Eugenio Bonello
image002 After serving for a long number of years as secretary of the Maltese FA, Eugenio Bonello was elected President in 1961. He remained at the helm of the MFA till 1968. But perhaps Eugenio Bonello’s greatest hour was in 1959 when he successfully concluded Malta’s bid for affiliation to theFederation International de Football Associations (FIFA) and subsequently to the Union des Associations Europeennes de Football in the following year. Eugenio Bonello was instrumental in bringing over for the first time to our shores the then President of FIFA in 1965. He had also the great satisfaction of seeing our Island as a fully-fledged footballing nation, competing in official international matches under the auspices of the World and the European bodies. He was made a member of the British Empire (MBE) in June 1960.
Alfred Briffa
image003 Major Alfred Briffa has been involved in sports administration for a long number of years. A well-known football and waterpolo referee who officiated in some of the keenest matches in both sports, both here and abroad.  He was also Chef de Mission for the Maltese contingents, which took part in the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, (1958), the Mediterranean Games in Beirut (1958) and in Naples (1961) and the Rome Olympic Games (1960). He was President of the Malta Olympic Committee for seven years (1960-67). Major Briffa was appointed Chairman of the National Sports Board in 1960 – 1965. He is also a member of the Adjudicating Committee of the Sportsmanship Trophy,Malta (1974 – ). Alfred Briffa was made a member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1990.
Salvu Darmanin
image005 Malta not only boasts of the oldest polo club in Europe, which was founded in 1868, but in Salvu Darmanin it had also one of the top players in the World. With a six handicap and considered one of the hardest hitters of the game, Salvu Darmanin is listed in the Golden Book of the World’s Greatest Polo Players. Apart from his brilliant displays inMalta, he played outstanding polo as a professional in the United Kingdom and he also particularly distinguished himself in re-organising the Dublin Polo Club in the 60’s.   He had the unique honour of playing with distinction against a number of World personalities including Kings, Princes, Dukes and Earls. His status as Malta’s No. 1 polo player is undisputed.
Emmanuel “Budgy” Dowling
image007 One of the most versatile sportsmen having been selected to play for Malta both at waterpolo and football. His first waterpolo experience was at 11 years playing for the “Makku” team of St. Julians. At 15 he moved to Valletta waterpolo club of which, his father Paul was the founder. He dedicated all his sporting life – 36 years – to this one club until he retired in 1968. When the Rari Nantes (Naples) waterpolo club played a series of matches in Malta in the mid-50’s, they were so impressed with “Budgy” Dowling’s all round technical and tactical play, that they signed him on. He proceeded to Naples and played regularly for the strong Neapolitan side, until, at his father’s request, he returned to the Valletta fold. His football career started at the age of 18 with Melita and he spent all his footballing career with the same amateur club except for the last season, when again, at his father’s request, he played for the Citizens before hanging his boots. “Budgy” Dowling was for four years an automatic choice forMalta both as a waterpolo as well as a football player.
Wilfred Pirotta
Wilfred Pirotta was the National Underwater Fishing champion for two consecutive years (1960 and 1961). He was also the first sportsman to win the coveted “Sportsman of the Year” trophy (1960). A prominent member of Malta’s national team, he took part in five World Championships. When the World Championships were held in Malta in 1959, he placed 11th overall and topped the list for the greatest number of fish caught spearing six fish with one shot in the process. His best ever placing in the World Championships was 10th in Palermo in 1960. Wilfred Pirotta was also a prominent member of the Malta Scooter Club, which set up new world endurance record of 12 days non-stop motor “scootering” day and night in 1961.
Turu Rizzo
image012 At the age of 18, he was already making headlines taking on the best of the British Services in swimming challenges. As a prominent member of the Sliema United Waterpolo team, he was selected to form part of the Maltese national squad, which took part in the Amsterdam Olympic Games in 1928. Two years earlier (1926), he astounded everybody by swimming from Qala, Gozo to Sliema in 10 hours 31 minutes. During the same year, he set up a 24- hour water treading mark, which was recognised as a world record. In 1928 and 1929, he established two new world records of 57 hours 17 minutes and 62 hours 1 minute for water treading and swimming in the open sea, respectively. In 1930, preparing for his dream swim from Sicily to Malta, he again broke his own records chalking up new world marks of 68 hours. Unfortunately, the Sicily/Malta attempt in 1933 had to be abandoned only a few miles away from Maltawhen high winds and rough seas forced Rizzo to retire.
Salvinu Schembri
image013 Arguably the most complete footballer Malta has ever produced. A wily schemer of rare qualities, Salvinu could walk into any foreign side. He started his illustrious career with Sliema (then Athletics, later Wanderers) in 1943. After two years he was transferred for a record fee to Valletta FC winning two championship titles in the space of three years.  In the meantime, being drafted in the Army, playing either as inside or outside right, Salvinu was an automatic choice for the 1st Coast Regiment RMA, The Army and the Pick Services.  Scoring many vital goals, some direct from corner kicks, Salvinu returned to his first love, Sliema, in 1953 with whom he won three Championships: the FA Trophy, Cassar Cup and Scicluna’s Cup in the seven year spell before moving to Hamrun Spartans for one season in 1960 before hanging his boots in 1961. Salvinu was also an automatic choice for the Pick MFA XI (35 times). But perhaps Salvinu’s greatest achievement was in 1957 leading Malta for the first ever International. Losing 0-3 at half time to the star studded Austrian side, he rallied his team mates with his intelligent play in a memorable second half comeback, the referee’s final whistle saving the Austrians from a draw after the gallant Maltese had pulled two back to the thunderous cheers of the capacity crowd present at the Gzira Stadium.