Exclusive Interview: Birkirkara FC and Maltese International Zach Muscat

Since joining Birkirkara FC in the 2012 transfer window from Pieta Hotspurs FC Maltese right back Zach Muscat has gone onto become a highly rated international footballer for both club and country.

By the age of 16 years old Muscat was called up to join the U17 Maltese National Squad. He made his debut against Northern Ireland which resulted in a 2-0 defeat. Following this, he was named as captain of the side who recorded a historic win against Holland.

2011 was an important year in the right back’s career where he made his U21 National Team debut in a goal-less draw against Finland, he scored his first goal in a 4-1 loss against Slovenia.

During the 2011-12 season, Muscat had a season full of brilliant performances for Pieta Hotspurs but sadly Hotspurs failed to gain promotion to the Maltese Premier League Division. This was disappointing after they were seen to be dominating the league for the first few months. Pieta Hotspurs finished in third position with Muscat scoring two goals.

Following a successful season Muscat was linked with a number of clubs, on 7th August 2012 he signed a contract with Maltese Premier League side Birkirkara. With determination and commitment Muscat went onto become one of the leagues most promising youngsters in his first season of top flight football. He scored two goals in 26 appearances.

Following his promising first season for the Stripes Muscat signed a three-year deal in July 2013, keeping him at the club until 2016. Again Muscat proved why he was a core member in Paul Zammit’s squad with a number of first class performances. During the 2013-14 season Muscat managed to score twice in 28 appearances.

CR = Charlie Russell (elwriteback)

ZM = Zach Muscat (Birkirkara FC)

CR: Who’s the best player you’ve played against and what was is like playing against them?

ZM: As a defender the most probable answer would include a player who I have marked and therefore generally a striker or winger. In that case it would have to be Mario Mandzukic (Atlético Madrid and Croatia). He likes contact and his runs are unpredictable which meant that I could not allow myself to lose vision of him for even a second or he’d be miles ahead! He is a player that keeps you mentally locked on for over 90 minutes.

Mario Mandžukić
Mario Mandžukić
CR: How do you think the Maltese leagues compare to the English leagues? 

ZM: By far the top English leagues are of dominance to the Maltese top league. The gap is all in the mentality and attitude of the local game. I would say on average you would have an English League Two level of standard at best, however on the best days for our top sides they could defiantly match the English League One and maybe even a lower level Championship performance but on lower quality days the Maltese leagues could easily go down to the standard and quality of the conference.

Michael Mifsud has played in both the English Football League and The Maltese Premier League.
Michael Mifsud has played in both the English Football League and The Maltese Premier League.
CR: Last year Paul Ince was linked with the Sliema Wanderers managers job, do you think this would have opened up Maltese football to a larger audience around Europe and attract high profile players?

ZM: Big names have been linked to Maltese football several times. Any extra publicity surely helps us. I believe we are still looking for that one break through to open doors for local talent as I’m certain we have the level to make it big with the right set up.

Paul Ince
Paul Ince
CR: If you could choose any player to join you at Birkirkara who would it be and why?

ZM: I wouldn’t go into detail here as there’s to much homework to choose the perfect player to help us, however I believe that the squad at Birkirkara have the ability to bring out the best in it with what we have rather than look for outsiders.

CR: Where do you see Maltese football in 10 years?

ZM: If nothing is done to change the attitude of those running it and those playing it, I seriously don’t see any Maltese football in 10 years but if it’s taken care of by the few who love the game then I’m sure we can taper the island’s talent to being successful and no longer be underdogs in every match.

CR: How involved are Maltese football clubs with the local community?

ZM: Besides fund raising events for the clubs I would say not involved at all. There is no synergy between the two entities whatsoever and that would be an interesting basis to start the rejuvenation of the game we love!

Zach Muscat
Zach Muscat

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