Following their victory in the local Banka Cup earlier this year, Banif Bank’s men’s football team participated in the international Champions Bank tournament in Belgrade, Serbia. A string of solid performances saw them qualify from the group stage before being edged out by a Croatian side GENERALI PBZ in a nail-biting knockout match.
In its second edition, the Champions Bank tournament was contested by 40 teams hailing from Italy, Germany, France, and Egypt, to name a few. The Serbian National Team’s training complex, The Sportski Centar Stara Pazova provided the venue for a football festival spread over three days. Legendary referee Pierluigi Collina, who officiated the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final and 2002 World Cup Final, was a special guest for the event along with current Serie A referees Andrea Stefani and Andrea De Marco and veteran Italian star Daniele Massaro.
“We are extremely happy with our performance and were very close to advancing further in the competition,” said team coach Kurt Polidano. “This year we had a very strong squad made up of colleagues from all across the Bank, with a good mix of experienced players and young talent. Teamwork has always been one our greatest strengths, both in the office and on the pitch, and with every experience we keep getting more coordinated and synchronised. We’re already looking forward to bringing next year’s Banka Cup home!”
Top left: Team captain Anthony Farrugia being presented a signed ball by Pierluigi Collina.
Top-right: Goalkeeper Emmanuel D’Amato lining up for a goal kick.
Bottom: The Banif squad: (back row, from left) Kurt Polidano (Coach), Samir Arab, Peter Sammut, Samuel Cassar, John Paul Parnis, Anthony Farrugia, Emmanuel D’Amato (front row, from left) Marco Zammit, Silvan Mizzi, Jurgen Farrugia, Jean Pierre Debono.