Spartans vs Stripes for the Tivoli Cup
Ħamrun Spartrans will be playing fellow Premier League side Birkirkara in the second edition of the Tivoli Cup at the Tedesco Stadium on August 10.
“We are pleased that Birkirkara have accepted our invitation to play in this year’s Tivoli Cup,” Spartans vice-president Joseph Fenech told a news conference in Hamrun, yesterday.
“We are anticipating a very close contest between two teams with high ambitions for the upcoming season. We expect both sets of fans to be here at the stadium as this will be a very interesting pre-season match.”
Present for the launching of the Tivoli Cup yesterday was Stefan Sultana, the Ħamrun coach. He talked up the importance of the early-season encounter.
“It’s very useful to play high-quality matches during pre-season and no doubt the Tivoli Cup will be an ideal test for both teams to field new players and fine-tune tactics before the start of the season,” he said.
“After more than four weeks of training this summer we are coming close to the point when we decide on our strongest squad and the match against Birkirkara will give us a good indication.
“The players have been working really hard in training and that gives us hope that we can enjoy a positive season.”
Paul Zammit, the Birkirkara coach, reckons the Tivoli Cup will give him the opportunity to introduce more of his fringe players into real action.
“We are giving this match its due importance as this will be our final run-out before the champ-ionship kicks off,” Zammit said.
“Unfortunately, we’ll have some players in the national squad or the Under-21 who will not be available for this match.
“We can still field a strong starting formation but there will be more time for reserve players to stake a claim for a first-team berth.”
For the Tivoli Cup, Birkirkara are expected to have Spanish defender Alejandro Mendoza Corojo in their squad.
The 26-year-old defender, formerly of Tenerife and Atletico Granadilla, is currently having a trial at the Infetti Ground with a view of earning a contract.
The Spartans, meanwhile, have not retained Bulgarian goal-keeper Hristov Bahtarliev who did not impress during a short trial period.
Ħamrun are now mulling a move for Anthony Curmi, who was on the books of Sliema Wanderers in 2011-12, or Mosta’s Jonathan Debono.