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J.J. Aquilina new City coach

Valletta quick to replace Marinov

Valletta FC will be pinning their hopes of regaining their place among the elite teams in the Premier League on new coach J.J. Aquilina. The former Xghajra Tornadoes and Marsaxlokk trainer replaces Bulgarian Atanas Marinov who quit the City club the other week.

Aquilina will be in charge of Malta's Regions Cup selection this year but that job will not keep him away from coaching Valletta who reacted quickly to appoint a replacement after Marinov's departure.

Aquilina, a former Sliema Wanderers, Floriana and Malta midfielder, will be Valletta's third coach over the past two years. He succeeds Dennis Fenech and Marinov under whose guidance Valletta finished in their worst ever position and without European club football for many a year.

Valletta FC secretary Anton Abela confirmed the news. He said the club had reached an agreement with Aquilina who will be signing a one-year contract, probably with an option for a second year.

Aquilina is relishing the opportunity to start at his new job. He considers the Valletta bench a challenging job.

"No doubt, this will be an arduous task from all aspects," Aquilina said. "Valletta are a great team with a glorious past. They are coming from a bad season and their morale is at a low ebb at the moment.

"However, there is no challenge without hard work. Organisation at the club is good and despite last season's upset there's an air of optimism which made me accept their offer right-away."

Asked if the Regions Cup would deviate him from his work at Valletta, Aquilina, who finished without a club last month after coaching Lija for most of the season, said:

"Today (yesterday) I talked about it with Charles Camilleri, the president, and Paul Spiteri, the vice-president. I made it clear I want to honour my commitment with the Regions Cup team in September. Selecting a squad from the first, second and third division will take some of my time but, no, it won't distract me from my work at Valletta.

"This club deserves better. We should start pre-season in mid-July. Perhaps, a place in Euro club competitions next season should be our main target."

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