Malta-based Aussie eyes A-League

Australian defender Jacob Borg is enjoying his time in the Maltese Premier League but admits he would love to play in the A-League one day.

An Australian representative at Under-20 level, the Illawarra-raised Borg headed to Europe in 2012 after the axing of Gold Coast United.

He signed with local club Balzan and a year later joined Sliema Wanderers. The midfielder turned defender moved to fellow Maltese club Zebbug Rangers FC in August last year.

“My trip to Malta happened because I was going to Italy for a trial which fell through as I touched down in Malta to see my brother,” Borg told FourFourTwo.

“My agent at the time had a friend in one of the teams here and a week later I was signed with Balzan Youths FC.

“I have enjoyed it here, the island is small but environment and people are great. Football here is still developing but it really has been great. I would say the level here is actually decent, it deserves more credit than it gets.

“Some teams in the league would do extremely well in the A-League.”

A junior with the Warilla Wanderers, Borg came through the ranks at Parramatta FC and the Wollongong Wolves. He spent the 2011-2012 season with Gold Coast’s National Youth League side under coach Mike Mulvey, and played alongside the likes of Jake Barker-Daish, Kwame Yeboah, Daniel Bowles, Golgol Mebrahtu, Mitch Cooper, Chris Harold, James Brown and Josh Brilliante.

Borg played three games for the Young Socceroos in 2009 but in 2013 he switched allegiances and made his senior international debut for Malta.

“Coming from the Australian U-20 team it was always going to be difficult to make my way into the international scene of another country,” Borg admitted.

“But to be honest I came here to play football and concentrate on my own game and club. Then in December I was invited to a training session with the Maltese national team where I have been a squad member ever since.

“I was on the bench for Northern Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic, Armenia, and Faroe islands. My debut was against Azerbaijan in Baku for an international friendly. I entered the pitch at half time, playing what I think was one of the best games I've played.

“I was so excited and nervous that I just went out there and enjoyed my time and experience because I didn't know if I would get another chance. It's not the green and gold but playing at that world-class level is a dream come true and to this day want to play every game and strive for more.”

Borg said the relationship between Maltese and Australian football is strong, with the likes of A-League players such as John Hutchinson and Manny Muscat having represented Malta in the past.

“The Maltese people absolutely love Australia and the Australian people,” he said.

“Once people know you’re Australian they bring stories of family members that live there and how Australia is a beautiful country. 

“They all know of Sydney FC and Melbourne City but the league itself is not as popular due to Malta being on the door stop to the biggest leagues in the world.”

Formerly a box-to-box midfielder, Borg has primarily been used as a fullback who can play on both flanks in Malta. The 23-year old has made 18 appearances in the Maltese Premier League this season but is off-contract at the end of the current campaign.

Borg said he is keeping options at this stage.

“I want to maybe move to the mainland of Europe or the UK, or even come home to the A-League,” he said.

“But if I get a new offer who knows what I will do. I just want to better myself and keep improving. I would love to come play in the A-League, would always be good to be close to home, but at the moment my life is in Europe.

“I am still young and my dream was to always play in Europe so I think my time here is not over yet. But yes I'd love to play in the A-League.”