An end of an era for Birkirkara women as coach Melania Bajada will no longer be at the helm of the Stripes after five seasons.
The Gozitan coach had a fitting ending to her long spell in charge of Birkirkara after guiding them to a 3-0 win over Swieqi United which helped them secure a domestic double after winning their 10th domestic championship as well.
Coach Bajada, who has also featured for Birkirkara as a player during her career, has hinted that she might step away from the game for next season but she is keen on staying in the coaching orbit in the coming years.
“I have taken this decision to part ways with Birkirkara due to personal reasons,” Bajada told the Times of Malta.
“At the same time, I believe it is time that Birkirkara open a new cycle under a different guidance so they can make another upgrade – a change is always good.”
For Birkirkara, this was their 16th success in this competition as they remain the team to beat in the local women’s game.
On the other hand, this was the 9th silverware picked up by Bajada as coach of the Stripes. A remarkable feat for the UEFA A license holder who had taken over from Shawn Meilak back in 2017.
She led the Stripes to four championships and was one game away from a fifth before the 2020/2021 championship was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bajada also won three domestic cups and two Super Cups – losing only one final in 2018 against Hibernians (Super Cup).
In the process, she also managed to match the domestic record of unbeaten games in the league – 69, matching Hibernians who had previously set this feat between the 1999/2000 and 2004/2005 campaigns.
In five seasons, she only lost twice in the local competitions – in the league back in her debut year and in the 2018 Super Cup.
Asked about her most memorable success, Bajada recalled her first winning championship season in 2017/2018 when they defeated rivals Hibernians 4-1 on the final day of the season to make it two titles in a row back then.
Bajada has been a key figure at the club not only in the domestic scene but also at the international level.
She coached the club during their European expeditions in the UEFA Women’s Champions League with encouraging results against clubs like Olimpija Cluj (1-2) and Slovan Bratislava (0-1).
The former Birkirkara player managed also to write a piece of history for Maltese football in the European competition when she steered the Stripes to a 2-2 draw against Cardiff Met Ladies to become Malta’s second team to chalk up at least a point in the Champions League back in 2018.
“I will miss this team a lot,” Bajada admitted.
“I managed to forge a relationship with these players as coach and as a friend…sometimes even as a parent too.
I always tried to find the right balance to create a harmonious environment while staying motivated.”