Sliema Wanderers president Keith Perry said that the club is determined to re-establish itself among the top teams in the Premier League and made no secret of his ambition of seeing the club challenging for the main honours in the near future.
The Sliema supremo was addressing the media during the team’s presentation for the current season, just one day before facing their biggest test since returning to the top flight when they take on champions Ħamrun Spartans at the National Stadium on Saturday (kick-off: 5.15pm).
The Wanderers won promotion to the Premier League after just one season in some style as they remained unbeaten throughout the campaign.
At the end of the season, the Blues, under the charge of Paul Zammit, have further strengthened their squad with the arrival of Samuel Gomes, Gustavo Alcino, Israel Barthe, Karim Boubacar, Vito Plut, Kevin Emeke, Denis Kuao, Joseph Unana and Malta international Jean Borg.
“Our main goal is to lead the club to where it belongs,” Perry told the media.
“When we appointed Paul Zammit as our first-team coach we set a technical plan to establish where we want to arrive and with the players that we have signed it’s a clear sign of what we want to achieve.
“Last season, our Challenge League campaign was a very successful campaign, as we not only were crowned as champions but finished the season unbeaten. At the end of the season, the club and the coach sat down to assess our squad and decide who could do the job for us in the Premier League.
“In the Premier League, one has to invest more, given the different regulations from the Challenge League as regards the number of overseas players. We did bring in new foreign players but still kept faith with Maltese talent.
“In fact, we continued to invest in our academy, which boasts 400 children, to put it on a stronger basis with top-quality coaching staff that help our players not only in their football formation but also their education as we hope that we can guide them to reach the level needed to represent the club at senior level.
“I would like to thank the club’s committee for their hard work as well as the numerous sponsors that have decided to give us their support as without them we can’t lead this club forward.”
“After the difficult times we experienced two years ago, the new administration has a clear objective,” Perry said when asked by the Times of Malta to specifically outline Sliema Wanderers’ main target for this season.
“We have embarked on a long-term plan and that is why we have decided to give the reins of this project to Paul Zammit. Our main target is to establish the club in the Premier League and anything more that may come will be a bonus.
“However, at a club like Sliema Wanderers, there is always a great thirst for success and we will still give it our best shot to challenge for the FA Trophy, a competition that is very popular at our club.”
So far, Sliema Wanderers have made a solid start to the season, chalking up two wins from their opening four matches. Today, they face their toughest test against Ħamrun Spartans and coach Paul Zammit said that it’s a great opportunity for his team.
“So far we’ve had four positive performances, with two wins so far,” Zammit said.
“This is a process as this year we know the Premier League season has much better quality and we are facing a team who are the Malta champions and boast a squad of great quality. When you face teams of such top quality you know that you need to try and play your game but at the same time, you have to realise that if you commit mistakes you will get punished.
“It’s going to be a difficult match but it’s a great opportunity for us to gauge ourselves against a top team in the Premier League.”
Zammit said that the project he has embarked on at Sliema Wanderers is continuously evolving in terms of the objectives set.
“The project we started last season was not just to win promotion to the Premier League and to establish ourselves in the top flight,” Zammit said.
“It’s a project that continues to evolve. Once one objective is reached we set our sights on a more ambitious goal. We worked very hard in the summer to bring the right players and I’m pleased with the signings we made. But I still feel that we can still improve our squad and we are already working towards making our squad of players complete.
“So far, I have been very happy with the work ethic of my players but obviously there is still a vast room for improvement but we are committed to continue working hard to grow as as a team.”
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