FRANKIE ZAMMIT

Frankie Zammit was one of the best Maltese goal-scoring inside-forward. His record speaks for itself. Fast and strong, he had a terrific shot with either foot. He also had the ability of suddenly changing direction to turn around an opponent before letting go a deadly shot.

His shooting accuracy was incredible and although some of his shots missed the posts by inches many others hit the target.

Frankie was born in Valletta on October 27, 1935 but he started his football career with Melita FC in 1953. Surprisingly, during his schooldays at Stella Maris College he attracted wery little notice. This is possibly why he signed for Melita and not for his home-town club.

However, he did very well at Melita and on January 16, 1954 he made his First Division debut for the Amateurs against Hibernians. It was then that he began to attract the attention adn when in 1954-55 Melita slipped back into the Second Division it became easier for Valletta to make a successful bid for his signature.

Frankie signed on the dotted line and although it took him some time to settle down to first-class football, by the following season he had already cliamed a place in the first team.

He made his first team debut for Valletta on October 15, 1953 in the 2-0 victory over Hamrun Spartans. Frankie had a good debut and that season he played in 11 out of 14 matches. In those days, he was classified as a foward but as he grew older he moved back to defence where his skills, experience and versatility turned him into one of the best defenders of his time.

Frankie was the perfect attacking inside-foward, but winghalf was perhaps his best position. He was first tried in that position in 1959 in the Olympic Tournament when his quick tackling and clever position play stood out as his best qualities. He played his first match in Tunisia, going on to win seven more international caps before he retired.

During the first half of his career, Frankie had no equal as a goal-scorer. He played in every position in the forward line and was considered to be a good replacement for Salvinu Schembri who had defected to Sliema Wanderers. Frankie seemed to have the great man's ability to read a situation and to score vital goals when most needed.

During his career Frankie scored four goals in a match on five occasions; on April 12, 1959 in the 9-2 league victory against Hamrun Spartans; on November 12, 1960 in the league against St George's; on April 16, 1961 in the FA Trophy quarter final tie against Marsa; in the FA Trophy against St Patrick's on May 27, 1962, and in 1964-65 in the 9-0 league victory against Rabat FC. Few players could boast of such an achievement including the great Tony Nicholl.

Zammit won nine major honours for Valletta, including the League Championship in 1958-59, 1959-60, and 1962-63 and the FA Trophy in 1960-61 and 1963-64. He was also top scorer in the league in 1959-60 with 12 goals. He was also club top scorer four times between 1956 and 1965.

Frankie continued playing up to the 1967-68 season when he finally decided to retire on November 5, 1967 after the league game against arch-rivals Floriana FC. It was a big loss for Valletta who for a time sadly missed his commanding presence on the pitch. However, he was never forgotten by the City faithful and his name always crops up every time the discussion turns to that period of Maltese football.
 

(Taken from: Maltese Footballers Hundred of the Best by Carmel Baldacchino)