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Scriha's spell casts title on Valletta

Published: Monday 5 May 2008, 10.00CET
President Victor Scriha has the Midas touch in Malta as he celebrated the championship with Valletta FC just 12 months after leading Marsaxlokk FC to similar glory.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Malta
Scriha's spell casts title on Valletta
Victor Scriha takes the acclaim of the Valletta supporters ©Domenic Aquilina
Published: Monday 5 May 2008, 10.00CET

Scriha's spell casts title on Valletta

President Victor Scriha has the Midas touch in Malta as he celebrated the championship with Valletta FC just 12 months after leading Marsaxlokk FC to similar glory.

President Victor Scriha has the Midas touch when it comes to winning the Maltese title as he claimed the crown with Valletta FC, 12 months after doing the same at Marsaxlokk FC.

Seven-year itch
A 2-0 win against Floriana FC on Sunday ensured that Scriha presided over Valletta's first championship triumph since the 2000/2001 season, but the achievement was made more remarkable by the fact that he only joined the club after overseeing Marsaxlokk's title win last term.

Early arrival
"This title arrived well before we planned," admitted Scriha to uefa.com. "In fact, I might say it arrived two years ahead of time as my initial plan with Valletta was that the Premier League title would be our main objective over a three-year period. I dedicate this title particularly to my family, coach Paul Zammit, the unique supporters of the club, who deserved this title in a big way, and everyone else at the club."

European goal
Valletta will now look to progress through the first preliminary round of next season's UEFA Champions League and Scriha is already relishing the prospect. "I do believe in our squad but maybe we need strengthening on the bench. If we get a good draw, in other words a team of the same standard as ours, we can go through the first preliminary round of the Champions League."

Rivals beaten
Valletta's 19th title was actually secured before their victory on Sunday due to Birkirkara FC beating their nearest challengers Marsaxlokk 2-0 a day prior. But the capital club ensured the party did not go flat with Nigerian forward Frank Temile and ever-loyal captain Gilbert Agius scoring the goals that saw off Floriana,  despite the former being later sent off.

Imperious Hogg
One of the key players that stood out during the campaign was national team goalkeeper Andrew Hogg. 'Hoggie', as he is popularly known, arrived at the club at the beginning of the season from Pietà Hotspurs FC and quickly won the hearts of the Valletta supporters by stamping his authority on the team.

Issues decided
With two matches to go, ten points is the difference at the top of the table between the newly-crowned champions and Birkirkara, who moved into second spot after their success against Marsaxlokk. At the other end of the table, Pietà Hotspurs and Mqabba FC have been confirmed as the two clubs who will drop into the second tier next season.

Last updated: 05/05/08 16.48CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=mlt/news/newsid=692058.html#scrihas+spell+casts+title+valletta

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