Stefan Sultana, the highest scorer in the history of the Maltese Premier League, will appear in a testimonial match on Friday to mark his retirement as a player on the Mediterranean island.
The 41-year-old will wear the red and black of Hamrun Spartans FC for the last time when he lines up for a side comprising some of the club's most famous players and takes on a former Maltese international XI. Proceeds from the occasion will be donated to charity and among the dignitaries expected at Hamrun's Victor Tedesco Stadium will be Dr George Abela, the president of Malta.
A product of Hamrun's youth system, Sultana made his top-flight debut on 28 April 1985 in a 4-0 defeat of Marsa FC, going on to score 197 league goals in an illustrious 25-year career. Goal number 174 of that haul will forever be remembered as the moment when Sultana made history, his strike in a 3-1 victory against Marsaxlokk FC on 5 February 2003 giving him the outright lead in the scorers' charts.
"Being the best-ever scorer in Maltese football history is naturally a great honour," Sultana, who also spent two years with Hibernians FC between 1999 and 2001, told uefa.com. "Having also achieved this with a club who have struggled for the past 15 seasons or more makes this an even greater achievement. I was lucky to play for Hamrun in the late '80s, the most successful spell the club has ever had."
That spell included the three league titles Sultana won in a career which also yielded four Maltese Cups. His final appearance as a player saw Hamrun lose 2-0 to Qormi FC on 3 May, and Sultana cannot wait to don his boots once more and evoke memories of his former glories. "Playing again with my ex team-mates who formed part of the best team in Hamrun Spartans history will definitely bring back a lot of pleasurable memories," he continued. "On the other side there will be some of the finest national team players of the '80s and '90s and this will make the game an even more memorable one for all of us to enjoy to the full."
Since his retirement, Sultana has stepped up his attempts to carve out a coaching career which the the former Maltese international hopes will, one day, enable him to take charge of a top-flight club. "Having achieved my UEFA A coaching license from the Malta Football Association, I am looking forward to developing my coaching career," he said. "I have been involved in the youth sector of Hamrun Spartans for the past six years and currently I am coaching the Under-17 team. Obviously my ambition for the future is to coach a senior team but I have no hurry for that. I am very happy where I am at the moment."
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