Malta Football Association
Improving the footballer at the heart of our work – Mangia
Jan 17, 2020
Posted in:
National Team
Devis Mangia (left), the newly-appointed Head Coach of the National Teams, and Bjorn Vassallo, President of the Malta FA. PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Devis Mangia (left), the newly-appointed Head Coach of the National Teams, and Bjorn Vassallo, President of the Malta FA. PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Devis Mangia (left), the newly-appointed Head Coach of the National Teams, and Bjorn Vassallo, President of the Malta FA. PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Devis Mangia. PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

The appointment of Devis Mangia as Head Coach of the National Teams represents an important step in the technical projects being implemented by the Malta Football Association with the aim of raising the standards of Maltese football at all levels.

Mangia, who guided the Italy Under-21 team to the final of the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2013, was officially presented to the media on Friday, in the presence of Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo, after signing a four-year contract to lead the national team and the Association’s technical sector.


“First and foremost, I’d like to thank the president and the Malta Football Association for selecting me to lead this project which is very ambitious,” Mangia, who holds a UEFA Pro Licence, said.


“My mission is to work hard to achieve the objectives set out in the Association’s strategic programme.”


Mangia, who has also coached several Italian clubs as well as in the top league of Romania, said that improving the level of the Maltese footballer is at the heart of his philosophy, stressing the need for a collective approach.


“We will be looking to ceate a strong team,” he said. “There is the national A squad and the coaching staff but also the Technical Centre. Only by working together we can attain results. This is not my objective, these are our objectives. To raise the level of Maltese football, we need to improve the footballer – this will be our primary objective in line with the guidance on a unified philosophy for all the components of the technical sector. All the technical projects will work in sync.”


Mangia, who has been in Malta for the past few weeks, will be making his debut as national team coach during the March international week with friendlies lined up against Gibraltar and Azerbaijan while Liechtenstein will also be playing matches here during a training camp.



Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo elaborated on the technical overhaul which revolves around three pillars – technical centre (national team selections), professional football team and the Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation (long-term football development).


“For the past 60 years, there has been an outcry about the need to do more to improve the performances and obtain better results on the international scene,” Vassallo said.


“Now we have a strategy in place with clear objectives.


“A lot of work has been carried out in the last six months. We have had discussions with experts representing three different football philosophies – Italian, Spanish, English – before opting for the Italian school of football which we believe is best suited for our football.


“We have embarked on a technical overhaul which centres around professionalsm, a defined game philosophy, football development and player welfare. We are not changing a coach but the entire system.”



Commenting on the appointment of Mangia as Head Coach of the National Teams, Vassallo: “We have chosen Devis Mangia because of many factors, including his age, his motivation and determination to succeed, his curriculum and also his experience, having worked both at club level in Italy and Romania and also internationally as coach of the Italy Under-21 team.


“It’s important that we have synergy between the projects and we believe Devis is the right person to lead this.”


Vassallo explained that the Association’s main technical projects, which also include the introduction of a professional club (seniors and Under-19) in the Italian Lega Pro and the creation of the Foundation, are based on best practices successfully adopted in other countries.


“At FIFA, I was responsible for the 55 European associations and this gave me the opportunity to identify some best practices which can be adapted to Maltese football,” Vassallo said.


“This is a national project for everyone not just football followers and we need the support of all stakeholders and the general public.”

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