Schembri vows to regain coach’s faith at Boavista
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Schembri vows to regain coach’s faith at Boavista

Andre Schembri has vowed to win his place back in Boavista’s starting formation after slipping down the pecking order at the Primeira Liga side this winter.

The 30-year-old forward has experienced mixed fortunes since moving to Portugal last summer on a two-year contact after a spell with Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia.

For most of the first weeks of the current campaign, Schembri was a mainstay in Miguel Leal’s team, scoring three times for Boavista, including one in a thrilling 3-3 draw away at giants Benfica.

However, since the start of the year Schembri saw his first-team opportunities limited following the arrival of Peruvian striker Ivan Bulos.

The towering Bulos has since become Leal’s preferred option in attack, forcing Schembri to a peripheral role.

 “The last few weeks have been quite frustrating for me,” Schembri told Times of Malta yesterday.

“I was giving my all and doing well but then I lost my place in the first team. It came so unexpectedly and no-one gave me an explanation as to what led to the change.

“I was performing quite well but it seems that the coach wanted to give a chance to new striker Ivan Bulos. Perhaps, he fits in the coach’s system of play more than I do as he’s taller and more muscular so he can adapt better to our long-ball game.

“Since joining Boavista I have been deployed as a lone striker, which is not my preferred position. However, I always give my 100 per cent and I’m determined to keep working hard to win back the coach’s faith.”

Boavista is a great club and a once in a life-time opportunity so I am not ready to lose that

Last weekend, Schembri made a very late substitute appearance for Boavista in a 3-0 home win over Maritimo. He replaced Bulos, scorer of the third goal.

Despite the lack of first-team action, Schembri is not giving up on his career in Portugal as he wants to keep alive his dream of playing for a big club like Boavista.

“Psychologically, it’s not easy for someone like me who was a regular player to find himself on the bench but that’s also part of the game I suppose,” Schembri, who made 24 appearance for Boavista in all competitions this season, reckoned.

“The fans have been of great help and a lot of them get in touch with me to show their support and for this I am very thankful. That helps me to keep motivated and willing to keep contributing to this big club.”

Schembri is also aware that lack of playing time at club level could jeopardise his chances with the national team in this month’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at the National Stadium.

“If you’re not playing regularly for your club that could leave a negative effect on your chances of making the national squad,” Schembri said.

“One also has to understand that your place in the team is never guaranteed when at a club like Boavista. However, I hope to be able to turn my situation as quickly as possible and regain my match sharpness.”

During his time at Boavista other clubs had shown interest in Schembri’s services but he made it clear that he has no plans to the leave.

“The Primeira Liga attracts the interest of club scouts from all over the world. Here, you are always monitored,” Schembri, who turned down a move to Brazil during the January transfer window, explained.

“Other agents made contact after seeing me out of the first team lately but I made it known to them that I’m not interested. As I said Boavista is a great club and a once in a life-time opportunity so I am not ready to lose that.

“I want to keep playing in this league and, perhaps, be of assistance to any other Maltese players who could come to play here.”

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