The Malta women’s national teams are set to usher into a new era as Malta Football Association (MFA) president Bjorn Vassallo announced that a unique philosophy will be put in place under new coach Manuela Tesse.
Tesse, a UEFA Pro License holder, was officially unveiled as the Head Coach of the Malta women’s national teams, a role which sees her supervising all categories from senior to youth teams.
She is the first female to be appointed in charge of the senior women’s side and her contract runs until 2024, practically once the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifications come to an end.
For Vassallo, this is a critical point for the growth of the women’s game with former national team coach Mark Gatt describing the movement as being at a crossroads in an interview with the Times of Malta back in September.
A former Serie A Femminile coach with Pomigliano, Tesse will be in charge of the senior side which is expected to return to action in February with two home friendlies before playing another couple of games on away soil during the April international window.
“Obviously, Manuela Tesse will be in charge of the senior side in particular during the international window,” Vassallo told a news conference.
“But 80% of her job will consist in following the full development of the local game from grassroots to the elite since we want to be aligned with the males with a unique game philosophy, in order to have a sustainable future in the women’s game.”
Vassallo pointed out that during their vetting process, they were looking at profiles that have a player-dedicated approach which is part of their long-term strategy as an association.
“When we took the decision to appoint Manuela Tesse, we looked at young-aged and motivated coaches,” Vassallo explained.
“At the same time, we were looking at people who are self-conscious of the role they were embarking on and people with a strong personality both on the pitch and in the dressing room.”
Tesse’s first task in charge of the senior side will be the newly-launched UEFA Women’s Nations League whose draws will be made in April.
Malta will be playing in Group C with the campaign set to run between late 2023 and early 2024 before switching to the proper qualifications for the next European Championships that will be played in 2025.
Vassallo pointed out that the Nations League is a very important tournament for the national team and given they sit in the top places of their League C coefficients, the objective is to keep a steady pace and try to improve further, eyeing an ambitious League B promotion.
Ranked 88th, Malta has not played in the October and November international window since they were without a coach but Vassallo explained how they are active behind the scenes, brainstorming about a new strategy that will serve as a guideline for the future of this movement.
Tesse’s staff has not been announced yet with Vassallo explaining how they will be in close touch with Director of Women’s Football Pierre Brincat to assemble a strong team for the Italian coach.
A former Italy player and a person who describes herself as a warrior, Tesse eyes a continuous improvement in the FIFA rankings while acknowledging that there is already a good foundation to work on.
She also explained that she has already watched some past games of the national team while being aware of some players given that some of them were or are still plying their trade in Italian football.
“I am very ambitious and very committed, and I expect the players to never give up and always be at their best, even if they commit mistakes,” Tesse said.
“I like to communicate with the players and I always listen to what they would have to say, because at the end they are ones who have to perform on the field.
“I will try to instil a different mentality, we want to grow but we know that this process needs to go through rough patches which will forge our characters – also, my idea of football is to impose an assertive style, which will excite our fans as well.”
For Tesse, who is a UEFA Pro License holder, this will be her fourth experience at international level, having already been assistant coach of the Italian women’s senior team between 2011 and 2012.
She was also in charge of the U-17’s women’s selection of Trinidad and Tobago, in the CONCACAF, in 2017.
Previously, Tesse had already worked in this region having been part of the technical staff of the Canadian women’s team between 2010 and 2011.
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