THE successful C&K Basildon Ladies team is travelling to Malta as it looks to put women’s football on the map.
The club is travelling more than 2,000 miles to play three friendly matches, against the Malta U19 international team, Fgura United and Mgarr United, in a bid to take their brand of football abroad.
The table-topping women’s side are taking 41 players, staff and players’ family on the trip which is estimated to cost around £15,000. The plane takes off tomorrow in a tour lasting five days.
But despite the team’s success, the tour would never have come about had it not been for their Maltese chef, Frankie Vassallo.
He suggested the trip after he spoke with his niece, a young footballer in Malta, who said she would love to play against a foreign team.
Peter King, Managing Director of the club, visited the Mediterranean country to finalise the visit earlier this month and said it was a great opportunity to build ties overseas.
“This is a great opportunity,” King said. “We want to expand as a club and this is a great way to do that.
“The players are so excited and this will only serve as a fantastic experience to all of them.”
C&K, who currently sit top of the Women’s South East Combination League, will play the U19 international side at The Mgarr Football Stadium which was opened in 2012 by UEFA president Michel Platini, and is often used as a training base for visiting international teams.
The trip has been organised in co-operation with the Malta Football Association. Former Southend United boss and current C&K coach Steve Tilson has agreed to work alongside the female Maltese coaches in one-on-one training sessions and a question and answer session will be held with selected coaches in the Maltese FA regarding women’s football.
The club is also taking a brand new kit for the hosts as a thank you and holding a fundraising BBQ.
Essex County FA spokesman Chris Evans said: “We hope every-one from C&K Basildon Ladies makes the most of the experience of playing football in a foreign country, an opportunity not many grassroots football teams get to enjoy.
“As former Essex Women’s Cup winners they’re a talented side and we’re sure they’re represent Essex — and England — with pride.”
C&K end their season with a cup final appearance against Norwich City in the South East Combination League Cup on Sunday, May 11.