The Malta national squad will resume training on January 16 ahead of the first friendly match for 2012 – against Liechtenstein at Ta’ Qali on February 29. This match, possibly followed by other preparatory ones, should be a prelude to our World Cup 2014 preliminary group campaign.
Until a new national team coach is appointed, the team for this upcoming match will be under the guidance of caretaker manager Robert Gatt who is occupying the post of MFA Technical Director.
Gatt selected an 18-man squad built on home-based players, including some new faces like Sliema Wanderers goalkeeper Henry Bonello, Valletta’s Edmond Agius and Dyson Falzon and Under-21 internationals Zach Muscat of Pietà, Rowen Muscat of Birkirkara and Bjorn Kristensen of Hibernians.
Players like Birkirkara’s Reuben Gauci, Paul Fenech, Joseph Zerafa and Trevor Cilia, Tarxien’s Carlo Mamo, Qormi’s Kenneth Scicluna, Valletta’s Jamie Pace and Floriana’s John Mintoff, Christian Caruana and Ivan Woods who were part of the provisional squad for the last two EURO 2012 qualifiers against Latvia and Israel in October were not included.
The training programme includes training sessions every Monday and Tuesday.
Prior to the start of this build-up, all those selected will be subjected to routine physical tests under the surveillance of physical trainer Luca Pagani. In this way their fitness levels can be gauged.
The foreign-based players selected for the Malta squad will be called up prior to this match.
The selected players are:
goalkeepers Andrew Hogg (Valletta), Henry Bonello (Sliema);
defenders Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa and Jonathan Caruana (Valletta); Edward Herrera and Clayton Failla (Hibs); Alex Muscat (Sliema) and Zach Muscat (Pietà);
midfielders Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat and Shaun Bajada (Birkirkara); Edmond Agius, Dyson Falzon and Ryan Fenech (Valletta), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibs);
forwards Michael Mifsud (Valletta), Andrew Cohen (Hibs).
Meanwhile training sessions for the other national teams, namely the Under-21, Under-19, Under-17 and the Women’s national team, together with the Academy, will also start training on 16th January.