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Listen: Farrugia hopes Mifsud will continue to be involved in Maltese football

Ray Farrugia is hopeful that Michael Mifsud will continue to be involved in football once he retires from the game as he has a lot to give to future players.

Mifsud will play his final match with the national team when Malta hosts Liechtenstein at the National Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off: 18.00).

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

The former Coventry City striker enjoyed a stellar career with the national team, making a record 142 appearances and netting 41 goals, an unprecedented feat for a Maltese player representing his country.  

“It’s a shame if Michael Mifsud will not continue his involvement in football,” Farrugia said.

“Once I spoke with Michael and I asked him if he planned to continue a career in coaching given his experience and he was not too sure. If he departs the game, it will be a shame as with his experience he will be a great mentor for the young strikers that are coming through our game.

“Michael had an excellent career, scored so many goals for Malta and I sincerely hope that his experience will not vanish from Maltese football.”

Farrugia was the man that introduced Mifsud in the national team set up when he was still very young.

“The first time that I saw Michael Mifsud was when I was coach of the Malta U-21s. During that time, I attended a training session of the U-19s. Michael quickly caught my eyes and I said to myself he is ready to play for our team.

“Michael was still 16 or 17-years-old at the time, but my motto has always been to prepare for the future. To do that you have to promote youngsters, and everyone knows that during my time as national coach we introduced several youngsters who are blossoming in the team now.

“People at Ta’ Qali told me that I was mad to include Michael at such a young age and I was risking of ruining him as a player. But Michael was so good for us, that during that time where I also served as assistant national coach to Josip Ilic, I told him that we should promote him to the senior team.

“Ilic agreed with me and formed part of the team and since then he remained an integral part of the national team. He played so many matches and scored a lot of goals and his potential was clear from the outset.

“You enjoyed seeing him train. He is a role model for the youngsters that are aspiring to establish himself and I think that he is one of the best players that we ever had in Maltese football.”

Asked what he impressed him most of Mifsud, Farrugia said: “When a player comes to training and he gives his 200 per cent it’s enough.

“Michael is also a bad loser. During our training matches when he finished on the losing end you would see him getting angry and that is something that I liked because it shows you that he cares.

“I always said that what you do in training you will repeat during a match. If your attitude is not good enough in training, you cannot have a good attitude during the actual match.”

Mifsud has enjoyed a long career plying his trade with several overseas clubs including Lillestroem, of Norway, Coventry City and Barnsley in England as well as German side Kaiserslautern.

Asked what impact it had on his national team career.

“I have no doubt that the first thing I tell a young player is to go and continue his career abroad,” Farrugia said.

“Michael is also a bad loser. During our training matches when he finished on the losing end you would see him getting angry and that is something that I liked because it shows you that he cares.

“There you are living in a professional environment and you develop your character quickly. If you stay here, you stay in your comfort zone and continue to depend on your parents.

“Michael made a lot of sacrifices to go and play abroad but I’m sure that if you had to ask him whether it was worth it, he will surely answer in an affirmative way.

“Today his name will be remembered by all Maltese football fans.”

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