Two matches into the BOV Challenge League’s new season, the 18 teams have already started their battle for a spot in this year’s championship pool – a mission that gives them the guarantee of a chance for promotion.
With 10 goals scored and none conceded, Fgura United have hit the ground running at an explosive pace and have sent a message to the rest of the teams that they will be a tough nut to crack this season.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, Fgura coach Kevin Vella believes such a start was the product of the club sticking to its process.
“This Fgura team is a project for us. Every year we build upon the team,” Vella said, “this is my fifth year here and every year we try to strengthen the team and I believe we now have a squad that can challenge the main Division One clubs.
“We believe we are capable of playing the big teams in this difficult league. Everyone can beat everyone here and all the teams are really prepared. So, I think the mental aspect will be very important.”
Last season, Fgura started off on a positive note with a draw and a win in the first two fixtures. This time, they went a step further with two wins against Mqabba and San Gwann, both finishing with big scorelines in favour of Fgura. Asked about the team’s upgrade, Vella said luck has been on their side so far, but consistency is key.
“We had two great games but football has episodes that can help you win, and others which can be an obstacle. Our team looks to be strong on attack, we’ve scored a lot and we created even more – that’s very important. In defence, we have been very strong as well,” he explained.
“Everything has come our way so far but it will be important to find some consistency because that was the missing ingredient in our team. I believe that once we find this consistency, our strength will remain there in every game.”
Bringing in no less than eight additions to their squad, Fgura look to have solidified their team and Vella believes these signings will help him achieve more.
“We are very happy with the signings we have made, and of course with the players we already had. This is a process – this team has been growing for the past three years where every season we bring in a player of two that can boost our squad,” he said.
“Our resources are not like those of other clubs where money is always there for transfers so we must work diligently. We usually follow these players for the entire season so that we can continue working on improving the team.”
Respect towards Melita
Despite their strong start, the Fgura coach said their goal is to secure their spot in next year’s division.
“Our aim is to keep our place in the Challenge League. This year the league will be very interesting due to the fact that after 17 games, the league will be divided,” he said.
“Our aim is to be with the first six teams (in the Championship pool) and that will be a very important target for us when considering that we will be playing against some very tough teams.
“We look at the season game after game where the next match is the most important one.”
This comes ahead of their next match, a tight affair against Melita, a side who were the only team to keep their place from those promoted into last season’s Challenge League. The side led by Saviour Debono Grech are on four points with a win and a draw so far and Vella had words of praise for their opponents.
“This will be a tough fixture for both sides as we are both really prepared,” he said.
“Melita are a team that last year impressed, and they were the only promoted club to keep their place in the Challenge League and besides that, they finished among the top five in their group after a very good season. They have a good coach, interesting youngsters, and good foreign players – it’s going to be tough for sure.
“Apart from that, we all played on Sunday so I believe the physical and mental aspects will play a big role in the coming matches.
“We’re expecting a balanced affair. We have a lot of respect for Melita just like I believe they have towards us too. Hopefully, it will be an entertaining match that supporters will enjoy.”