Malta FA president Norman Darmanin Demajo has dismissed rumours of an impending shake-up in the national team’s set-up.

Malta’s negative results in the last two months have sparked suggestions that the position of national coach Pietro Ghedin and other key members of the national squad’s back-up team could be in jeopardy but Darmanin Demajo yesterday reiterated his faith in the Italian tactician who has been in charge since 2012.

“It’s not true,” Darmanin Demajo told Times of Malta after being asked about the swirling rumours about an impending reshuffle in the national team in the wake of the 1-0 defeat to Slovenia in a World Cup qualifier last Friday and the subsequent 2-0 reverse against Iceland in a friendly match last Tuesday.

“I’ve been made aware of rumours that there might be a shake-up within the national team but these are false.

“In my opinion, Ghedin is doing what he can with what we have.

“It’s the MFA’s firm intention to honour all the contracts with Ghedin, his staff and the other members of the national team’s set-up.

“This is going back and forth.

“Last month, it was the Malta FA that faced calls for a reshuffle, now the criticism is directed at Ghedin.

“Our national team has just played two games in which we created four to five clearcut chances but we were unable to make them count.

“I’m mostly disappointed about our failure to find the net because scoring opportunities for Malta are few and far between.

“I don’t think it’s right to point fingers and try to find a scapegoat (for Malta’s dismal results).”

The Malta FA came under fire in the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat to England at Wembley after forward Andrè Schembri made a brutal assessment of the state of Maltese football.

This prompted Darmanin Demajo to call what he described as a no-agenda meeting with the members of the national squad to give them the chance to air any grievances they may have following Schembri’s outburst.

The MFA president made good on his promise as he met with the national team players on the eve of last Friday’s qualifier against Slovenia.

Understandably, Darmanin Demajo was careful not to disclose the issues raised during the meeting but promised to address a series of valid points outlined by the players during last week’s frank discussion.

“I had a meeting with the players who raised a number of points,” Darmanin Demajo said.

“Andrè Schembri was the main speaker.

“I believe that the players appreciated that I went to meet them.

“On the whole, the meeting went well, I’m very pleased. All the players had the chance to express themselves.

“Most of the points raised during the meeting will be addressed and I have already spoken to Robert Gatt (MFA technical director) and Ivan Vella (national team manager) about them.”

Ivan Vella confirmed as team manager

It was also claimed yesterday that Vella’s position could be under threat but Darmanin Demajo was having none of that.

“Ivan Vella has been confirmed as team manager (national squad) with responsibility to report directly to the association’s president,” Darmanin Demajo said.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us