Hamrun Spartans head into their UEFA Conference League first-leg tie against Bulgarian side Levski Sofia today (kick-off: 7.30pm) in a week which sees a record number of Maltese clubs having progressed this far into European qualifiers.Speaking to the Times of Malta ahead of the match which will be played at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium, Spartans coach Branko Nisevic said it was a belief that the local clubs had, and it can only get better.

“No doubt, we achieved a milestone in local football and obviously we are all happy that something like this happened,” Nisevic said.

“We all believed it will happen sooner or later because the clubs are changing. We have a more professional setup and there’s quality and so what we needed is just an injection like this.

“Personally, I think that very soon, maybe not this year but in one or two years, we may have a local club in the group stages of this competition. That will be a great boost for football and the name of this country, and maybe after this we get to see more Maltese players going abroad and playing in a better way.”

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