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Schembri relishing coaching opportunity at Apollon

Andre Schembri

The upcoming 2022-23 season will bring a new challenge for Andre Schembri after the former Malta international was handed the reins of the second team of Apollon Limassol.

Schembri, who is in process of getting his UEFA ‘A’ coaching license, served as a technical director at Apollon Limassol last season in what has been a memorable campaign for the club.

In fact, Apollon Limassol managed to win just their fourth domestic championship – their first since the 2005-06 season.

As a result, Apollon Limassol will be representing Cyprus in the UEFA Champions League when they launch their European journey in the third qualifying round.

“When one journey ends, a new one can begin,” Schembri had posted on his social media after when announcing his new role.

Schembri’s new role will see him return to coaching after spending the past season observing how the club works from a different perspective.

A former Apollon Limassol player himself, with whom he played in the 2017-18 Europa League, Schembri will be now in charge of the U-19 team that play in Cyprus’ youth league.

The winner of the league earns him a place in the following edition of the UEFA Youth League and that is what Schembri is aiming for.

“I will be the Head Coach of the U-19s with the primary objective of helping these young players in their development process,” Schembri told the Times of Malta.

“At the same time, we will be striving to have a very positive campaign in terms of results as well as we are representing a big club like Apollon Limassol.”

Despite his role as a technical director, Schembri was always determined to return as soon as possible on the playing field.

“When last season the president offered me the role of technical director, I was willing to do it even though coaching was still my objective,” Schembri said.

“In this position, I could observe closely the methodology of the club, but obviously I was not part of any coaching staff.

“When the season came to an end, I spoke to the president and we came to an agreement that I could return to coaching.

“To be honest, I thought maybe I would be given the U-17 team after having been at the helm of the U-15s. I’m grateful for this chance and looking forward to start this new adventure.”

Schembri explained how the U-19s and the first team work in synergy even though Apollon bank a lot on the foreigners they bring in every season.

“Nonetheless, Apollon Limassol had five players coming through the ranks of academies across Cyprus including four from our own. Three of them were also in the starting formation,” Schembri said.

League delight

Winning championships brings more responsibility as Apollon Limassol will strive to keep raising their benchmark. The title triumph comes at the end of what has been a very strange season in Cyprus, with the top six teams all competitive enough to lift the league title.

“The domestic league is divided into two sections of six teams after the opening couple of rounds,” Schembri said.

“In the last decade, it was always a two-team affair but this year it was very intense and at some point we endured a winless three-month period but somehow managed to keep the first place – that means the teams behind us were competitive against each other.

“What allowed us to stay at the top of the pile and win the league was the fact that we were disciplined in our environment – it played a major role in helping us secure our first title in 16 years.”

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