‘If you work hard enough, you will achieve your goals’ – Karl Micallef

Fortify meets Karl Dunda Micallef, local professional footballer. He talks about his career, nutrition and how Fortify has exceeded all of his expectations.

First of all, let’s speak about the elephant in the room…What does “DUNDA” stand for?

Dunda is a family nickname. The first person who ever used it was my Uncle Karmnu. A known local football player who was, back in the days, a part of the National Team representing Malta on an international level. Over the years, this nickname has been picked up by the entire family on my dad’s side.

Tell us…How did you get started in football?

When I was five years old, I started playing with Lija-Iklin Football Club. It was my father who introduced my two brothers and myself to the world of sport. We all loved playing football, both at the Club and for fun, during our free time.

Did you always have the support to do sports professionally?

Yes, my family and friends were always incredibly supportive. Since I was a child, football was one of the most important things in my life, and I’ve always wanted to take on the sport professionally. My determination and dedication gradually helped to increase the support from my loved ones.

What is it like playing football locally?

Some of the biggest challenges for local footballers are the lower level of facilities and technical set-ups, and financial instability present in local football clubs. I believe that the improvements must start with a change in Maltese perspective that rarely considers a sports career as a full-time job.

With no assurance of receiving a monthly wage, many footballers hesitate to leave a steady full-time job and focus only on football. There were times when my salary was six months late. Now I consider myself lucky to play for a financially stable club. Hamrun Spartans also experienced massive improvements in the Club’s set-up in the past season. Thanks to the work of the entire professional team, technical staff, and committee supporting the Club, these developments allowed me to focus solely on my duties on the pitch and benefited all fellow players.

What are the biggest challenges professional football players face when it comes to their nutrition?

While I generally try to make the right food choices, my biggest challenge is to recognise the right amount of food. Depending on my training schedule and competitive matches, I need to have enough energy to perform while keeping my desired weight on track. Food preparation takes a lot of time, and I am not the biggest fan of cooking either. The typical Maltese diet also doesn’t help, especially when eating around family or dining out with friends.

How is Fortify helping you to achieve your goals?

Since I started on the meal plan by Fortify, I have seen improvement in my general well being whilst feeling better and fitter during training. The variety of the meals and snacks keep me looking forward to my next meal, resulting in a sustainable diet. I also reduced the habit of snacking on unhealthy foods. My plan is based on my training schedule, the average amount of calories and my lifestyle in general. Fortify exceeded my expectations by accomodating my needs, likes and dislikes and showing up to my doorstep numerous times per week to ensure that my meals are always fresh.

What’s your favourite Fortify meal?

It is very difficult to choose but, if I had to choose only one, it will have to be the Chicken glazed in Peanut butter. Oh and the Protein balls! They are absolutely delicious!

Can you share any lessons you learned from pursuing a career in football that you could later apply to life off the pitch?

What I have learnt from football over the years is that consistency and dedication go a long way. Nothing worth having comes easy; however, if you work hard enough and if you are consistent, you will surely achieve your goals.

If you were not a footballer, what do you think your next choice would have been?

I can’t imagine not playing football, but I would definitely pursue a career in another sport, if not the one I’ve chosen for myself. I am fascinated by golf; although, I’ve never had the opportunity to take lessons. Maybe I could seriously consider it after retirement from football.

So, what’s next for Karl? Do you have any future career goals?

One of my biggest dreams and goals is to experience a professional football career within an international football club. I’m sure that to play outside of Malta, and at a higher level than the National Premier Division, would allow me to experience a new football world and help me to improve personally as a footballer.

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