Connect with us


Women’s coach Tesse expects Malta to step up in ‘decisive’ Bosnia games

A crucial international window is coming up for the Malta women’s national team as they will face Bosnia-Herzegovina twice between Friday and next Tuesday.

Manuela Tesse’s selection will host the Bosnian team in their second home qualifier on Friday evening, at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 7.30pm).

Malta launched its historic League B commitments with a gutsy display against Northern Ireland, snatching a point in Belfast before putting on another brave performance against giants Portugal, only to lose 2-0 with both goals scored in the second half.

The other team in this group, Bosnia, provides Malta with the chance of securing crucial points which would boost their chances of placing in the top-three positions and advance to the Euro 2025 play-offs.

“The matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina will be decisive for us,” Tesse told the Times of Malta.

“We have to try and get the points and at least, win the home game.”

Bosnia lost their opening two games against Portugal, away, and against Northern Ireland on home soil.

Nonetheless, the Italian coach remains wary of the qualities that their opponents have in their team.

“They have very strong group of players who ply their trade across Europe, and even outside,” Tesse pointed out.

“Their players have a strong physical structure, have a height advantage, and are very aggressive. Moreover, since changing their coach, they are more tactically organised as well.

“From our end, we must make use of our possession because they do suffer against those types of teams while we need to manipulate their defensive block with our pace.”

Bosnia will be spearheaded by captain Milena Nikolic who has just been named the best player in the Switzerland league.

The former Bayer Leverkusen forward is on the books of Basel with whom she scored 10 goals in 14 matches.

Other key players included in the squad are Braga’s defender Melisa Hasanbegovic, formerly of Sporting, Juventus’ youth player Gloria Sliskovic and Inter duo and Haley Bugeja’s team mates Marija Ana Milinkovic and Maja Jelcic.

The team includes members from Bosnia’s giants SFK 2000 who have recently won their 22nd national championship – a run that started in 2002-03 and which is a Guinness World Record in women’s football.

The Bosnian selection is coached by Selver Hodzic, a former player who has featured in the 2005-06 Champions League with Switzerland’s FC Thun.

In that campaign, Hodzic rubbed shoulders with eventual finalists Arsenal twice and scored a dramatic 89th-minute winner against Sparta Prague.

Old foes

Bosnia and Malta have a long history in the women’s game, with the two nations facing each other in the recent Euro 2021 and World Cup 2023 qualifying campaigns.

The last time they crossed swords was in Sarajevo, in 2021, when Jelcic’s strike sank Malta and virtually dashed their hopes of making it into the World Cup play-offs.

Bosnia had went through as second-placed team, falling to Wales in extra-time.

In the first round tie of the same group, Malta had cancelled a two-goal deficit to secure a point – its first in a World Cup qualifying campaign.

In the Euro 2021 qualifiers, Malta lost both matches – 2-0 and 3-2.

Among the other encounters through the years, the 2006 home tie remains a memorable one as Malta had held Bosnia to a 1-1 draw thanks to a goal from Dorianne Theuma who will be part of the Maltese selection for the last time before she hangs up her boots. 

Despite always proving to be a valuable competitor against Bosnia, Malta is still searching for its first win against them and Tesse believes the current form of her players can be the key to halt this negative streak.

“After the domestic season ended, we had the opportunity to start training with the locally-based players,” she said.

“We did some tests and prepared specific training to help our players improve in various aspects, and the results were amazing despite we are at the back end of a long season.

“They have improved a lot and their results are at par with the foreign-based members of this team, which means that you can still improve even if you play in Maltese football.

“This means that I am expecting my side to be physically ready for this battle.


Malta vs Bosnia           18.30

Portugal vs N. Ireland 21.45

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Football