Malta women’s coach Manuela Tesse is expecting a harder task in this April international window as her side will face Estonia in an away international friendly, this evening (kick-off: 6pm).
The Italian coach made her debut in charge of the Maltese team in February when she guided Malta to a couple of victories of Luxembourg on home soil – 2-1 and 3-1.
The Estonia trip will be Tesse’s first game away from the Maltese shores where she is expecting a much more difficult task than against Luxembourg.
Estonia are ranked 95th following the latest FIFA rankings published last month.
Head coaches Anastassia Morkovkina and Sirje Roops have called up a squad mostly based of local-based players for their friendly against Malta, with just one plying her trade away from Estonia – Vlada Kubassova.
Kubassova, born in 1995, features for Italian side Como where she plays together with Malta women Emma Lipman in the Serie A Femminile.
“Estonia are stronger than Luxembourg, both tactically and physically,” Tesse told the Times of Malta.
“However, we have a lot of talented players who are technically good therefore I would like to see us keep more possession against them.”
Tesse, who said she was eager to return in action after February’s victories, heaped praise on her side’s strong mentality shown against Luxembourg, where she could already notice some improvements in her players.
“My philosophy is to try and get the best out of my players,” the former Italy player said.
“We are at a national team level here, so I want evert player to feel comfortable in their role in order to maximise their performance.”
For this friendly, which serves as a preparation for September’s Nations League debut, Tesse will be without the services of two in-form players – Jade Flask and Alishia Sultana.
Flask, league’s top scorer with 19 goals, suffered a complete ACL tear during Swieqi’s latest outing against Mġarr United.
On the other hand, Sultana – who scored five goals for dominant Birkirkara – sustained a muscle strain, and was eventually replaced by Swieqi’s Mariah Sciberras.
“Despite the injuries to two important players, I believe that our team is strong and that we have a lot of players who can keep this national team competitive.”
Malta has faced Estonia on 10 occasions and boast a positive record of six victories and three draws.
The latest head-to-head was in the 2019 Aphrodite Cup, in Cyprus, when both teams fired blanks in a goalless stalemate.
Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina/Malta FA
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