Żażu Football School counts 120Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 22:29
Report The Times
Eight years on from the school’s launch, Ray Farrugia still runs his ‘academy’ with the same dedication and professionalism that helped to establish the ZFS as one of the foremost youth football organ-isations on the islands.
“Football has always been a big part of my life,” Farrugia said.
“This sport has given me so much and the school has offered me the opportunity to share my passion and experience with young children.
“Running the school almost on a daily basis is not easy but when we started eight years ago, I was determined to see this project through. The enthusiasm of the young ones and the coaches have all contributed to make this happen.”
Farrugia, the current Malta U-21 national coach, also expressed his satisfaction that a host of ZFS players are making progress in their careers.
“From day one, we stressed the importance of fun training because that enhances the learning process,” he said.
“We also encouraged children to conduct themselves properly, both on and off the field, as character formation is key at this age.
“Obviously, our training is also aimed at helping them improve skills. It gives me great satisfaction to see that some old boys have made significant progress in their careers, also at national level.”
The second term of the ZFS 2011/12 season kicked off earlier this month. At present, Farrugia and his staff are catering for 120 young hopefuls, aged five to 12. Training is held regularly at the San Ġwann FC ground.
“Participation levels remained constant these past few years and that’s healthy for the long-term future of the school,” Farrugia said.
Financial assistance from sponsors is also vital and the ZFS have just received a tonic with confirmation that Peugoet, represented in Malta by Michael Attard Limited, had extended their backing yet again.
“Peugeot are our main sponsors,” Farrugia said.
“Their support throughout the years has been crucial as we keep enrollment fees as low as possible. Without the support of companies like Michael Attard Ltd, we’d struggle to make ends meet.”
Meanwhile, Farrugia confirmed that plans are underway to hold another football tour to Manchester in summer.
During the two previous trips to northern England, ZFS players figured in friendlies, watched a Barclays Premier League match and also attended a training session run by the coaches of the Manchester United Foundation at The Cliff.
The other sponsors of the ZFS are Gram Collections, Assikura Insu-rance, Munchies Restaurant (Golden Sands), Daikin, TeamSport and Joe Sammut Co. Ltd.