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MFA president Vassallo determined to keep hold of Mangia’s services

National teams’ head coach continues to be linked with NK Rijeka job

Bjorn Vassallo is determined to keep hold of the services of national teams head coach Devis Mangia despite media reports linking the Italian with the coaching job at Croatian club NK Rijeka.

On Tuesday, reports in Croatian media said that Mangia had emerged as the leading favourite to take over at NK Rijeka even though the former Italy U-21 coach’s contract with the Malta FA will only expire in December 2023.

Speaking during the local governing body’s Executive Board, Vassallo said that it was the association’s intention to continue working with Mangia.

“The President referred to recent media reports linking National Team Coach Devis Mangia to a possible move,” the MFA said in a statement.

“He reiterated that the intention of both the Association and Mr Mangia is to proceed with the current technical project, in line with the Association’s strategy.

“Vassallo said the administration keeps an open channel of communication with Mangia who oversees the entire technical set-up of the various national teams, including several tailor-made programmes designed around the needs of individual players.”

Meanwhile, reports in Croatia continued to put Mangia as the leading favourite to take over as coach of NK Rijeka.

There have been reports in Maltese media yesterday that Scottish coach Tam Courts, the former manager of Scottish Premier League side Dundee United, was on pole for the job at the Croatian club.

However, it has now been confirmed in Scottish media that the 40-year-old, who led Dundee United to European football for the first time, is set to take over at Hungarian side Budapest Honved.

In fact, Courts was in talks with Rijeka but the deal fell through as the Croatian club didn’t want to pay a compensation fee.

That has kept the door open for Mangia to remain as the leading favourite to take the job at Rijeka.

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