The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

"We'll produce a performance to be proud of against Spain" - MFA National Teams Director Ivan Vella

Domenic Aquilina Tuesday, 26 March 2019, 14:00 Last update: about 6 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Malta's drought for a competitive home win came to a closure after 13 barren years.  The general local football community acknowledged the fact that the 2-1 Malta triumph over the Faroe Islands on Saturday, in the opening UEFA EURO 2020 European qualifier Group F match was hard earned and well deserved.

The Malta Independent spoke with the Malta FA Director for National Teams Ivan Vella ahead of Malta's next big match against none other than Spain.

Vella was appointed in his new role in August 2018, stepping up from his role as manager of the national team, Vella oversees the operational and logistical aspects of the national selections at all levels.  Vella, 44, has been part of the Malta FC set-up for over 20 years, gaining experience in various sectors, including international affairs, marketing and the management of the national teams.
  • What does the role of Director of National Teams really entail?  And how do you get along with it?
In my current role, I oversee the management aspects of the national teams at all levels.

In simple terms, the team manager can be defined as the link between the coaching team, players and all the other staff and parties who are involved in the logistical preparations of our national teams.

While I’m directly responsible for the senior national team, we at the Malta FA have a group of dedicated team managers for all the selections, men and women, in every age-group.

Our tasks range from notifying the players who have been selected to form part of our national squads and their clubs, communicate all team and player-related information to UEFA, including the squad lists and team sheets, preparing the training programmes for the squad and making sure that all the logistical arrangements during international week - travelling, accommodation, transport, training facilities and equipment - are in place.
  • You have been in the local game for a good number of years now.  How do you look at Maltese football in general?
I have been involved in Maltese football for around 20 years.

I’m honoured to be occupying the present role and would like to thank the Malta FA, especially president Norman Darmanin Demajo, for showing faith in me.

At national team level, the organisational standards have improved a lot since I was first appointed team manager of the senior national team.

There is clearly a massive commitment from the Malta FA to ensure that the preparations of our national teams at all levels and in all aspects are as good as they can be.

  • Your views about Malta's triumph over the Faroe Islands and Spain UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers?  Can we repeat a positive performance against the Spanish?

There is no doubt that we are in a very difficult group but everyone, the coaching staff, players, medical staff, etc will be doing everything possible to do well.

We have started this campaign on a very good note as the performance and victory over Faroe Islands have given everyone a lift.

The match against Spain will be a different challenge altogether but as always, we will go into the match with a strong determination to give our best and produce a performance to be proud of.
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