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Updated | MFA fires Joseph Zerafa from National squad

Birkirkara FC defender stripped from national team shirt following last weekend's fracas at Birkirkara police station.

Jurgen Balzan
6 July 2012, 12:00am
Zerafa floored by the MFA... (Photo: Domnic Aquilina)
Adds comments by Joseph Zerafa and Birkirkara FC coach Paul Zammit

Birkirkara FC player Joseph Zerafa has been dropped from the National squad after admitting to seriously injuring a man and causing a fracas at the Birkirkara police station.

Last week Zerafa, 24, admitted to the charges of injuring a man from St Paul’s Bay, and causing more than €1,100 worth of damage at the Birkirkara police station on Friday. He was placed on probation for two years.

Following this incident, Zerafa was summoned to the Malta Football Association's technical centre in Ta' Qali and was informed that he was dropped from the national team with immediate effect.

As reported on sports news website, sportinmalta.com, the defender who has won one cap with the national team, met with the MFA's technical director, Robert Gatt and the national team coach Pietro Ghedin on Monday.

Zerafa was informed by the two that he was dropped from the national football team because "his behaviour was not acceptable" and was given an opportunity to explain his "grave" behaviour.

Gatt did not rule out Zerafa's return to the national squad but said this would depend on the player himself, "not only technically but also in the progress he can show in his attitude and behaviour."

In comments to MaltaToday about last weekend's incident, Zerafa said that he only acted in self-defence and explained that he was the first to be assaulted and even suffered an injury which required three stitches above his eye. Zerafa added that he has already paid the damages he caused.

On being dropped from the National team, Zerafa said he is disappointed at being dropped but said "I agree with the decision 100% as I understand the association's position completely."

Zerafa added that he will do his utmost to win his place back in the National team by doing his best for his club side Birkirkara FC.

The defender also noted that he has held discussions with the club about the incident and has received the full backing of the club and his coach Paul Zammit.

He said that he appreciates the club's backing and vowed to repay Birkirkara's faith in him by playing at the best of his abilities for the club.

Yesterday, Zerafa played the full 90 minutes in Birkirkara's clash with Macedonian side FK Metalurg Skopje in the first leg of the Europa League qualifying round.

Birkirkara FC coach Paul Zammit told MaltaToday that Zerafa has his "full backing" and explained that the club has taken the necessary disciplinary action against Zerafa. He explained that the action taken was not intended to "destroy" the player but to help him.

Zammit added that the player is aware of his errors and said that Zerafa will surely learn from his mistakes.

"The club will not tolerate any further mistakes from the player but football-wise I have offered my full backing to the player because that is my responsibility as a human, as his coach and as his educator," Zerafa said. He also expressed his optimism on the player's future behaviour and committment to the club.

Zerafa made his debut in the Premier League with Birkirkara FC in 2006 and has since established himself as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
COOL BREEZE •
Disturbing how his club find no problem with such outrageous behaviour isn't it?What sort of message is B'KARA FC sending out-supporting their player or condoning such inexcusable anti-social action-and what is this undisclosed and secretive-although "helpful" -"disciplinary action"-why not make it public to be truly transparent ?Also if the innocent party ,as he is maintaining ,why would Zerafa agree with any punishment handed down?
George Sultana •
Tajba din tal-Mfa. Joseph Zerafa jitnehha mit-team Nazzjonali ghax kellu kaz li ma ghandu x' jaqsam xejn mal-football. Il-hazin jaghmlu min jaghmlu dejjem hazin biex ma nifthemux li Zerafa ghamel xi haga tajba. Tajjeb ukoll li Robert Gatt tah ic-cans li jgib ruhu ahjar. Ir-redikolagni hi l-mfa ghada tkarkar biex tiehu decizzjoni fuq players li dawn gabu loghba tal-football farsa, meta ftehmu kif se jigi r-rizultat fil-loghba Norway-Malta. Hadd ghadu ma gie mnehhi mit-team Nazzjonali. Tghid ma Zerafa mxew moghod u ma hadd iehor jimxu moghod iehor ???????.