As they prepare to grace the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying stage, Mosta FC are relishing the prospect of living what captain Marisa Harvey says is "a dream come true".
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When Mosta FC lifted the Maltese women's league title at the end of last season, playing in Europe's elite female club competition was a distant afterthought, but with just over two weeks to go before they grace the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying stage for the first time, the realisation has started to dawn. "It is a better feeling than I ever imagined," Mosta captain Marisa Harvey told UEFA.com. "A dream come true".
After losing once in 15 matches last season, Mosta claimed the first title in their history by an eight-point winning margin. Their success ended the dominance of local rivals Hibernians FC and Birkirkara FC and was a triumph that had been a particularly long time coming for Harvey.
"Winning the league after 16 years here meant a lot of patience and sacrifice," the former Maltese international told UEFA.com. "This could not have happened without each and every player and the coaching staff believing in themselves. Now we have to gear up for the Champions League. It will be a huge challenge for us and we will definitely play against very strong opposition so we will all have to be more motivated than ever. We will have to stay focused, play as a team and hopefully we will get the results we deserve."
Two other key players in last season's successful campaign, Malta team-mates Rebecca D'Agostino and Natasha Pace, are also looking forward to the challenge that awaits them in Subotica, where Ray Sant's side will meet KÍ Klaksvík, Glasgow City LFC and Serbian hosts ŽFK Spartak Jaffa in the Group 5 mini-tournament over five days from 11 August.
"Winning this league with Mosta meant a lot to me," said Malta captain D'Agostino. "It has to rank as one of my most satisfying achievements in my football career. It was the club's and most of the players' first ever title. I was very proud to be part of this team."
Pace added: "We had an amazing season – and an unexpected league title win – and now we have earned us the right to represent Malta in the Champions League. Wow, what a thrill! I am so looking forward to playing in the only women's football tournament I haven't experienced in my career."