Experience is always a pivotal factor in any aspect of life and if the Malta women’s national team wants to succeed in securing League B promotion against Moldova, experienced players will have to provide a crucial contribution.
One of those players is Ylenia Carabott, just one of five Malta women members who collected at least 90 caps.
After featuring in the latest win over Andorra during the October international window, Carabott has now represented Malta on 93 occasions and is the second all-time best scorer with 20 goals – trailing leader Dorianne Theuma by six.
Her 90th appearance arrived back in June when Manuela Tesse’s selection conceded their only defeat under the Italian’s guidance against eventual World Cup participants Haiti.
“Marking my 90th game for Malta was a huge honour for me because every single time I represent my country is always a source of pride,” Carabott told the Times of Malta.
“This is one of my biggest motivations to keep working hard as I always strive to be part of the Maltese selection.”
Carabott knows what it takes to overcome the final hurdle and reach a special goal having been part of the 2013 selection that had made it past the preliminary round in the 2015 World Cup qualifications.
In that tournament, the clinical forward played a crucial part in helping Malta top their qualifying group above Albania, Luxembourg and next Tuesday’s opponents Latvia.
“Being on the cusp of history is an important moment for us because this reflects the progress of this national team,” Carabott explained.
“We have come a long way for this moment and for me personally it has been an 18-year rollercoaster that can culminate with another historic chapter.
“The 2013 memory is still vivid in my head and I hope we can emulate such success, but we have to remain humble and make sure we finish our job in the upcoming fixtures.”
The 2023-24 campaign is proving to be a pleasant one for Carabott, now at London
Seaward in England’s third-tier.
Earlier this month she scored her maiden club goal this season, in a 6-0 win over AFC Sudbury and she has made six appearances for the first team so far.
“After spending the previous year and a half in England, I felt comfortable returning again while obviously being aware of the fact that I needed to adjust myself since I would be joining a new club,” she explained.
“Unfortunately, I was injured during the pre-season and therefore I had to take my time to break through into the first team.
“But the fact that I had already played in England was beneficial for me to adapt quickly and hit the ground running.”
The former Hibernians and Birkirkara player is one of the other Maltese players plying their trade abroad – a key component that helped the national team make another leap in quality throughout recent years.
Asked about the importance of continuous investment in the women’s game especially following the recent success, Carabott highlighted the fact that more opportunities for girls means more positive results in the women’s game.
“By investment, I don’t mean only financial but making sure that girls are getting equal opportunities both at club and international level, from facilities to equipment and technical staff.
“That is the only way that women’s football can thrive in the near future.”
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