Two uncapped players in Malta squad
Malta play fellow UEFA minnows Liech-tenstein in an away friendly on Wednesday without the services of captain Michael Mifsud but with two players yet to make their debut for the national team in the squad.
After having performed more than discreetly in their two away World Cup 2014 Group assignments against Italy and the Czech Republic, losing 2-0 and 3-1 respectively, Malta will again be tuned to rehearsing mode when they face the modest, even if far from easy, sparring opponents from Liechtenstein.
National coach Pietro Ghedin gave an indication that he intends to introduce new faces into his squad for the trip to central Europe when including some surprise names in his provisional list last week.
With striker Mifsud unavailable (he also skipped Valletta’s Premier League match against Sliema Wanderers on Friday) and defender Steve Borg injured, Italian Ghedin had Justin Grioli, of Tarxien, Mosta’s Alex Cini and Julian Galea, of Melita, in his initial group of 27 players.
Yesterday, however, Ghedin only opted to retain uncapped duo Terence Vella (Ħamrun Spartans) and Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara) in his 18-man squad that saw the return of Hibs winger Clayton Failla but no place for Daniel Bogdanovic, the Mosta striker.
Ghedin will be glad to welcome into his fray Andrew Cohen, the Hibernians midfielder who skipped the World Cup qualifier away against Czech Republic last month to cure an elbow injury.
Malta played Liechtenstein at Ta’ Qali last February and won the friendly 2-1.
The warm-up match at the Rhein Park Stadion in Vaduz on Wednesday will be one of many in a list involving most of the top teams on the continent.
Several prominent club coaches, including Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, have already shown their dislike to the midweek internationals at this stage of the season.
Nonetheless, the top fixtures this week should be Italy vs France, Holland vs Germany and Sweden vs England.
Goalkeepers: Justin Haber, Andrew Hogg.
Defenders: Andrei Agius, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri, Luke Dimech, Alex Muscat, Clayton Failla, Edward Herrera.
Midfielders: Ryan Fenech, Roderick Briffa, Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech, Shaun Bajada, Gareth Sciberras.
Forwards: Andre Schembri, Terence Vella, Andrew Cohen.