treatment for leukaemia.”
This type of event originated in South America but now, goalkeeper battles are also popular in Europe in countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Muscat added that there is now also a ‘goalkeeper battle world cup’ which is held in South America and hopefully when such an event is organised in Europe, the local winner of the Goalkeeper Battle would be able to participate.
Organiser Simon Grech spoke in detail about the event which will see an increase in the number of categories in order to have more participants competing with others of the same age.
In fact, there are new categories reserved for Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 goalkeepers.
The categories for this year’s edition are Under-9 (born 2012 and 2013); Under-10 (born 2011); Under-11 (born 2010); Under-12 (born 2009); Under-13 (born 2008); Under-14 (born 2007); Under-15 (born 2006); Under-17 (born 2005 and 2004); Under-19 (born 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000); Seniors and Girls.
Grech said that this year’s event will be spread over three days, with four categories being held on Friday, another four on Saturday and the remaining three on Sunday with the presentation being held on the final day.
Apart from trophies for the winners, runner-ups and third-placed goalkeepers in each category, there will be two special awards for the top scorer and another for the goalkeeper which conceded the least number of goals.
Participants in each category will be grouped in fours and the winner and runner-up in each group move to the knock-out stage. Each game has a duration of 4 minutes and all games are controlled by MFA referees.
With regards to health and safety, an ambulance with a nurse and doctor will be on stand by. Participants will have their temperature taken before the start of the event while balls will be sanitised every 20 minutes.
Interested goalkeepers could enrol during an open day which will be held at Teamsport on Saturday between 10am and noon and between 5pm and 7pm.
Application forms can also be obtained from the San Ġwann Ground (La Roversciata), Teamsport in Iklin and Birkirkara, Di Milano – Paola or by contacting the organisers.
San Gwann Mayor Trevor Fenech said that after being contacted by the organisers, the Council agreed to get on board with the organisers since the event also helped those persons in need.
“The Council unanimously committed its support for the next three years and therefore for the next three years, the event will be held in San Ġwann,” Fenech said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Sports and Voluntary Organisations Dr Clifton Grima said that it was always something positive to see collaboration between various entities from which the community and the society in general would benefit.
He said that Zemzem Foundation was one of the NGOs registered with the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations which guarantees that it is run in an ethical and serious manner.
Dr Grima added that such events help in getting back to normality as athletes give life once again to sports facilities which have been closed for weeks.
The Parliamentary Secretary concluded by saying that sports not only had a central role in our everyday life but also can make a difference in the life of others.