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Player of the Year award will help me come back stronger – Jade Flask

Jade Flask was the happiest person on earth when her name was called out to receive the prestigious Malta Football Association Player of the Year award, on Friday.

The Swieqi United player was one of the prominent figures of this 2022-23 Assikura Women’s League, being a leading figure at the Owls as they went toe to toe with Birkirkara in the title race.

Despite failing in their objective, Swieqi produced some of the best football throughout the season and their offensive record of 80 goals, the championship’s best, reflects their offensive prowess.

Flask scored 19 of the 80 goals and if it was not for her unfortunate knee injury sustained during March’s league game against Mġarr, where she had also scored, she might have even broken the 20-goal barrier.

Flask lifted the prestigious accolade for the first time in her career, receiving 62 votes to finish a clear winner ahead Stephania Farrugia, of Birkirkara, who had 21 points, while Swieqi’s Dorianne Theuma, last year’s winner, finished third on 16.

“This is a very prestigious award because it reflects the hard work and effort that you put in throughout an entire season,” Flask told the Times of Malta.

“Moreover, being awarded this accolade is a source of motivation to keep on working harder and try to achieve even more in your career.

“I would like to dedicate this award to my teammates and the technical staff who have been very helpful, while I would like to share this accolade with my family as well because they have been my backbone in all these years.”

Just last week, the Swieqi forward was handed the best player award by the Malta Football Players Association as she won both top gongs in the women’s game this season.

For Flask, it was an impressive feat given the fact that the 26-year-old has started to play as a forward just this season after she had established herself as a left-back.

However, Flask impressed in her new role and managed to rubberstamp her place in the team’s forward line even though the club had two overseas foreigners on their books – Fernanda Peinado and Tatiana Dabney – and brought a third in the January transfer window in Salamatu Abdulai.

Her prolific form has also been recognised by national coach Manuela Tesse and the Swieqi striker also managed to score against Luxembourg in a friendly earlier this year.

“Since a young age I used to play as a forward but in the following years, I started to be used in a variety of positions,” Flask explained.

“I believe that I can show my true potential in the strikers’ role, just like I did this season where I managed to register 19 goals and finish as the league’s leading scorer.

“I have always adjusted myself to play in different positions in order to be of a helping hand to my team, but I truly love to line up as a forward.”

Unfortunately for Flask, she could not help Swieqi in the business end of the season including in the domestic cup where the Owls are now favourites of lifting the trophy after ousting holders Birkirkara following her ACL rupture two months ago.

Heavy setback

ACL injuries are currently a hot topic in the women’s game with plenty of stars across Europe rupturing their knees, including four key players at Arsenal in just one season.

Despite this heavy setback, Flask is upbeat about her return to the field where she is determined to help Swieqi and the national team to reach their objectives.

“The injury was a heavy blow for me and it took me a while to accept it to be honest,” the Malta forward admitted.

“However, now I look at the injury in a different perspective as I am willing to stay positive throughout my rehab.

“Thanks to this award, I am motivated more than ever to step back on the field and regain my form to help both my club and my country.

“Watching my team-mates fighting to reach the team’s goals without being able to help them is very hard, but I am confident that I will return stronger than before.”

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