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Guzi Pisani - Sliema Wanderers and MFA XI

Sliema Wanderers - 1925-26 league champions. Guzi Pisani is standing in back row, second from left.

Sliema Wanderers - 1925-26 league champions. Guzi Pisani is standing in back row, second from left.

There are very few people around who still remember the type of football played in the 1920s.

The vast majority of us didn't have the opportunity to see some of the greatest players ever produced by Maltese football.

This list of stars is long and it includes such illustrious names as that of Dr Frankie Busuttil, Ruggieru Friggieri, Archie Caunter, Karmenu Tabone, Gejtu Psaila and Johnnie Fearne among others.

The 1920s brought a revival of everything that is good in the world. Music, fashion, arts and, of course, football flourished.

In Malta, however, after the glorious period before the First World War, the game witnessed a slump in attendances. This does not mean that the standard of play diminished. It was rather the organisation of the game in general that suffered.

The 1920s were glorious years, at least, as far as great players were concerned. One player from that era who was a favourite with the Sliema supporters was the diminutive Guzi Pisani.

He was hardly five feet tall but for him that was no handicap. There were many short players in football but Pisani was certainly one of the shortest.

His lack of height, however, was more than compensated for by his all-out endeavour. Pisani would never shirk a tackle when circumstances demanded it and in those days, this happened all too often.

Playing mostly at inside-left, he frequently partnered Frankie Busuttil, forming one of the deadliest goal scoring machines in the game.

Pisani was a fine dribbler who frequently went past bigger and heavier opponents with ease.

He possessed many of the qualities that make a first-class footballer - good positional play, excellent distribution of the ball, fine dribbling and great energy which, at the height of his career, was proverbial.

Undoubtedly, Pisani was one of the most feared forwards of his time. He spent his entire career with his one and only club, Sliema Wanderers with whom he won the League Championship in 1925-26 and 1929-30. His career was short but certainly, not uneventful.

A glance at his track record will surely mislead anyone not familiar with the way football was played before.

He figured in only 21 league games but in those days, the league was only played between four or five teams and a player could only average three to four matches a season.

Compared to the number of games played, his total of 18 goals is also very impressive. All in all, one can safely say that Pisani was a fine player, a great asset to his team and a first-class sportsman.

Pisani's best season was undoubtedly 1925-26. He won a championship medal and finished top-scorer in the league with seven goals.

He was also picked six times for the national team for prestigious matches against visiting foreign clubs and representative Service XI.

His full list of matches for the MFA XI was:

06-11-1927
Charity Match vs Navy 0-1

06-01-1928
Tourney vs Hajduks (Yug) 1-1

17-04-1928
Tourney vs Grenoble (Fra) 5-1

13-05-1939
Rep. Match vs Army 3-0

21-05-1929
Tourney vs Tottenham H. (Eng) 1-5

09-02-1930
Rep. Match vs Combined Ser. 0-1

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