Two categories withdrawn from 2004 contest
Organisers of the Malta Football Awards yesterday announced the names of the finalists for Saturday's presentations night at the Westin Dragonara Hotel. The list of categories, in this year's third edition, was trimmed down to 10 though after organisers were forced to withdraw two categories - the best referee and assistant referee.
Sandro Micallef, one of the organisers, told a news conference that the Malta FA had given clear instructions to its match officials not to accept any award or any other honour related to their personal performance during the past season.
"This is something we do not have any control on," Micallef said. "Naturally, we're disappointed that the MFA had taken such stance. We still cannot understand why such a decision was taken because as far as we know we have good relations with the association.
"The Malta Football Awards have now reached their third year. All starts are difficult but our contest has become a permanent fixture in the calendar of local football.
"Unfortunately, this time we had to withdraw the two categories concerning match officials. If the winners were to be announced on Saturday and no one turns up for the award it would be a clear sign of disrespect that this contest does not deserve."
Micallef said the vote for best referee and assistant referee has already been held. The winners would have been Adrian Casha and Ingmar Spiteri respectively.
A quick glance on the list of finalists, one notes that champions Sliema Wanderers have the most nominations - 11. The Top Maltese Player of the past season is an all-Sliema affair as Joe Brincat, Stefan Giglio and Michael Mifsud were shortlisted for this award.
Giglio, Mifsud, Brincat, along with Sliema team-mate Danilo Doncic, and Floriana's Andre Rocha Da Silva were nominated in two categories.
After a preliminary vote, the best goal of the season category is reserved to three finalists - Birkirkara's Lucian Dronca (goal vs Msida), Daniel Nwoke, of Msida (goal vs Balzan), and Pietà's Ivan Woods (goal vs Floriana).
During Saturday's show, with Vodafone among the main sponsors, the public will have the chance to take part in an SMS-poll, asking participants whether they are in favour or not of the Malta FA's proposal to limit the number of foreign players to three in our Premier League matches.
Best goalkeeper: O. Borg (Msida), I. Casha (Marsaxlokk), S. Darmanin (Pietà).
Best defender: J. Chetcuti (Sliema), R. Gango Rtsa (Floriana), B. Said (Sliema).
Best midfielder: J. Brincat (Sliema), A. Da Silva (Floriana), S. Giglio (Sliema).
Best forward: D. Bogdanovic (Marsaxlokk), D. Doncic (Sliema), M. Mifsud (Sliema).
Most promising youngster: K. Fabri (Hamrun), C. Frendo (Pietà), A. Schembri (Hibs).
Best coach: E. Aquilina (Sliema), S. Azzopardi (Birkirkara), R. Farrugia (Pietà).
Best foreigner: A. Da Silva (Floriana). H. Doda (Birkirkara), D. Doncic (Sliema).
Best Maltese player: J. Brincat, S. Giglio, M. Mifsud (all Sliema).
Best Goal Of The Season: L. Dronca (Birkirkara), D. Nwoke (Msida), I. Woods (Pietà).
Best female player: R. D'Agostino (Birkirkara), J. Coates (Mosta), D. Theuma and D. Tonna (both Hibs).