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Ex-Euro Cup winner Rolff leading free agents training camp in Malta

Former European Cup winner Wolfgang Rolff is currently headlining a camp for several free agent players from across the world in Malta.

Organised by Scouting Connection and Soccerscouting Benelux, in collaboration with Challenge League side Żejtun Corinthians and KSi Malta, this camp gathered foreign players for an intensive week of training sessions and friendlies under the coaching guidance of former Hamburg player Rolff.

Rolff, who was part of Hamburg’s 1982-83 side that upset Juventus in Athens to clinch the European Cup, is surely an asset for this camp given the experience that he can provide to the players. 

“The camp, organised by Erik Matsinger, is a very good idea because it helps these players without clubs to showcase themselves in an organised structure with daily training sessions and also friendly games,” Rolff told the Times of Malta.

“We have been collaborating with Żejtun Corinthians as well and so far, I am very pleased with the feedback received from the players.

“Obviously, they must step up and show their level in the friendly matches to earn the contracts, which I think that three or four players will manage for sure given their talents.”

After hanging up his boots, Rolff has been coaching across Germany and other countries including Kuwait and Azerbaijan.

His years of coaching experience have enabled him to enhance his coaching and leadership qualities which helped him to coach this group of players whom he met for the first time.

“My coaching experience helped me to work with the players and as long as we enjoy each other every day, seeing them work hard and motivated, there is no problem for them to improve and manage to get a contract,” the German coach explained.

Erik Matsinger, one of the organisers and who owns Scouting Connection, is familiar with the local game having had his company based in Malta for a couple of years.

Erik Matsinger (left) and Wolfgang Rolff (right). Photo: Jonathan Borg

Matsinger, who is from the Netherlands, has connections with several clubs who request scouting reports from him, alongside other items on which Scouting Connection works on.

The company is currently based in Larnaca, Cyprus and has one full-time scout who will soon embark to Mexico to explore the players from that region.

“I have been working in Maltese football as well, and I like the people that are involved in this movement as they try to do things the right way,” Matsinger explained.

“I think the Maltese game is on the right track, but I think there is still room for improvement such as reducing the number of senior teams and strengthening the youth teams to improve the quality of the players.”

Opening up about his camp, Matsinger explained that they had already did a similar camp in the Netherlands and then decided to bring foreign players who are looking for contracts in Malta, as he thinks they can play with teams in Maltese football.

Given that Maltese teams often trial the players before they sign them, we are making it easier for them in this way as we give the opportunity to clubs to come and watch these players in actions themselves, during training and friendly matches.”

Asked about whether he is thinking about expanding this camp, Matsinger said that they are looking to organise something similar in Dubai and has hinted at the possibility to bring in Maltese players in his camp overseas, which would make it easier for them to expose themselves at international level.

Moreover, there is also the possibility of involving women players in such camps soon as well, given the continuous grow of this movement.

Valuable experience

Several nationalities have been brought together in this camp, including Americans and Dutch. Two of these players are Edmundo Robinson, who hails from the United States and Dutch player Marlon Amankwah.

Robinson, who has played in the US Open Cup and USL, has heaped praise on the organisation of this camp.

“Having the chance to train and play under a coach like Wolfgang Rolff who has been at the highest levels of the game, is a great experience for us,” Robinson explained.

“Despite meeting each other for the first time, we are learning a lot here and I am enjoying the Maltese experience as well, which hopefully will serve me to get a shot at European football.”

Echoing his team-mate’s words, Amankwah is also pleased with the organisation for this camp and having come from a European background, he is finding himself at ease in Malta and with coach Rolff.

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