Saintfiet names squad for Luxembourg, Finland friendlies

Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 15:43

Malta coach Tom Saintfiet has named a 25-strong squad for the upcoming friendly matches against Luxembourg and Finland. The squad, announced during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, is a mix of experience and youth as it comprises players who have featured regularly for the national team in recent years and some new faces.

Saintfiet, who was appointed national coach in October, has awarded a first call-up to young Valletta FC defender Jean Borg while Myles Beerman, currently playing on loan with Scottish Championship side Queen of the South, has also been promoted to the senior squad.

Experienced midfielder Roderick Briffa has earned a recall to the national squad after a long absence.

Malta will meet Luxembourg at the National Stadium on March 22 (kick-off 6pm) before travelling to Turkey for their friendly match against Finland four days later.

Saintfiet explained that Hibernians midfield duo Bjorn Kristensen and Johann Bezzina, and Balzan’s Ryan Fenech have not been included in the squad as they are both recovering from injuries.

Defender Sam Magri is doubtful after picking up an injury while playing for Ebbsfleet United last weekend, Saintfiet is awaiting the report from Ebbsfleet’s medical team on Magri’s injury before making a final decision on his inclusion or otherwise in the final squad.

Winger Mitchell Mallia, who plays for Australian club Blacktown City, has been invited to join the Malta squad during the coming international week, pending authorisation to represent Malta at international senior level.

Mallia, who has a Maltese passport, has expressed his willingness to play for Malta but is still awaiting clearance from FIFA as he has played for Australia at Under-17 and Under-23 level.

Mallia, 25, is one of six ucapped players in Saintfiet’s list, the others being Ħamrun Spartans goalkeeper Steve Sultana, Valletta’s Jean Borg, Balzan defender Michael Johnson, Triston Caruana, the Ħamrun Spartans midfielder, and Siraj Arab, the Balzan winger.

Saintfiet explained that Jean Borg will be rejoining the Malta Under-21 squad after next week’s home friendly against Luxembourg.

The Malta Under-21 squad will meet Switzerland Under-20 team in a friendly match at the Centenary Stadium on March 23 ahead of their UEFA Group Six qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul on March 27.


Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello (Valletta); Andrew Hogg (Hibernians); Steve Sultana (Ħamrun Spartans).
Defenders: Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Cain Attard (Birkirkara); Myles Beerman (Queen of the South, Scotland); Jean Borg (Valletta); Steve Borg (Valletta); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta); Sam Magri (Ebbsfleet United, England); Zach Muscat (Arezzo, Italy); Michael Johnson (Balzan); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta).
Midfielders: Roderick Briffa (Gżira United); Triston Caruana (Ħamrun Spartans); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Luke Gambin (Luton Town, England); Mitchell Mallia (Blacktown City, Australia); Rowen Muscat (Valletta); Steve Pisani (Floriana).
Forwards: Siraj Arab (Balzan); Alfred Effiong (Balzan); Jean Paul Farrugia (FC Chiasso, Switzerland); Michael Mifsud (Valletta); Andrè Schembri (Apollon Limassol, Cyprus).

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