During the 1971/72 season, Marsa FC featured in a UEFA club competition for the first time, facing a baptism of fire against Italian giants Juventus. La Vecchia Signora had a magnificent squad with players such as Roberto Bettega and Giuseppe Furino both featuring.
Marsa went out of the competition in the first round, losing 11-0 on aggregate. Juventus were knocked out in the quarter-finals, losing to eventual runners up Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Now, a total of 48 years later, Renard Cassar is hoping to bring back Marsa’s glory years with the help of young Maltese talent.
The former Santa Lucia Falcons coach initially arrived at the club as a youth coach in July 2018 before being offered the opportunity to work with the U21 and senior squads.
Speaking about how the opportunity at Marsa came about, Cassar said: “I took over the under 17’s side in mid-July. The President of the Youth Nursery, Joseph Xuereb asked me to help him revive the nursery and there was a challenge waiting for me.
“Going forward my plans are to study to be the top manager in Malta and then look at opportunities abroad. I will continue to work on the courses that I need.
“Thanks to the Club President, I have been given the chance and opportunity to be the coach of the under 21 side. I am also now the assistant coach to the senior team, this is an amazing opportunity as it will give me the experience that I need to succeed.”
The 36-year-old went on to discuss how he has developed the first team in recent months with the help of young Maltese talent: “After the problems that we had at the start, we have been doing a lot of work to improve.
“The team manager, myself and the coaches are all working on the squad’s mentality and tactics as well as confidence because a lot of the players in the squad are young and work hard together.
“We have to prepare the team and start fighting to remain in the first division, that is our main objective.”
The assistant manager has been working with Santa Lucia Falcons founder, Robert Teuma in a bid to bring in fresh homegrown talent: “The players that I want in my team have to be mentally ready to win and work hard to be successful and succeed.
“With the help of Robert Teuma, we are in talks to bring some younger players into the club. I know his love for the game and he has started working to help me, I want to say thanks to him for his service and help.
“In my mind, for now, it is important to find a group of people that are willing to help and work together in order to revive the club the previous success.
“On a personal level, I am going to use this experience to get me to where I want to be and that is working in Maltese football as a top coach, that will be a dream come true.”
Cassar finished by discussing how he wants to get Marsa back to their glory days: “The club has played against the giants of Italy, Juventus in the past. I wish that one day we get to experience those glory days again.
“For now we are focusing on building the nursery from the beginning again with qualified coaches, new kits and new soccer equipment. This will help us generate and bring through good players who will then be ready for the senior team when they get their chance.”