Concacaf side set to make tournament debut next month
Italian coach Manuela Tesse has selected 22 players to form the Malta women’s national team for their high-profile friendly against Haiti, next week.
Haiti, representing North America’s Concacaf, will be making their World Cup debut next month after progressing through February’s play-offs against Senegal and Chile.
They are ranked 53rd, with Malta sitting 86th following the latest issue of the FIFA rankings.
The two teams will rub shoulders in Martigny, Switzerland, on July 1 with Haiti having already started their training camp in the European country.
The Maltese side is expected to leave for Switzerland on Thursday morning, with the team set to hold a number of preparatory training sessions during this camp.
A number of new faces are introduced by Tesse in this selection including Valletta duo Georgiana Mifsud and Sarah Vella Barberi, both key players for the youth selections.
Moreover, Yulya Carella – who last year was on the books of Mġarr United, was also picked by the Italian coach for this match.
Swieqi United’s Tammy Falzon, also a Malta representative at youth level, is also included to complete the defenders’ department.
Janice Xuereb is the only Birkirkara player named in the squad with the other players remaining at the club with the Maltese champions opting to preserve their players since this match is played out of the FIFA international window.
The foreign-based contingent include Serie A duo Emma Lipman and Rachel Cuschieri, Maya Lucia of Genoa, Ylenia Carabott who last year was at Spezia but is set to leave the club and Durham Women’s Maria Farrugia.
Haley Bugeja, who is on the brink of a move to Inter in the Serie A Femminile, was not picked up by Tesse.
This friendly match will serve Malta as a preparation for its Nations League commitments that will start in September.
Malta was drawn in League C – Group C alongside Latvia, Moldova and Andorra.
Tesse’s side will launch their campaign on September 22 with an away match at Latvia before hosting Moldova, four days later.
On October 26, Malta hosts Andorra before facing the same side on away soil on October 31.
The final round of fixtures will be played in November with Malta meeting Moldova away on November 30 and in December, on the 5th, when the Maltese take on Latvia on home soil.
Malta have already played three friendly matches under Tesse, winning on all occasions – twice against Luxembourg and once against Estonia.
Haiti on their part, have a squad composed of several France-based players including highly-rated 19-year-old Melchie Dumornay – just moved to giants Olympique Lyon and experienced player Roselord Borgella who has played in the United States and in South Korea during her career.
The Concacaf side have been drawn in a tough World Cup group against European champions England, China and Denmark.
Patricia Ebejer (Mġarr United), Janice Xuereb (Birkirkara).
Rebecca Bajada (Mġarr United), Maia Debono (Mġarr United), Amy Busuttil (Hibernians), Jessica Dimech (Swieqi United), Tammy Falzon (Swieqi United), Emma Lipman (Como, Italy), Georgiana Mifsud (Valletta FC), Jade Schembri (Swieqi United), Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United).
Dorianne Theuma (Swieqi United), Rachel Cuschieri (Sampdoria, Italy), Shona Zammit (Swieqi United), Brenda Borg (Mġarr United), Nicole Sciberras (Hibernians).
Ylenia Carabott (Spezia Calcio, Italy), Maya Lucia (Genoa, Italy), Yulya Carella (San Ġwann), Sarah Vella Barberi (Valletta FC), Maria Farrugia (Durham Women, England), Mariah Sciberras (Swieqi United).
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