Earlier on this year, I spoke to one of Malta’s best young right backs about his international career and how he viewed Maltese football. Eight months down the line, I catch up with Zach Muscat and speak to him about a possible move to Italy.
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 experienced a number 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.
Muscat has already successfully scored two goals in eight appearances for Birkirkara during their 2015/16 campaign.
I last spoke to you in March, how has your career progressed since then?
Unfortunately I am still on the island so not much has changed. However I’ve grown on the field through learning from my mistakes. I have also gained experience by playing almost regularly with the national team, so there is always a positive there.
How did you find the two Europa League matches against West Ham?
It was a truly humbling experience bringing out the best in us and showing me even more that I’m in the right career path.
Were you lucky enough to swap shirts with one of their Premier League stars?
No I kept my own sweat.
How different was Upton Park compared to the grounds you are used to visiting in Malta?
The Maltese facilities are low standard and this is clearly shown in the league’s pace. Upton park was a whole new level.
Michael Mifsud played for a number of sides outside of Malta, Have you ever considered a move abroad?
I recently went on trial with Pisa Calcio who play in the Italian Lega Pro, where I was offered a contract however unfortunate events from my club’s side prevented the move. I want to get away as soon as possible!
You are only 22 years old and have made over 50 appearances for Birkirkara, where do you see yourself in five years?
Well I am going onto my 94th appearance in under four years of playing top flight football, which is fantastic. As always my main aim is to play abroad. I’d love to play anywhere where there is more exposure to further propel my career.
What is your ultimate ambition as a footballer?
I want to play abroad and share my passion professionally.
Do you see yourself going into management when you retire from the game?
Managing is not really my thing but there is always a possibility. I have a passion for architecture and I am currently studying hard so that would be my second calling.
How is your season going compared to any previous seasons?
This is by far the best season. I have already played at club and national level whilst scoring three goals in eight appearances.
You scored twice against Balzan on Tuesday, can you tell us a bit more about your goal celebration with Ryan Scicluna?
We have been together a while but lately our bond has become unbreakable. We support each other no matter what, in every aspect. He is a brother to me and a true friend. I told him I would celebrate with him when I scored and it finally came! Then the greatest return was that he came on and scored himself. He is a super lad and a great player with a great future.