Former Malta defender Michael Spiteri receives Assikura Merit Award
Ħamrun Spartans and Malta midfielder Matthew Guillaumier, and Jade Flask, the Swieqi United and Malta women’s team forward, won the most prestigious honours at the MFPA Awards 2023 after being named MFPA Men’s and Women’s Best Player respectively.
As the curtains fall on the 2022-23 domestic football season, the Malta Football Players Association once again honoured the outstanding performers during the annual Awards night, held on Monday night at Sky Club.
Guillaumier’s nomination as the MFPA Best Player caps another brilliant season during which the 25-year-old consolidated his reputation as one of the best midfielders in the country with his consistent performances in Ħamrun Spartans’ march to the BOV Premier League title.
Guillaumier collected the highest number of votes from his peers ahead of Balzan playmaker Angel Torres and Ħamrun Spartans’ team-mate Emerson Marcelina.
In the female category, Flask, 26, enjoyed a very positive campaign as she made her mark in the 2022-23 Assikura Women’s League, finishing the season as top scorer with 19 goals for runners-up Swieqi United.
The other finalists for the MFPA Women’s Best Player Award were Mġarr United midfielder Brenda Borg and Ann-Marie Said, of champions Birkirkara.
Valletta and Malta forward Shaun Dimech was voted MFPA Men’s Best Young Player while Sara Saliba, the 16-year-old Birkirkara starlet, captured the MFPA Women’s Best Young Player award.
A total of 35 awards were presented during the MFPA Awards 2023 with 22 going to the players who made it into the MFPA Best XI for both men and women.
Newly-crowned champions Ħamrun Spartans dominated the MFPA Men’s Best XI with a total of seven nominees. Guillaumier is joined by team-mates, goalkeeper Henry Bonello, Emerson Marcelina, Steve Borg, Ryan Camenzuli, Juan Carlos Corbalan and Roko Prsa while Ħamrun Spartans coach Branko Nisevic won the MFPA Best Coach award.
The other players in the 2022-23 MFPA Best XI 3-5-2 formation are Hibernians centre-back Ferdinando Apap, playmaker Angel Torres (Balzan) together with Enzo Cabrera (Birkirkara) and Jefferson de Assis (Gżira United).
In the MFPA Women’s Best XI, champions Birkirkara are represented by four players – Charlene Zammit and Stephania Farrugia (centre-backs), Ann-Marie Said (midfielder) and Sara Saliba (forward).
The other players in the best selection are goalkeeper Cynthia Konlan (Swieqi United), right-back Chloe Ann Ellul (Hibernians), left-back Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United FC), midfielders Brenda Borg (Mġarr United) and Shona Zammit (Swieqi United) while the forward line is composed of Lexine Farrugia (Raiders-Lija), Flask (Swieqi United) and Saliba.
Clean sweep for Sliema Wanderers
Sliema Wanderers forward Lydon Micallef emulated his double success at last year’s awards as he collected the MFPA Best Challenge League Forward and Best Challenge League Player awards.
The Blues, who have returned to the top division of Maltese football as BOV Challenge League champions, made it a clean sweep as goalkeeper Rashed Al-Tumi, defender Murilo Henrique Freire Bernardo, and midfielder Edmond Agius won the remaining MFPA Challenge League awards.
The MFPA Best Amateur League award went to Senglea Athletic striker Timothy Thomas who helped his hometown team win the third-tier championship and the National Amateur Super Cup.
FIFA referee Trustin Farrugia Cann made it five in a row after being voted best referee of the season.
Michael Spiteri receives Merit Award
Michael Spiteri, the former Hibernians and Birkirkara defender, was also honoured during the MFPA Awards as he was announced as the winner of the MFPA Assikura Merit Award, given for outstanding contribution to Maltese football. Spiteri is widely considered as one of the best defenders of his generation and was capped 24 times by Malta.
He received the award from Anthony Galea, president of the MFPA.
MFPA YEAR IN REVIEW
During the Awards Night, Carlo Mamo, the MFPA General Secretary, gave a detailed overview of the various projects and work carried out by the Association during the season.
He said that the Association will soon launch its new strategy for the period 2023-2026 which will prioritise the following areas – Education, Players’ Health and Wellbeing, Women’s Football, Services to Players and the MFPA’s Sustained Growth.
The MFPA is also strengthening its support programmes and the multitude of services offered to its members, including advice on contractual matters and legal representation, and the ongoing educational courses and other academic opportunities.
MFPA AWARDS 2023 – THE WINNERS
MFPA Men’s Best Player: Matthew Guillaumier (Ħamrun Spartans).
MFPA Women’s Best Player: Jade Flask (Swieqi United).
MFPA Men’s Best Young Player: Shaun Dimech (Valletta).
MFPA Women’s Best Young Player: Sara Saliba (Birkirkara).
MFPA MEN’S BEST XI (3-5-2) Goalkeeper: Henry Bonello (Ħamrun Spartans) Centre-backs: Ferdinando Apap (Hibernians); Steve Borg (Ħamrun Spartans); Emerson Marcelina (Ħamrun Spartans) Right wing-back: Juan Carlos Corbalan (Ħamrun Spartans) Left wing-back: Ryan Camenzuli (Ħamrun Spartans). Midfielders: Matthew Guillaumier (Ħamrun Spartans); Roko Prsa (Ħamrun Spartans); Angel Torres (Balzan) Forwards: Enzo Daniel Cabrera (Birkirkara); Jefferson de Assis (Gżira United).
MFPA Best Coach: Branko Nisevic (Ħamrun Spartans).
MFPA WOMEN’S BEST XI( 4-3-3) Goalkeeper: Cynthia Konlan (Swieqi United) Centre-Backs: Stephania Farrugia (Birkirkara); Charlene Zammit (Birkirkara) Right-Back: Chloe Ann Ellul (Hibernians) Left-Back: Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United) Midfielders: Ann-Marie Said (Birkirkara); Brenda Borg (Mġarr United); Shona Zammit (Swieqi United). Forwards: Lexine Farrugia (Raiders-Lija); Sara Saliba (Birkirkara); Jade Flask (Swieqi United).
MFPA Best Challenge League Player: Lydon Micallef (Sliema Wanderers).
MFPA Best Challenge League Goalkeeper: Rashed Al-Tumi (Sliema Wanderers).
MFPA Best Challenge League Defender: Murilo Henrique Bernardo (Sliema Wanderers).
MFPA Best Challenge League Midfielder: Edmond Agius (Sliema Wanderers).
MFPA Best Challenge League Forward: Lydon Micallef (Sliema Wanderers).
MFPA Best Amateur League Player: Timothy Thomas (Senglea Athletic).
MFPA Best Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann.
MFPA Assikura Merit Award: Michael Spiteri.
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