As part of my mission of raising awareness of a healthy lifestyle, I interviewed Andre Schembri, a local footballer playing off the shores of the Maltese islands.
Below is a transcript of the interview. I hope it helps people of any age race and denomination in discovering the importance of fitness in our everyday lives.
So Andre, let’s start off with a bit of information about you. I know you’re a talented Maltese footballer playing off our shores. Internationally, I mean. Thanks for representing our country, first of all, even though indirectly. Forgive me, because I do not know which team you play. Could you tell me how it all started?
At the age of 20 I started playing with the ‘A’ National Team and in one of the qualifying games, I scored two goals which Malta won 2-1 against Hungary way back in 2006. After that game a German agent contacted me and he had some offers for me to go and play abroad. I left Malta at the age of 21 years old and signed for Eintracht Braunschweig in Germany. From then on I kept playing abroad regularly where I played in several countries such as Austria, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal. This is my 10th year consecutively abroad and I am currently playing in Cyprus with Apollon Limassol.
Okay. I’m a believer in ‘idols’, or in simpler terms: people who inspire decisions and actions in our lives. As an author, I was inspired a lot by JRR Tolkien and Brandon Sanderson’s books; as a writer, the values given to me by my parents played an important role in my mission and personal goals. If I had to ask you who are, or were, your top-most ‘idols’? Did they help you take any decision, try to achieve a goal, or follow any particular dream?
The people who inspired me the most are my parents. They gave me values and education and they inspired me and helped me to make it where I am today. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t achieve much so far.
I imagine that for someone like yourself, football is your passion. As a profession, however, I guess you had to do some sacrifices. Such as Commitment, which I’m sure is never easy. So, if you had to give advice to our youths, or the Maltese people in general, about showing commitment to sports and exercise, what would that be?
If you want to be successful in life in anything you do especially Sports, one needs to get out of his or her comfort zone.
Okay. I’m a believer in doing sports and exercise on a regular basis. Keeping fit is an essential part of having a healthy lifestyle. I, for one, have for the last two months gone almost insane because I could not partake in my weekly physically exercise routine – due to an injury. What is your opinion on physical fitness? I mean, I’m sure you’re in favour. But what would you have to say about its impact and importance in our daily lives? Do you believe that a healthy body is also a healthy mind? What are your thoughts?
Of course I am in favour of participating in physical fitness. Physical Fitness can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases. Physical Fitness and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits.
All right, I’m going to get a bit rougher now, if you don’t mind. Let’s say you had the power and all the necessary resources to implement something on the Maltese islands, what would it be? In relations to sports and physical exercise, of course.
I would create multi-sport pitches in every locality so that people have areas where to make physical exercise and practice any sport.
I think Malta could do much better in supporting local people in sports, locally and internationally, to help them achieve their goals. Do you agree? And, in your opinion, what is the feature or aspect that keeps holding our country back the most? For example, is it laziness from the Maltese families to introduce their children to sports? Is it that there isn’t enough awareness about the crucial importance of physical exercise in our lives? Is it what we eat, or how much we work? What are your thoughts?
Yes, I totally agree that Malta can do much better in supporting local talent, especially in Football. In my opinion, it all boils down to being in the comfort zone. The majority of the Maltese people prefer to stay in the comfort zone and that’s why we always remain at the same level.
Finally, where would you like to see Malta – in regards to sports and physical exercise – ten years from now? What would be your dream for Malta and the Maltese, in relation to sports and fitness?
At the moment we have the highest percentage of obese people in Europe and I would like that in ten years time we will have the lowest percentage of obese people. Apart from this, I would like to see more athletes pursuing a Sporting career abroad.
Thank you, Andre!
(More info on Andre Schembri can be found here)