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Former Sliema Wanderers and Malta stalwart Edward Aquilina dies

Maltese football lost another great servant on Sunday following the news of the death of former Sliema Wanderers FC stalwart Edward Aquilina at the age of 75 years.

Aquilina has enjoyed a glittering football career both as a player as well as a coach.

Aquilina started his senior career in season 1960/61 with Melita FC in the Third Division. The next season he played for Sliema Wanderers where he spent in total 15 seasons in two different spells.

He was also known for his time in the Northern American Soccer League with Pittsburgh Phantoms in 1967. Upon his return to Malta, he joined Hibernians where he played for three seasons.

During his playing career, the former Malta international won seven league titles, six with Sliema Wanderers and one with Hibernians while he also managed to lift the FA Trophy three times with the Wanderers.

He hung up his boots in 1979 after a total of 278 senior domestic career appearances, in which he scored 39 goals. He also appeared in 22 European Cup games, scoring three goals.

After hanging up his boots he took up coaching, initially with Sliema Wanderers in the Premier Division, followed by Qormi, Senglea Athletic and Marsa in the First Division.

He enjoyed great success with Valletta between 1994 and 1998.

At the capital club, Aquilina steered the team to two league titles.

Aquilina’s biggest success in his career was arguably when he helped the Citizens complete a memorable clean sweep of honours in the 1996-97 season, where apart from the league crown the team also won the FA Trophy, Super Cup, the Lowenbrau Cup, and the Super Cup.

In 2002 he returned with Sliema Wanderers where he stayed up to 2006 with lots of silverware under his belt.

In an interview with the Times of Malta, Aquilina had described his achievement of helping the Blues to three successive league titles between 2003 and 2005.

“Apart from those fabulous years with Valletta, my greatest satisfaction was when I helped Sliema from the bench to three league titles in a row between 2003 and 2005, as well as winning three championships in succession both as a player and a coach for the Wanderers, an achievement which I think is unequalled in Europe,” Aquilina had remarked with extreme pride.

He coached in a total of 243 games in the Premier Division. 

Aquilina also was a mainstay in the national team since he made his debut with the Red jersey in 1966 against Libya.

It was a memorable debut for Aquilina after he scored the only goal of the match.

Aquilina went on to make 12 appearances for Malta, netting one goal.

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