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Gareth Sciberras opens up on his career achievements in MFPAโ€™s Meet Our Team series

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 seriesโ€ฆ

๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€?

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.

๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐—น๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฏ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—น?

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 Teamโ€ฆ I feel proud of the fact that I was named captain for that match, a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in 2017.

๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—น๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ. ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ?

Injuries played a big part in my career unfortunately. So I would say all those times that I couldnโ€™t be available for selection as injuries restricted me from having the opportunity to play the game I love.

๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ท๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—™๐—ฃ๐—” ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป?

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.

๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜, ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป, ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—™๐—ฃ๐—”โ€™๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿญ ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€?

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.

๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐˜๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐˜€โ€ฆ

Football provides you with many amazing moments, but a player needs to understand that a footballerโ€™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.

๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—™๐—ฃ๐—” ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑโ€ฆ

Sportsmanship

๐™ถ๐šŠ๐š›๐šŽ๐š๐š‘โ€™๐šœ ๐™ต๐šŠ๐šŸ๐š˜๐šž๐š›๐š’๐š๐šŽ ๐šƒ๐š‘๐š’๐š—๐š๐šœ ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐™ผ๐š˜๐š›๐šŽ

๐—”๐—ด๐—ฒ: 39 (today 29th March)

๐—–๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฏ๐˜€: San Gwann FC, Pieta Hotspurs FC, Marsaxlokk FC, Birkirkars FC

๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฏ (๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป): Manchester United

๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ (๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜): Luka Modric

๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต (๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜): Carlo Ancelotti

๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต: Andre Schembri and Michael Mifsud

๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜: Andrea Pirlo

๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—บ-๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ/๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—บ: Peter Pullicino, Carlo Mamo, Edward Herrera and Andrew Hogg.

๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ: Fish

๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฐ: R&B

๐— ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—น๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ปโ€ฆ

Premier League: Birkirkaraโ€™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.

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