The first attempts to establish the Mqabba F.C. Youth Nursery date back to 1993, when the never forgotten Mr Joe Bugeja (known as id-Demsey), gathered children from the village and gave them the opportunity to acquire basic football training. For some reason or another, the Nursery soon came to an end.
In the year 2000 Mr Joe Farrugia shared his thoughts with Mr. Mark Bondin about establishing a football nursery. A group of 20 trainees all aged under 12 attended training with Mr Bondin, who is the current Nursery’s Head Coach. This season coincided with the promotion of the Mqabba F.C. senior team to the 1st Dvision.
The following season (2001/2002), the number of children doubled and the U/10 section was introduced, with training being held twice a week. The U/12’s had an impressive year, having good runs in YFA Tournaments and finishing Runners Up in another two tournaments organized at Zebbug and Zurrieq.
The 2002/2003 saw the Nursery growing considerably with the increase of both, children and coaches. The trainees attending for regular training rose up to 70. The coaches were Omar Caruana and Joe Borg (U/8), Alan Friggieri (U/10), Paul Calleja (U/12) and Mark Bondin (U/14), under voluntary basis. Tracksuits and kits were also introduced for training sessions and matches. During the following year (2003/2004), the situation remained practically the same, with a slight rise in trainees. However, during this season, the Nursery started investing in the coaching staff with coaches beginning to attend courses organized by MFA, so as to have better quality training.
A new 5-a-side synthetic football ground adjacent to the renovated sandy pitch enabled the Nursery to improve the quality of the training. Apart from these, new premises were erected for the Nursery to have its own facilities. During this season, the squads were divided in U/6, U/8, U/10, U/12, U/14, U/16 and U/19. The number of trainees attending training rose to 160 with 15 coaches organizing 16 training sessions per week. Training sessions were coordinated by two Head Coaches with UEFA “B” License, Mr. Mark Bondin and Mag. Darren Micallef.
The 2008-2009 season saw the installation of synthetic turf on the Nurseries main ground together with the building of adjacent dressing rooms, equipment room and an administration office. These added and renovated facilities gave more opportunities for better improvement of both the technical and personal aspects of the trainees. For the 2009-2010 seasons, given that the facilities were in place, the Nursery invested in experienced and qualified coaching team with the aim to improve on the continuous personal development of the trainees.
In 2010, Mqabba FC Youth Nursery has celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The logo chosen for this celebration was "FOR THE GOOD OF THE YOUNG". Several activities were organized with the main event being a reception organized at the nursery premises in the presence of Onor. Clyde Puli, Parliamentary Secretary for Youths and Sports. As from 2011-2012 season Mr Jimmy Briffa, ex-Maltese national player, was appointed as Technical Director. This was an important season when Mqabba FC Youth Nursery signed a new sponsorship contract with Eurosport and changed its kits’ brand from Legea to Adidas.
