Sliema face Floriana on Premier League return
Sliema Wanderers coach Paul Zammit believes that his team’s derby against Old Firm rivals Floriana provides the perfect test of character of his team as the two sides go head-to-head in the opening match of the weekend on Saturday (kick-off: 2pm).
Derbies between Sliema Wanderers and Floriana, the two most successful sides in Maltese football, have provided some pulsating duels over the years and although both teams have failed to be among the protagonists for major honours consistently in recent years, this season, the two teams seem capable of challenging for at least a top four placing.
The Greens, under the charge of Mauro Camoranesi, resume their league commitments at the summit of the Premier League, level on points with champions Ħamrun Spartans.
On the other hand, Sliema, in their first season back in the top flight, have shown that they are ready to restore their place among the top guns of Maltese football with a solid start to the season. In fact, they have picked up seven of the last nine available points to move up to third in the standings on 13 points, four adrift of the Floriana and Ħamrun.
Paul Zammit, the Wanderers coach, has described Floriana as one of the main challengers for major honours this season, following their sound investment in the last few years, and the derby will gauge if his players are capable of performing in a match that brings about a lot of emotions among both sets of fans.
“This is another important test for us as we will be up against a team who I rate as one of the main challengers for the main honours this season, given the sound investment the club did in the last few years,” Zammit told the Times of Malta.
“As for us at Sliema Wanderers, so far things have gone according to plan as all the objectives we’ve set since June last year, the team has managed to fulfill, and that is a great positive.
“For me, this season is important to see how the team reacts in various situations and whether we are capable of being protagonists in top matches where the level of football produced is very high.
“Our first goal this year was to bring in the players we wanted that could complete our squad, something we continued to do this week. So far, the team has performed well on the pitch but for all the positives, we have not attained anything yet.
“The important thing now is to see if we can be consistent in our performances and that is a major test for this team.
“The derby against Floriana provides a lot of emotions for our club and it will be interesting to see whether we are capable of showing the character needed for such delicate matches.”
On his part, Floriana assistant coach Brian Said said that the match is set to be a tough test for his team and is expecting a tough challenge from his former club Sliema Wanderers.
“It’s another important match for us,” Said told the Times of Malta.
“Our goal will be to win all three points and continue our positive run of late. It will not be easy as Sliema are on a good run too but that will only set up a very exciting match.
“A lot of years have passed since Sliema Wanderers and Floriana met in a season where both were performing very well and it will surely be a great spectacle for the crowd present.”
Floriana are boosted by the return of striker Jan Busuttil who missed the last six weeks of action due to injury.
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