2017 is an important year for the Malta Football Association as we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the national team’s first official international match. Malta made its international bow in a friendly encounter with Austria at the Empire Stadium on the 24th of February, 1957. The game ended 3-2 in favour of the Austrians with Malta staging a late rally and scoring twice through Tony Cauchi and Sammy Nicholl after falling 3-0 behind.
To commemorate this landmark occasion, the MFA is planning to organise a series of events and initiatives over the coming months, starting with a reception in honour of the players of the Malta team from that historic game.
Dr Matthew Paris, the Malta FA vice-president who is co-ordinating the 60th Anniversary Celebrations, gave details of the planned events during a news conference last week.
“The festivities kick off on Friday, February 24, 60 years to the day from that historic game, with a reception in honour of the members of that famous Malta team who are still alive,” Dr Paris said.
“Exclusive mementos and gifts commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Malta-Austria friendly will be presented to our veteran heroes by Malta Football Association President Norman Darmanin Demajo and General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti.”
The MFA has also unveiled the 60th anniversary logo while a video feature commemorating the game will be shown for the first time during tomorrow's social event at the National Stadium.
Other activities and initiatives include a commemorative publication, currently being compiled by the MFA Communications Office, and visits by members of the national squads to hospitals and children homes under the Association’s Football For Life programme.
60 years of international football has also been selected as the main theme of this season’s MFA Awards, to be held in May, and will feature prominently in the build-up to the eagerly-awaited World Cup qualifier against England on September 1, 2017.