Since the foundation of Mqabba FC Youth Nursery, both Brandon Debono and Omar Farrugia made their debut and are still regularly selected as part of the parent team. Brandon Debono, from the Under 17 team made his debut with Mqabba FC on the 3rd May 2010 in the match against Balzan Youths which match was won by Mqabba FC 1-0. Brandon made his debut at the age of 15 years. Omar Farrugia, another player within the Under 17 who made his first debut with parent team Mqabba FC on Sunday 1st May 2011 against Dingli. Omar was instrumental for the third goal scored by Jean Paul Muscat from penalty in a game which Mqabba won 3-1. Omar was also selected to join the U17 Malta National Team and made his debut for Malta on Monday 24th October 2011 during the UEFA U17 Championship against the team of Montenegro. During the season 2012/2013 we saw the debut of more players. On Sunday 14th April 2013, it was the time for our Under 19 regular player Kurt Falzon. Kurt made his debut with Mqabba FC at the age of 17 years in the match against Naxxar which match ended 3-0 for Naxxar. On Saturday 20th April 2013, Ryan Vella (17 years) from the Under 17 squad and Adrian Abdilla (18 years) from our Under 19 team made their debut for Mqabba FC against Gudja United during the pre-last First Division League match held at Luxol Ground. Match ended 4-1 for Gudja. It is to note also that during this match Mqabba FC had five players from the Nursery on the pitch with Curtis Callus, Under 17 goalkeeper selected on the bench. During the last First Division league match against B'Bugia held on Saturday 27th April 2013 at the Centenary Stadium, Curtis Callus made his debut on the 82 minute at the age of 15 years. Match ended 5-1 for B'Bugia. Moreover both Ryan Vella and Curtis Callus were regularly selected for trials with the U17 National team. On Saturday 20th December it was the turn for our U17 player Jake Callus who made his debut against Vittoriosa. Jake played for the last 17 minutes while the match ended in favour of Vittoriosa. Jake made his debut at the age of 16 yrs and 11 days. On Monday 5th January 2015, both Luke Vella and Gianluca Galea from our U19 squad made their debut in the First Division match against Gzira. Match was held at the Centenary Stadium and ended 5-0 for Gzira FC. On Sunday 12th April 2015, U17 Captain Mark Baldacchino made his debut with the Senior Team when he played for the last 10 minutes in the 1st Division league match against Birzebugia. Match ended 3-0 for our side. Saturday 17th January 2016, was the turn for Karl Saliba to make his debut with the senior team against Gudja Utd FC. Match ended with a narrow win for Gudja. Karl made his debut at the age of 17 years and 343 days. Our Under 17 promising player and Nursery element Christophe Cutajar made his debut with the senior squad against Vittoriosa. Christophe played for the last 25 minutes substituting Isaac Galea and made his debut at the age of 16 years 84 days. Match was held at the Centenary Stadium, Ta' Qali and ended with a narrow win (2-1) for Vittoriosa. Well done Christophe! On Saturday 24th April 2016, it was the turn for another Nursery product Kyle Azzopardi to make his debut with the senior team during the last match of the season against Gudja United FC. Kyle made his debut at the age of 16 years 247 days and played for the last 15 minutes. It is to note also that during this match four other nursery grown ups were utilized; Brandon Debono defended the pole and Mark Baldacchino played in the midfield for the whole 90 minutes. Jake Callus and Christophe Cutajar entered as substitutes in the second half of the match. Match ended 7-3 for our side. On 19th April 2018, we saw the debut of two Under 17 players, Benoit Azzopardi at the age of 16 years 198 days and goalkeeper Marius Mikhail Aquilina at the age of 16 years 240 days, during the last match against Rabat which was won 2-0 by our side. Well done to all!
The main objective of our Nursery is to contribute to the continuous personal development of children from Mqabba and villages in the vicinities by luring them to the beautiful game of Football, for the ultimate benefit of the community.
The accomplishment of this objective is testified by the ever increasing number of trainees attending training sessions. The positive contribution of the Nursery was also acknowledged by the Mqabba Local Council when in 2009 Mr. Mark Bondin, the Nursery founder and current Head Coach, was awarded with the Gieh L-Imqabba award in appreciation for his continuous contribution to the Nursery and the community of Mqabba.
Mqabba FC Youth Nursery is looking forward for innovative ways in which it can continue with its positive contribution. In fact, as from the 2009–2010 season, apart from the technical and administrative aspect in the Nursery's operations, the nursery committee has set up a Parents’ and Community sub-committee in order to encourage more parents participation in the Nursery.
The Nursery believes that parent’s involvement is crucial for the Nursery to continue pursuing its mission and the Nursery acknowledges the obligations that it has towards the community it forms part of. This sub-committee is responsible for the organization of activities which are earmarked to enhance the Nursery's presence in the community. This sub-committee widens the operational structure of the nursery which structure now caters for three aspects, that is Technical, Administration and Community.
