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Listen: ‘Our young players will come good, but there might be some short-term pain’

Malta’s coach Ray Farrugia speaks ahead of Faroe Islands Euro 2020 qualifier

It’s been 14 years since Malta’s national football team won a competitive fixture on home soil. Could Saturday be the night when the Reds break their duck? 

The Times of Malta sports desk sat down with the national team coach Ray Farrugia for a conversation about Malta’s opening game in their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Faroe Islands. 

Malta will face the Faroe Islands at Ta’ Qali national stadium on Saturday at 6pm. 

This will be Farrugia’s second international campaign at the helm of national team after guiding Malta during the newly-established UEFA Nations League between September and November. 

Listen to the interview Ray Farrugia

In that campaign, Malta finished bottom with three points, one of them earned in a 1-1 draw against the Nordic side in the final game of the competition.

Meanwhile, the Faroe Islands finished third in the four-team group with five points to show for their efforts. 

The Malta coach discussed his team’s preparations ahead of the opening game while highlighting various projects which the Malta Football Association is working on, particularly scouting of young players eligible to represent the national team.

In this audio interview, Farrugia also discusses: 

Malta’s focus on young players: “Look at England or Germany. They played their best football when they took a chance on young players. We’re taking it  too. With these kids, I believe we have a better future. These sorts of games will give them immense experience. This is their chance”. 

Malta’s UEFA Nations League experience: “We scored in almost every game. Before we would go several games without a goal.”

The national team’s mentality: “We tend to show too much respect to our opponents. We need to introduce that competitive anger.”

MFA facilities: They’ve given us everything we need. A UK coach who visited said that our dressing room is better than theirs – and he’s with Leeds United!”

In the second part of the podcast, Leivur Frederiksen, a sports journalist from the Faroe Islands, joined Valhmor Camilleri and Gianluca Lia for a conversation about Malta’s opening game in their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Faroes.

Frederiksen is on his second trip to Malta after covering the 1-1 draw of last November and he explained what this campaign means to their team and how coach Lars Olsen, winner of the Euro championships himself in 1992, has been helpful in nurturing this group of players who are now starting to gain points on a regular basis.

The Faroe Islands have managed to register four points and six points in their last two European qualifying campaigns and they are looking to start this edition on a positive note.

Both Malta and the Faroe Islands met in the UEFA Nations League, with the Nordic side winning 3-1 in Torshavn before the 1-1 stalemate at the National Stadium, in Ta’ Qali. 

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