In recent years, Maltese teams have been working hard to improve, and now Birkirkara FC has a golden opportunity to raise awareness of women’s football in Malta as they will be hosting the first qualifying round of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Birkirkara FC is in Group 11 and will play against ZFK Breznica from Montenegro.
The winner of that match will then face FC Zurich Frauen from Switzerland. The first match against Breznica is on September 6, 2023, at 18:00hrs. The second match follows three days later. Both games will happen at the Centenary Stadium.
This is the second time Malta is hosting this round of the competition. Birkirkara had the honor back in August 2012, becoming the first Maltese club to do so.
Participation in the UEFA Women’s Champions League
In Malta, currently only the winner of the league qualifies for the UEFA Women’s Champions League. This will be Birkirkara’s 10th season in the competition, and their sixth consecutive appearance. Over the years, the Stripes have come close to securing their first-ever point on multiple occasions, but they ended up losing the matches by a one-goal margin.
Notably, this happened against SU 1 Dezembro of Portugal and Olimipia Ljubljana of Slovenia, in the latter, the decisive goal was being conceded in the last kick of the game. However, the breakthrough came during the 2018-2019 season when they managed to secure a draw against Cardiff Met of Wales with a 2-2 score. Raina Giusti and Ylenia Carabott were the scorers for the Stripes.
A record for Maltese football – the first ever win in the UEFA Women’s Champions League
Last season, the team achieved a remarkable milestone that etched a new chapter in Maltese history. On Sunday, August 21, 2022, the Stripes staged a remarkable comeback to secure a victory against Glentoran FC from Northern Ireland. Raina Giusti and Charlene Zammit scored a goal each, marking a historic moment as the first-ever victory for a Maltese club in this prestigious competition.
Birkirkara’s opponents are ŽFK Breznica from Pjevlja, Montenegro. The team was founded in 2013 and achieved its first championship during the 2015-2016 season. Since then, they have clinched the championship title every consecutive season, amassing a total of seven championships. The team primarily consists of Montenegrin players, and they have been notably active this summer, bolstering their squad by securing signings such as Anja Simonovic, Mia Baturan, Katarina Cadjenovic, and Sanja Nedic. Notably, Sanja Nedic has transferred from Bosnian champions FK Sarajevo.
In the event that the Stripes triumph over Breznica, they will face an even more formidable challenge in the form of FC Zürich Frauen.
The draw poses a formidable challenge for the Stripes; however, the Maltese Champions are diligently gearing up for the task at hand. Led by Jose Borg, a holder of the UEFA ‘PRO’ coaching qualification, who has extended his contract for another year following his arrival at the club last season, there’s a clear commitment to the team’s ongoing development. They initiated their pre-season preparations in mid-July, setting their course for progress and their preparations are now in its crucial stages.
Mr. Borg is supported by fitness coach Mr. Nigel McCarthy, who has established a comprehensive strength and conditioning program to enhance the players fitness level. This initiative is bolstered by the backing of the club’s sponsor, Fort Fitness, which has generously extended its support to the team for the second consecutive year.
The Club is poised for several changes in its squad, including the addition of a fresh set of foreign players including of American duo namely Caitlin Rogers and Arianna Del Moral together with Uruguayan midfielder Edith Garcia. The club also managed to sign Maltese prolific scorer, Francesca Chircop.
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Tickets for this match can be bought from Intersport in Qormi, online from https://tickets.mfa.com.mt/ or at the door before the match for the price of €5. Your support makes a difference to help this Maltese club extend their string of positive results in this competition!