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Former Malta national team coach Tony Formosa dies, aged 86

Maltese football was on Saturday mourning the loss of former Malta national team coach Tony Formosa, who died at the age of 86 years.

Formosa will be fondly remembered by the Maltese football community for his sterling contribution to the ‘Beautiful Game’ as national team coach with a short stint in 1966 and then between 1971 and 1972.

The highlight of his tenure was leading his side at Wembley Stadium for the European Championship qualifier against England.  

“The Malta Football Association is deeply saddened by the news that former national team coach Tony Formosa has passed away. The much-decorated sports personality died earlier today, aged 86,” the local governing body of football said in a statement.

Another highlight in Formosa’s career was in 1966 when alongside Janos Bedl he led Malta to a memorable 1-0 victory over Libya in a friendly at Manoel Island.

Formosa was born in Victoria, Gozo, on June 2, 1937, and received his education at the Lyceum in Hamrun, then in Valletta and consequently at St Michael’s Training College Ta’ Giorni, from where he managed to qualify as a teacher specialising in mathematics and physical education. He continued his studies at the famous Carnegie College of PE in Leeds where he obtained a diploma with distinction.

In 1962, Formosa successfully followed two coaching courses in the UK where he obtained the FA Preliminary Coaching certificate. That same year, he became the first Maltese to receive the Full Badge which meant that he could coach the game of Association Football at all levels.

After a modest playing career, his first coaching appointment was with Żejtun Corinthians in 1961 before moving on to Ħamrun Spartans.

Formosa continued with successful spells with Valletta, Floriana, and Sliema Wanderers, while in between he coached the Malta Under-18 side on three occasions with matches against Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

In 1987, after the UEFA Cup match with Valletta with Juventus, Formosa retired from coaching after 197 top flight matches and was appointed Head of Sports within the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Formosa is the founder of Skolasport and was also very known for his commentaries during televised international football matches and as a producer of sports programmes on local radio stations.

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