Malta’s senior women’s side have enjoyed three consecutive victories in recent months, results attributed to the hard work which has been undertaken in developing the grassroots game by the country’s Football Association.
Girls in primary schools are encouraged to take up the game and teams and leagues are being formed at an astonishing rate. Football festivals are also held regularly across the country which gives girls an opportunity to play football in an enjoyable, learning environment.
One of the most recent took place on 27 December 2012 at the Centenary Stadium within the MFA’s Football Complex at Ta’ Qali which attracted 140 girls between the ages of 6 and 13. The festival was organised with FIFA’s support, as it provided all the footballs and bibs used.
Among the participants were 43 complete novices to football who were not previously registered with a club. To make the day more exciting, coaching sessions were undertaken by the women’s national team coaches, the MFA Girls’ Academy coaches and national team players.
A commemorative FIFA t-shirt was given to each girl who registered for the festival. As a form of encouragement the girls were again presented with a gift if they introduced a friend to football.
Under MFA technical director Robert Gatt, the country’s Technical Centre has two main targets which are to improve and strengthen the women’s national team and to attract girls to football at a very young age.
To reach these objectives, the Technical Centre works on improving the National League, providing free pitches and referees, organising an U-16 league and regular seminars and providing training facilities to the teams which represent the country at the various national levels.