Malta’s Under-19 squad faces the toughest test next month in the UEFA Under-19 European Championship.
With the opening match against Italy just around the corner on July 3, Malta coach Toze Mendez emphasised the significance of the team’s sacrifices and highlighted their remarkable journey thus far.
Mendez revealed that the team has been engaged in extensive preparations over the past 18 months. In their pursuit of excellence, the squad has participated in 29 friendly matches, both domestically and internationally. These matches have provided invaluable experience and allowed the players to refine their skills, strategy, and teamwork. The commitment and dedication displayed by the team throughout this period are commendable, demonstrating their unwavering focus on success.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Mendez shared an additional significant detail regarding the team’s preparations. He explained that in an effort to not only prepare the current U-19 team but also lay the foundation for future success, several U-18 players were invited to join the preparatory training camp.
Coach Mendez also expressed his gratitude to the clubs that have been supporting the association in its endeavors. He took a moment to acknowledge the crucial role played by these clubs in the development and success of the Maltese U-19 team.
The former Valletta coach highlighted the sacrifices made by the players, acknowledging the personal commitments and challenges they had to overcome. These sacrifices encompassed numerous aspects of their lives, including time spent away from family and friends, as well as the dedication required to maintain their physical and mental well-being. The team’s commitment to their training regimen underscores their ambition to achieve excellence on the field and honor their country’s name.
Captain Jake Micallef, who plies his trade at Boavista, conveyed the team’s unity and camaraderie during the past few weeks of intensive training. He explained that the players have bonded well, fostering a strong team spirit that will serve as a foundation for their upcoming commitments. The shared goal of representing Malta with pride has united the squad, allowing them to overcome challenges and work collaboratively towards victory.
Vice-captain Jake Vassallo, a Mosta defender, expressed his gratitude for the tremendous opportunity bestowed upon him and his teammates. Recognising the rarity of participating in such a prestigious tournament, he emphasised the significance of this event in their footballing careers. Vassallo’s ambition to make Malta proud reflects the determination shared by the entire team, propelling them to give their all on the field.
On July 29, Coach Toze is set to announce the final 20-man squad that will represent Malta in the tournament.
As the UEFA Under 19 tournament approaches, Malta faces Italy (July 3), Poland (July 6), and Portugal (July 9).
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