Gareth Sciberras, a member of the MFPA Executive, likes to stay away from the limelight but we managed to do this short interview with him, the first in our new Meet Our Team series…
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀?
I started playing in Australia as I lived there from the age of four to 13. I began playing football (soccer) at the age of five but I practised various other sports until I returned to Malta and focused solely on football. Football gave me the chance to integrate quickly in the Maltese society and I made a lot of friends through participation in sport.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗿, 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗯 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹?
At club level it has to be the trophies I was lucky to win but I have a special connection with the league I had the honour to win as captain of Birkirkara F.C.
At national team level, it would be my debut against Poland when I was just 19, winning away against Armenia in a qualifying game in 2013 and my last match with the National Team… I feel proud of the fact that I was named captain for that match, a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in 2017.
𝗟𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗿. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿?
Injuries played a big part in my career unfortunately. So I would say all those times that I couldn’t be available for selection as injuries restricted me from having the opportunity to play the game I love.
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗙𝗣𝗔 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
I would say I joined before it actually ever existed. MFPA was an idea which arose from various issues that we as players were facing during our playing career. There were a lot of discussions and ideas on how to start off. Carlo (Mamo) and I also had the chance to speak with former Malta team-mate John Hutchinson who explained how the situation regarding players was in his country, Australia. Then Carlo, with the rest of the team, spearheaded the formation of the association and it has gone from strength to strength from that day.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁, 𝗶𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗼𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗙𝗣𝗔’𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝟭𝟭 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀?
Definitely, it must be the removal of the parameter system. A system which many players, including myself, suffered from. But other achievements include the standardisation of contracts, health insurance and above all the general recognition within the country that football players nowadays have a voice.
𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗽𝘀…
Football provides you with many amazing moments, but a player needs to understand that a footballer’s career is short so make sure that you enjoy every minute of it, respect the people involved in and around the game, from the kit manager, referee, supporter to club officials and even your opponent whilst at the same time pursue opportunities to study so that you can enjoy the fruit of that work in your life after football.
𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗙𝗣𝗔 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗱…
𝙶𝚊𝚛𝚎𝚝𝚑’𝚜 𝙵𝚊𝚟𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚎 𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝙼𝚘𝚛𝚎…
𝗔𝗴𝗲: 39 (today 29th March)
𝗖𝗹𝘂𝗯𝘀: San Gwann FC, Pieta Hotspurs FC, Marsaxlokk FC, Birkirkars FC
𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗯 (𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗻): Manchester United
𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 (𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁): Luka Modric
𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵 (𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁): Carlo Ancelotti
𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵: Andre Schembri and Michael Mifsud
𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁: Andrea Pirlo
𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺-𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲/𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺: Peter Pullicino, Carlo Mamo, Edward Herrera and Andrew Hogg.
𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱: Fish
𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰: R&B
𝗠𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻…
Premier League: Birkirkara’s final deciding game against Hibernians which we won to secure the league title in 2013.
National Team: All of them were special but perhaps those against the bigger nations had added prestige, vs Germany, Italy and England especially in the Wembley Stadium with my wife and children watching from the stands.