BOV Super Cup 2017
Here’s what makes it the highlight of the Maltese Football Calendar
Written by Kurt Aquilina
Written by Kurt Aquilina
As far as celebrations go, Malta does not hold back on hosting events where competition is key. As for Malta’s football scene, the Premier league will definitely remain the honour to win. However, there’s nothing better than being crowned the Super Cup champion for the year. This trophy puts the icing on cake for a long and hard-fought season in Malta. It consists of only one match- the final, a prestigious match between the winners of the league of those of the FA Trophy. Needless to say, celebrations are in order, as this year’s winners are Floriana.
Floriana stole the show last Wednesday as they emerged as victors at the Malta National Stadium, with a final score of 1-0. In today’s article, we’ll be looking at this year’s final and the road to how it has become the hottest fixture in the local football calendar.
Both of this year’s finalists stepped onto the pitch having already won this honour before: Hibernians, three times in 1994, 2007 and 2015; and Floriana in 1993.
The Greens (Floriana) came into the match as underdogs and in fact, it was league champions, Hibernians who dictated play during the 90 minutes. However, it was a header from Floriana’s Mario Fontanella which made all the difference. FA Trophy winners, Floriana made their mark early in the first half and from then onwards, it was a series of opportunities which both teams failed to capitalise on. This lead to Floriana being crowned champions for the second time in their history. They were presented with the prestigious trophy in front of their cheering supporters, who kept their team’s spirit high for the duration of the match. Of course, this celebration proceeded out of the stadium and into the streets, as the trophy was handed to the Floriana supporters club to show off from their double-decker bus. Green flags waved from the supporters’ cars as they sounded their horns while carcading around Ta’ Qali and everywhere else in between the stadium and Floriana, until they reached the town itself. All fans were invited for the celebration at the team’s club house together with the players and staff.
The Maltese Super Cup has been part of the local football scene since 1985, where Rabat Ajax, Premier League winners in that same year lifted the trophy for the first time. Both Rabat and runners up, Zurrieq (FA Trophy winners during that year) played at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium as top teams at the time. None of them have reappeared in this final since 1986. The current leading team is Valletta. The capital city’s football team boasts having won this trophy 11 times already, with their last victory being that in 2016. The latter acquired the trophy after coming from behind to win against Sliema Wanderers with a score of 2-1.
This is not the first trophy of its kind in Malta. The idea of a final featuring the league winners and knock-out winners dates back to the 1950s. The trophy which initiated this kind of competition was called the ‘Scicluna Cup’. Named after the owner of the Gzira Football stadium, which was the national stadium of the time, Carmelo Scicluna, the cup featured the same Floriana in its first edition. The Scicluna Cup stopped being played in 1965, and was replaced by another cup called the Independence Cup.
The ‘Sons of Malta’ Cup was another competition, similar to the Super Cup. This was first played in 1968 with a trophy which had been donated by the Maltese emigrants of New York. The first final of this cup was in fact between the two finalists of this year’s Super Cup, Hibernians and Floriana.
Eventually this competition was also replaced in 1975 when the ‘Testaferrata Cup’ began, this one also being named after the owners of the Gzira stadium at the time. This was played until 1980. It was Valletta who played Hibernians in the final edition of this cup. It was this competition which in 1985 became the Super Cup as we know it.
The Maltese Super Cup is usually played before the start of the local football season. However, due to renovations to the national stadium in Ta’ Qali, the event had been moved to December. This annual event is something you can look forward to even from a neutral point of view. The Maltese FA opens up a neutral stand where you would get a view of both the match and the cheering supporters. This is ideal if you’re a football fan moving to Malta with no current favourite team. The stadium atmosphere is fantastic and despite not managing to fill up the stadium, Maltese football matches are loved as much as foreign ones. This year’s final has been a great spectacle, and while we congratulate the winners, we would definitely recommend attending such an event if you enjoy the sport.