The women’s game will usher into a new era as for the first time ever it will have a specific sponsorship in Maltese insurance agency Assikura, running for the next two years.
Assikura will sponsor not only the senior competitions – the league championship and the Knock-Out – but also the U-21 league (National Women’s Youth League) and the U-21 knock-out competition.
Pierre Brincat, Director of the Women’s Football at the MFA, expressed his delight as the local competitions will have a unique identity for the first time ever.
“This is another dream come true to have a sponsor committed solely to the women’s game in Malta,” Brincat told a news conference.
“It’s another stepping stone for the progress of this movement which follows up the important results gained by both Birkirkara in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and Malta in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.”
“The women’s game is continuing to grow, and we have several projects in the pipeline for the upcoming season including the second part of the UEFA Disney Playmakers which has been very successful so far.
“In addition, there will be goalkeeping sessions for young girls provided by the Malta FA, an expansion of the After School sessions, where will now reach girls until age 12, and the Fun Fit Football.”
Both Brincat and Angelo Chetcuti, secretary general of the Malta Football Association, heaped praise on the work done by Mark Gatt and Roger Camilleri while thanking them for their service as coach and goalkeepers’ coach of the senior women’s national team.
Chetcuti went on to add that he agrees with Gatt’s comments in a recent interview with the Times of Malta, as the women’s game in Malta is really at a crossroads.
“The positive results are always important and to have reached this level is already a huge feat for us,” Chetcuti said.
“But now it is time to make a further upgrade to reach the next level, because at the same time the other nations continue to grow as well and therefore we hope that our future women’s football strategy will pay dividends.”
Chetcuti also explained how the women’s game is getting independent just now, with top sponsors getting on board solely with elite competitions like the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the FIFA competitions.
“The women’s game has a huge potential, not only in Malta but also across the globe,” he said.
“At the same time, it is also a vulnerable sector given the number of people working in it but at the same time, these individuals are a valuable asset to the game.”
“There are still some matters which need to be addressed like the kick-off hours and venues for the senior women’s league.
“But we do have issues even in the other categories so it is not a matter of not prioritising the women’s game.
“This Assikura sponsorship comes at the right time and that is why it is very significant for us.”
Lucienne Cini, Chief Operations Officer at Assikura, explained the importance of this sponsorship as they strive to boost the women’s game on our shores.
“Assikura is proud to forge this partnership with the women’s game which is growing year after year in Malta,” Cini said.
“We feel that this movement needs to be pushed forward even more and that is why we decided to sponsor also the U-21 category.”
The 2022/2023 championship opener is pencilled for next week with three games between Tuesday and Wednesday.
The season will run from September 20 until April 19 with seven teams facing each other in three different rounds.
The venues for this year’s league are set to be the Centenary Stadium and the Mġarr Ground while the Dingli Ground and Sirens Stadium were also used during the previous campaign.
Birkirkara, 10-time Maltese champions and current holders, take centre stage with a direct encounter against one of the potential title challengers Swieqi United on Tuesday.
Both sides have appointed new coaches with Birkirkara hiring Jose Borg and Swieqi opting for a foreign option in Dutch coach Judith Kuipers.
The Stripes start as favourites to retain the title and they are in high spirits following their historic 2-1 victory over Northern Ireland’s Glentoran in the UEFA Women’s Champions League – the first Maltese victory in this competition.
The other games completing MatchDay 1 of the league will be San Ġwann facing Mġarr United, who placed third last season while Hibernians, on their senior football return, will open their commitments against Mtarfa.
Raiders Lija, the revelation of last season, will enter action in Matchday 2 after their opening game opponents Gudja United dropped out of the senior league.