16.02.16 U19s Coach, Rodney Bugeja praises the progress made so far
Jeffrick Cachia caught up with Coach Rodney Bugeja after the latest clash with top placed Kirkop United.
Coach Rodney, visibly the Squad has come a long way since the start of the season. What do you think was the determining factor leading to such an improvement?
The minors squad has improved a lot since the beginning of the season. There is no secret formula.. it's just down to hard work and the great sense of unity in the squad. All the boys have worked hard from day one, doing their best to improve both individually and as a team. They have shown great commitment to the cause; doing their best to attend as many training sessions as they possibly can. Their will to learn is amazing. Something I have been impressed by is the sense of friendship in the team. The older players have done a great job to integrate the younger ones into the squad and we have a great team spirit as a result.
From your comments over the last encounter you urged the boys to keep working hard and that their improvement on the field of play ended up improving you as a coach. What are your views on this?
We lost unluckily against a very good Kirkop team, which now makes it difficult to get the promotion. It's not only their improvement on the field that has improved me as a coach, but its more the attitude they have shown, even when the chips are down. They have shown their character time and time again...they just never give up. The first Kirkop game and the game against Mellieha in the trophy come to mind.. We were losing both games 2-0 and we had a great reaction in both games; drawing Mellieha to take them into extra time and getting back to 3-2 against Kirkop. They just don't know when to throw the towel in. I think this is what this squad has thought me throughout the season, that no matter how difficult the situation, it's important to keep fighting til the end and I have no doubt that that's what we will keep doing in the last 4 league matches
A number of matches to be played till the end of the season, what shall be the main priorities of the U19s Squad?
We have 4 league matches left. Our main priority is the same as it was at the beginning of the season - to develop each and every player, both as a footballer and also as a person, and that's what we will keep aiming for. Our main aim never was to get promotion - that would be an added bonus. We want these minors to be the core of our future Swieqi seniors team. This year we have seen some of our minors step up to the seniors squad. We have Nicholas Schembri, Matteo Caribotti, Luke Pace and more recently Dean Grech who have established themselves with the senior squad, whle the likes of Thomas Camilleri, Thomas Debono, Benji Frendo, Mark Martin, Luca Borg, Ryan Muscat Verzin, Edward Gatt and Nathan Chatland have all tasted senior level football and all have left a very good impression. With the promise and commitment that these boys have shown during the season, the future for Swieqi is very bright! My dream is to see most of these boys playing for Swieqi together at a higher level!
The Club wishes the best of luck to the U19 Squad for the final phase of the season!