Marsaxlokk are looking to improve on their sixth-place finish next season but their future hinges on president Victor Sciriha.

Sciriha, credited with Marsa-xlokk's rise to the upper echelons of Maltese football, stepped down as president last month, citing personal reasons.

His resignation was viewed as a blow for Marsaxlokk but officials and fans are hopeful that they can convince him to stay when a new committee is elected at the club's general meeting in a few weeks' time.

Sciriha's financial muscle helped Marsaxlokk lure several seasoned performers last season, the likes of Justin Tellus, Richard Buhagiar, Roger Walker, Etienne Barbara plus a host of young Sliema players who joined the southerners on loan.

As the end of season 2002-03 looms larger, the focus switches to the transfer wheelings and dealings in which the ambitious Marsaxlokk club are expected to figure prominently. However, the extent of their summer shopping spree will depend on Sciriha staying on as president.

Insiders said that Sciriha had already charted Marsaxlokk's transfer targets before he filed his resignation. Players like Pietà duo Malcolm Licari and Jamie Pace, Marsa's Kenneth Abela and Charlò Magro, the Hamrun Spartans sweeper, are courting interest from Marsaxlokk who are also in talks with Birkirkara to make Tellus's move permanent. Jaroslav Marx, Bir-kirkara's Czech midfielder, is also one of their targets.

New coach at Valletta?

Valletta are expected to bring in a new man at the helm of the team.

Bulgarian coach Atanas Marinov heads the list of candidates drawn up by the City club. A move to a top club is likely to tempt the highly-regarded Marinov who this season helped Hamrun Spartans evade demotion to Division One.

Under the guidance of Dennis Fenech, Valletta finished third in the Premier League this season.

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