Ambitious Briffa setting the bar high at Gżira 

Gżira United have been the revelation of the 2017-18 season after winning their opening three league matches.

Gżira United have been the revelation of the 2017-18 season after winning their opening three league matches.

Gżira United fans felt a sense of pride when yesterday they opened the local sports pages and saw their team at the top of the Premier League standings.

The Maroons have so far been the revelation of the 2017-18 season as last week the team guided by Darren Abdilla eased past Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 to move in unfamiliar territory.

In fact this was Gżira’s third successive win that lifted them to the top of the standings on nine points, two ahead of champions Hibernians and Valletta.

The club’s transfer policy of attracting a number of established and experienced talent to their fold seems to be bearing the desired fruit as Gżira have made a leap in quality and on this form they may well have a say on the destination of the major domestic honours this season.

Roderick Briffa was one of the marquee signings joining the Maroons this summer and the former Valletta midfielder took little time to settle down in his new environs.

His midfield partnership with former Malta team-mate Andrew Cohen has been a central figure in the club’s excellent start to the season.

Briffa said that he was impressed with the great team spirit he found at Gżira and genuinely believes that the club can seriously aspire to set higher goals this season.

“I really think that we have a good team here at Gżira,” Briffa told Times of Malta.

“When I joined the club I found a very talented crop of players who are really motivated to experience success.

The team spirit is excellent and that is mirrored in our performances on the pitch.

“Our coach has managed to assemble a blend of young and experienced players who are keen to make a name for themselves.

The club has brought in the likes of Justin Haber and Amadou Samb who are established figures in the Premier League while we also have some talented young players who are also thriving in the top flight.

“Looking at how well the team is playing at the moment I would not be surprised if the club would alter their expectations for the season.”

For the majority of his career, Briffa has represented some of the best sides in the Premier League and is used to challenge for the top honours.

Briffa’s decision to quit Valletta this summer has raised a few eyebrows, especially when one considers the Citizens struggles at the start of the season.

But the former Birkirkara and Sliema Wanderers midfielder feels no recriminations and said that his move to Gżira could lead him to a far bigger achievement late in his career.

“I can understand that my decision might have baffled a few people but I still defend my decision to leave Valletta,” he said.

“My eight-year spell with Valletta has produced some great memories and I will remain grateful with the club committee and fans for all their support during my time there.

“But now I’m focused on my career with Gżira and I think that we have enough talent to be able to challenge for honours.

It will not be easy as there is a great balance in the top flight this season but surely winning an honour with a club like Gżira would surely rank high among my career achievements.”

Next up for Gżira is a match against Hibernians and Briffa reckons that the clash against the champions will shed further light on his team’s ambitions for this season.

“We are bracing ourselves to a very difficult match against Hibs,” Briffa said.

“Facing the current league champions is always a big task, let alone for a club like Gżira.

But we are approaching the match with a lot of confidence and hopefully we can give them a good run for their money.”

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