The season 2013/2014 marked the first promotion for Mqabba FC Youth Nursery with the Under 15 squad under the guidance of Coach Clifford Vassallo. Mqabba FC finished runners up in Section C1 gaining the right to play the playoffs. After the playoffs Mqabba FC ended overall Champion of Section C. This was the first promotion for Mqabba FC Youth Nursery after finishing runners up in season 2010/2011 with the Under 17 team and runners up in the season 2012/2013 with the Under 15. This season marked also the end of Mark Bondin era as Head Coach of the Nursery who was appointed Head Coach with Birkirkara FC Youth Nursery. Following this move, Nicholas Baldacchino, UEFA B was appointed Head Coach of Mqabba FC Youth Nursery on the 10th April 2014 effective as from 9th June 2014. Nicholas Baldacchino remained occupying this position till the 24th February 2016, after he joined Valletta FC Youth Nursery. Leonard 'Nardu' Farrugia was appointed as Technical Advisor as from season 2014/2015 till season 2015/2016. Meanwhile Mr Fernando Costantino, UEFA B qualified (currently studying for UEFA A with MFA), graduated in Management in Sports from the University of Teramo, province of Abruzzo in Italy and qualified as Director of Youth Coaching, was appointed as the new Head Coach with effect from Season 2016/2017. A new Head Coach with a more long term view was appointed as from Season 2017/2018. Mr Michael Degiorgio was the automatic choice for the nursery. Mr Degiorgio played nearly 200 matches for Hamrun Spartans FC and 85 matches for Naxxar. He had also 74 appearances with the Malta National Team scoring 4 times. Mr Degiorgio has a vast experience in both the senior and youth's sector levels and will be surely an added asset to our Nursery.
On 14th March 2015, Ivano Ramiro Cordoba, former Inter FC and Columbian International player and Natalino Felice, former Inter FC player paid the Club a courtesy visit during a football event organised by the Nursery as part of the 'Maratona bir-Roti' in order to collect donations for the purchase of several AEDs which will be donated to voluntary organisations.
Between the 28th July and 3rd August 2015, Mqabba FC Youth Nursery competed for the first time in an international tournament held abroad. The Nottingham International Cup 2015 was held in Nottingham, UK. Mqabba FC Under 13 team played for the Plate Final but unfortunately lost 3-1 on penalties after equalizing with Abbey Hulton of UK (0-0). During this tournament Mqabba FC played against US Revolution (1-1), US Flying Eagles (1-0 Win), Arsenal Soccer School of Bahrain (4-0 Lost), Celtic Castlebar FC, Ireland (1-0 Lost) and Abbey Hulton from UK (1-1). The team (a squad of 18 players) together with their parents (11 parents) and four Club officials had the opportunity to visit the Liverpool FC Museum and Anfield Stadium, the Liverpool FC Academy at Kirkby where we had a practical session, and visited also Manchester United Museum and Old Trafford Stadium. We had the opportunity to watch two friendly matches; Derby vs Spanish Villareal FC at iPro Stadium in Derby (1-1) and Nottingham Forest FC vs Aston Villa FC at Nottingham City Stadium (3-3). We could not be in UK and do not visit Wembley Stadium where we attended for the Community Shield Final between Chelsea and Arsenal (0-1). This was a great experience both for our Club and for all our players.
Following this experience, Mqabba FC Youth Nursery participated in a friendly triangular football tournament in Catania Sicily on Sturday 27th February 2016. This was the second time that our nursery participated in a tournament outside our country. Mqabba FC Youth Nursery lost the first match 3-1 against PGS Don Bosco Alvaro Sales and won the second match 3-2 against the team Clan dei Ragazzi, Catania. After the tournament the group (15 players, 22 parents and 2 officialswe had also time to visit Mount Etna and some shopping too from Auchan, Porte di Catania.
