Birkirkara have ushered in a new era as newly-appointed club president Michael Valenzia is eyeing further improvement from last season.
Valenzia, who succeeded Frank Zarb after the latter’s resignation in May, is confident that the Stripes can be competitive in the upcoming 12-team Premier League season.
“The objective is to improve on the previous campaign and we are effecting some changes in our squad to present ourselves with a competitive team in the upcoming campaign,” Valenzia told a news conference.
“We have brought in new players, but we are not finished yet, therefore the team that will play in next week’s UEFA Europa Conference League won’t be the final squad.
“Obviously, we have to respect our budget and we won’t do anything that we cannot afford.”
Birkirkara will host La Fiorita next week in the first leg of the first qualifying round of UEFA’s latest competition, the Europa Conference League.
So far, the team has confirmed four new signings in former Tarxien Rainbows goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes, Ryan Scicluna, who returns to his boyhood club from Sirens, Diego Venancio, who won the Maltese title with Floriana, and youngster Jed Valletta from St Andrews.
For coach Andre Paus, the tie against La Fiorita won’t be an easy test given that his team has not played a competitive match since March after the premature end of the domestic league due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the build-up for the European game, Paus’ side has already played a number of warm-up matches against local sides including Hibernians, Ħamrun Spartans and Gżira United.
“The game against La Fiorita will not be easy due to all the factors that this coronavirus pandemic has brought with it,” Paus explained.
“We cannot expect that our physical condition will be at its best while we are still strengthening our squad during this transfer market as well.
“Nonetheless, we are ready to face our opponents and I am confident that we will do well.”
For the match against La Fiorita, the club will be sporting new kits after joining forces with Intersport on a three-year deal that will see the Stripes play with Nike-branded shirts as from the upcoming campaign.
Women’s Champions League
Club president Valenzia said that he is delighted that Birkirkara have managed to secure such a sponsorship whereas Etienne Camenzuli, Nike Malta representative, explained that this agreement is in line with Intersport’s philosophy as they will provide the materials to the men’s, women’s and youth teams which highlights their cause for equality and providing football to all genders.
Birkirkara women’s team will discover their opponents of the first qualifying round of the 2021-22 UEFA Women’s Champions League in Friday’s draw.
The Stripes are one of the record 72 teams from 50 different associations that will take part in the new-look Champions League campaign.
Birkirkara are set to be a drawn in a group of three or four teams, where they will play a semi-final and final between August 18 and August 21.
Among the teams that the Maltese representatives can face are Italy champions Juventus, Glasgow City of Scotland, Dutch side Twente, Anderlecht, of Belgium and Ferencvaros, of Hungary.
Birkirkara president Valenzia heaped praise on the new committee members, in particular on those working for the women’s side as he explained that the new license rules increase their workload.
“I am sure that the team will remain competitive but so far we have no plans of strengthening the team until we know the opponents in Europe,” he said.