April 1, 2017: Another international assignment is around the corner for the Malta women’s team in the shape of a FIFA Women’s World Cup Mini-Tournament, being held in Albania between April 6 and 11.
Mark Gatt, the national women’s coach, has selected a group of 18 players for the Preliminary Round Group 2 tournament that will see Malta take on Greece, ranked 61st in the world, debutants Kosovo and Albania, ranked 71st.
Gatt’s squad is mostly made up of players from Birkirkara, who wrapped up the BOV Women’s League title earlier this week, and second-placed Hibernians.
Malta’s schedule is as follows: Greece vs Malta (Thursday, April 6, 14.00); Malta vs Albania (Saturday, April 8, 14.00); Kosovo vs Malta (Tuesday, April 11, 14.00).
In their previous World Cup qualifying campaign, in 2013, the Malta women’s team exceeded expectations by advancing to the second qualifying phase after claiming top spot in their group which also comprised Albania, Latvia and Luxembourg.
The present squad will be going all out to emulate that success.
As part of their preparations for the World Cup mini-tournament, the Maltese girls took part in the Aphrodite Cup, in Cyprus, last month.
Malta, currently ranked 88th on the FIFA chart, finished fourth after losing a classification play-off against Lithuania on penalties but obtained their first ever win over Cyprus in the group stage.
Earlier this year, Gatt’s girls played two friendly games against Lithuania at the Centenary Stadium, losing 3-0 in the first match but bouncing back to win the second one 1-0.
MALTA WOMEN’S SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Rachelle Borg (Mġarr United); Janice Xuereb (Birkirkara).
Defenders: Rebecca Bajada (Hibernians); Stephania Farrugia (Birkirkara); Jade Flask (Hibernians); Alishia Sultana (Birkirkara); Ann-Marie Said (Birkirkara); Gabriella Zahra (Birkirkara); Charlene Zammit (Hibernians).
Midfielders: Emma Xuereb (Hibernians); Kim Parnis (Birkirkara); Dorianne Theuma (Hibernians); Shona Zammit (Hibernians); Rachel Cuschieri (Apollon Ladies).
Forwards: Ylenia Carabott (Hibernians); Raina Giusti (Birkirkara); Kelly Agius Pace (Birkirkara); Martina Borg (Hibernians).
Head Coach: Mark Gatt
Team Manager: Pierre Brincat
Assistant Coach: Frank Schembri
Goalkeepers Coach: Roger Camilleri
Team Doctor: John Zammit Montebello
Physiotherapist: Jade Attard
Physical trainer: Karl Attard
Kit Manager: Jacqueline Ellul