During the season 2018/2019, Mqabba FC Youth Nursery embarked on an ambitious project aiming the inclusion of refugee players within the community. We had a total 22 players aging from 4 years till 16 years participating in this project. Kids and youths were provided transport from and back to Hal Far Open Centre and every participant was given a full Mqabba FC Youth Nursery tracksuit. This project entitled 'Include me and I will understand' was held by the collaboration of MFA under its Social Responsibility Fund (Respect) and funded from EU. During this season three youths were registered with our Club under the FSR scheme so they were eligible to participate in the U15 and U17 competitive competitions namely, Mouiz Arabi (U15), Khalil Alhussin and Souliman Faiz (U17).
For further details everyone is invited to visit the official website www.mqabbafcyn.org or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mqabbafcyn. Publications by the Mqabba FC Youth Nursery can be accessed on www.issuu.com/mqabbafcyn.
Secretary & Administrator
Clemence Dujardin, Jason Azzoardi, Isabelle Farrugia, Mark Camilleri
Elvin Sciberras & Antoine Sciberras
Foundation of Mqabba FC Youth Nursery by Head Coach Mark Bondin
Head Coach Mark Bondin awarded with Gieh l-Imqabba Award by the Mqabba Local Council
Runners-up APS Bank Under 17 League Section C2 Season
2010/2011 - Coach Anton Agius
Runners-up APS Bank Under 15 League Section C2 Season 2012/2013 - Coach William (Billy) Hendy.
Nursery's Secretary Antoine Sciberras nominated for 'Gieh l-Imqabba' award.
Runners-up APS Bank Under 15 League Section C1 Season 2013/2014 - Coach Clifford Vassallo. Mqabba played the playoffs to determine the overall winners and who will be promoted to Section B.
2013/2014 Overall Champions of the APS Bank Under 15 League Section C Season 2013/2014 - Promoted to Section B (Coach Clifford Vassallo)
2014/2015 Mqabba FC U17 squad maintained their status in Section B after beating Zebbug Rangers FC (1-2) in the Relegation Decider.
2015/2016 Mqabba FC U17 player Kyle Azzopardi awarded as the Weetabix Player of the Month for the month of February 2016.
2016/2017 Mqabba FC U17 player Benoit Azzopardi awarded as the Weetabix Player of the Month for the month of November 2016.
2016/2017 Mqabba FC U15 player Neville Borg ended as top scorer for the U15 Section D YFA League with 34 goals on his name.
2017/2018 Mqabba FC U15 player Neville Borg finished Top Scorer for the U15 Section D YFA League with 31 goals.
Joseph Fenech - Debut with Mqabba FC on 25th November 2007 in the Premier Division league match vs Msida SJ (3-4). Then played for other clubs in the 3rd Division and returned with Mqabba FC for the Season 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. Currently playing for Qrendi FC (On loan)
Brandon Debono - 03/05/2010 at the age of 15 years (Goalkeeper). Currently playing with Valletta FC Futsal.
Omar Farruiga - 01/05/2011 at the age of 17 years and played for Malta U17 National Team on 24/10/2011
Kurt Falzon - 14/04/2013 at the age of 17 years
Ryan Vella - 20/04/2013 at the age of 17 years
Adrian Abdilla - 20/04/2013 at the age of 18 years
Curtis Callus - 27/04/2013 at the age of 15 years (Goalkeeper)
Jake Callus - 20/12/2014 at the age of 16 years 11 days
Luke Vella - 05/01/2015 at the age of 18 years
Gianluca Galea - 05/01/2015 at the age of 17 years
Mark Baldacchino - 12/04/2015 at the age of 16 years
Karl Saliba - 17/01/2016 at the age of 17 years 343 days
Christophe Cutajar - 16/04/2016 at the age of 16 years 84 days
Kyle Azzopardi - 24/04/2016 at the age of 16 years 247 days
Benoit Azzopardi - 19/04/2018 at the age of 16 years 198 days
Marius Mikhail Aquilina - 19/04/2018 at the age of 16 years 240 days (Goalkeeper)