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Excess RP Bidnija target improved Euro showing

Merger has made club stronger – secretary

Excess RP Bidnija have their sights firmly set on a strong showing in this season’s UEFA Futsal Cup as the Malta champions prepare for their second successive participation in the European competition.

Last year, Excess became the first Maltese side to win a competitive European futsal game when they beat Albania’s KF Tirana. They then drew with eventual group winners FS Ilves Tampere, of Finland, to finish third in the preliminary round tournament at the Cottonera Sports Complex.

Twelve months on, Excess are eyeing another shot at their long-term goal of reaching the next phase of the competition.

However, their task will be anything but easy as they have been drawn against top seeds, FC Eindhoven, of the Netherlands, Turkish side Istanbul Universitesi SK and KMF Zelazerek who are hosting the four-team tournament in Skopje, Macedonia, between August 17 and 22.

The group winner will gain a berth in the main round of the UEFA Futsal Cup.

“We are facing a very tough challenge,” Excess player-coach Anton Florin told a news conference yesterday.

“Our opponents in the group are very difficult. Eindhoven are one of the best teams in the competition while Zelazerek will have home advantage. Istanbul have made great strides forward and will be hard to beat.

“Our objective is to try and do better than last season. Our squad has been strengthened with the arrival of several players. It’s logical that the team needs more time to gel but I’m confident that we will be ready when the tournament kicks off.”

Excess RP Bidnija have signed several experienced players such as Serbians Alex Ribic and Vojko Martinovic, Tarek Ibrahim, Clint Cope and Christian Micallef.

Away from the playing court, towards the end of last season Excess agreed a merger with another local club, RP Bidnija, and club secretary Mark Borg believes this move has benefited the club.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the decision to join forces with RP Bidnija has strengthened our club considerably,” Borg said.

“We have a stronger squad and the club is run more efficiently. Unfortunately, some local clubs filed protests with the MFA over our eligibility to represent Malta in Europe because of this merger but those protests were immediately turned down by the MFA.

“The amalgamation of clubs is commonplace in futsal around the world and I can’t see why some clubs are making a fuss about Excess’s link-up with RP Bidnija.”

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