Malta coach Pietro Ghedin has named a provisional 23-strong squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at home to England and away to Scotland in the first week of September.
Ghedin has effectively retained the core of players who have featured regularly in this World Cup qualifying campaign.
Striker Jean Paul Farrugia, who has been in excellent form for his new Swiss club FC Chiasso, is back in the frame after suspension kept him out of the 2-0 defeat to Slovenia in Malta’s last qualifier, played in Ljubljana on June 10.
On the other hand, Alfred Effiong will have to miss the much-awaited encounter with England at the National Stadium on September 1 as the Balzan forward must serve a one-match ban after collecting his second yellow card in the Slovenia qualifier.
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Ghedin has included Effiong in his provisional squad as the Nigerian-born striker will be eligible to play in the qualifier against Scotland at Hampden Park on September 4.
There are five foreign-based players in Ghedin’s selection, namely Apollon Limassol forward Andrè Schembri, defender Zach Muscat, who is in the books of Italian club US Arezzo, Luke Gambin, the Luton Town winger, defender Sam Magri, now playing for Ebbsfleet United, and FC Chiasso’s Farrugia.
The Italian has also included three uncapped players in his provisional squad, Ħamrun Spartans goalkeeper Steve Sultana and Balzan duo Michael Johnson and Lydon Micallef.
Clyde Borg, the Floriana FC midfielder who has one Malta cap, has also been called up.
The match against England on September 1 (kick-off 20.45) will be Malta’s seven Group F match in this 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. The Maltese team are still without a point.
Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello (Valletta FC); Andrew Hogg (Hibernians FC); Steve Sultana (Ħamrun Spartans FC).
Defenders: Andrei Agius (Hibernians FC); Steve Borg (Valletta FC); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta FC); Clayton Failla (Hibernians FC); Michael Johnson (Balzan FC); Sam Magri (Ebbsfleet United); Zach Muscat (US Arezzo); Alex Muscat (Sliema Wanderers FC); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta FC).
Midfielders: Clyde Borg (Floriana FC); Ryan Fenech (Balzan FC); Paul Fenech (Balzan FC); Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians FC); Luke Gambin (Luton Town); Steve Pisani (Floriana FC).
Forwards: Alfred Effiong (Balzan FC – available only for Scotland qualifier); Jean Paul Farrugia (FC Chiasso); Lydon Micallef (Balzan FC); Michael Mifsud (Valletta FC); Andrè Schembri (Apollon Limassol).