It took only a few moments for Devis Mangia to realise the importance of Mark Piscopo inside the Malta men’s senior national team.

Piscopo, known better as ‘Il-Lullu’, was not a coach or a player. He was simply the kit manager. But for the players and the rest of the staff, he represented something much bigger than what his job description entailed.

He was their brother, someone they could rely on especially during difficult times.

“When I met ‘Lullu’, I said that he is the pillar of this team,” Mangia told a news conference on Saturday.

“Everyone will leave as the team continues to change, but he will remain a lynchpin in this dressing room.

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