Justin Haber interviewed by maltesefootballstarlets.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 8:00

Malta’s number 1 Justin Haber is proving his worth overseas and inspires Maltese young goalkeepers that they can do it abroad. MalteseFootballStarlets.com which works closely with this site has caught up with Malta’s successful Goalkeeper Justin Haber for this short interview.

Full Name – Justin Haber
Date of Birth – 9th June 1981
Playing Position – Goal Keeper
Previous Clubs – Floriana FC, Chernomore Varna, Birkirkara, U.S Quevilly, Excelsior Virton, Marsaxlokk FC, Haidari FC, Sheffield United, Ferencvaros
National Team Levels – U14 / U16 / U18 / U21 / A Team
Favourite Playing Number – National team No1 Club level 16 or 23

Personal Achievements – -16+-18 2 league championships and 2 knock outs each, 2 FAcup trophies, 1 National Championship, 2 Super cups, Best Goal keeper of Normandy France, -21 National Team– 32 Caps, National Team A – 40 Caps
Your Favourite Club – Inter

1. Justin, you are the only Maltese goalkeeper that had the opportunity to play abroad in several foreign leagues. How do you feel about this?
I feel very lucky to have worked hard to get these opportunities. It is every players dream to do so and I am living it. With hard work and sacrifices and most of all persistence anything is possible.

2. You have emerged from Floriana Youth Nursery when you took the opportunity which you worked hard for and moved in Bulgaria. How did this all happen? What was your first reaction to the opportunity?
The coach of Floriana at that time, Sokolov thought that it would be a good opportunity for me to play in Bulgaria and at that time I was playing for both the -18 and the first team of Floriana. I was ecstatic at the opportunity though it was a huge hurdle for me to get permission to leave Floriana and I did not continue for longer than 6 months because Floriana asked for too much money for  me.

3. Nowadays, you play with one of the most important clubs in Hungary; Ferencvaros. What are your thoughts of you being one of their goalkeepers?
As you rightly stated, Ferencvaros is an important team in Hungary with a glorious history. I feel honoured to be a part of this team and although it’s not easy to be a regular choice because of the high level of competition that exists in the club, it’s a challenge each day to prove myself to the manager.

4. You were praised in many occasions for your displays, from which led you to move to Sheffield Utd in a short sour experience. How did you take the news and how did you move on from that sour to sweeter experience now in Hungary?
I do not consider my experience in Sheffield United a sour one. Far from it. I trained with players of high ranking, I was in a great club with huge facilities and I was training in the most professional manner possible. I take playing for Sheffield United as a dream that each player has especially the opportunity to be a step away from being in the premier league.. Although my first team playing time was limited I still played in the reserves team week in week out which is still a high level of football and also had the opportunity, in this league to play against players like, Diouff of Blackburn, Cimbonda of Sunderland, Camara not to mention my own Sheffield united team mates like Gary Naysmith Scotland International, Dave Carney Australia International who just played in the world cup, Lee Hendry  International for England and Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton presently in the books of Tottenham Hotspurs. Of course, playing regularly here in Ferencvaros is what I have always worked for all my life, regular first team football but being a goal keeper, a unique position, it is always a struggle.

5. You faced several top international football stars. Nominate 3 of the most impressive players you have ever played against and what were your thoughts before facing them in the match?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Berbatov and Nani are a few of the many and I have mentioned these three because they are known to make the life of a goal keeper very tough. My thoughts before facing them were ‘May God be with me!!’

6. Justin, you have recently saved a penalty with your club Ferencvaros. Do you do some extra work to precise your penalty positioning and intuition?
I don’t do anything in particular… though I can’t tell you my secret!

7. What are your goals this season both with your club and Malta?
With Ferencvaros, my goal is to keep my place as the team’s  number 1 goal keeper and hopefully qualify for Europe. With Malta I hope to continue to be a part of the team and help my country  to get some good results.

8. What is you motivation?
My motivation is to prove to everyone that Maltese players CAN make it in football overseas.

9. Describe the best moment in your football career so far?
Each time I put on the Number 1 Jersey of my country.

10.  Ferencvaros are in a good position in the Hungarian League. What was the recipe the new coach used to change Ferencvaros from last season?
The new coach changed the team’s tactical plan whereby we play more possession of the ball than direct football. He also created a great atmosphere in the team and there is a very strong dressing room.

11.  You have played 39 times for Malta. What is it like for you to play for Malta? What are your feelings before you enter the pitch?
It is the greatest honour. To be entrusted with the responsibility of protecting your country for 90 minutes is a very proud moment.I usually am so nervous excited and anxious that I always have huge tummy problems before the match!

12.  Justin, Malta has had hard time in Group 9 of the Euro 2012 facing tough opponents. What are your views for the upcoming Euro qualifying matches?
Considering our limitations, it is always a struggle to play against other countries and we are always the under dogs however I know that myself and my team mates always give our very best and at the end of the day that is the most we can do. Recently we just lost a precious point in the last seconds of the game. That’s football, but I think that if we continue to work hard and being disciplined as we are results will follow.

13.  Locally, which promising young player you would sign if you were a coach and why?
Unfortunately, me being away I don’t follow the young players in Malta.

14.  Every local Nursery needs improvement to raise our football standards, in your opinion what needs to be done to see Malta developing more Maltese Football Starlets?
One of the many things that need to improve is the quality of coaches in the nursery.

15.  What do you say to young Maltese football Goalkeepers that want to follow your steps? So we can see more young talented goalkeepers making the grade for our nation and themselves.
Being a goal keeper is a tough position. It’s not like being a striker where a player can have a quiet game but then score a goal and become a hero. A goal keeper can make 10 amazing saves but his one mistake can cost him everything. Therefore a goal keeper has to be mentally stronger than any other player on the pitch and this is his greatest asset.
To all young aspiring goalkeepers I say, Better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. Follow your dream.

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