The first four thousand supporters to enter the south side for the EURO 2012 qualifier between Malta and Latvia in programme on September 7 will enter for free as an incentive by the Malta Football Association which intends to attract more supporters for the game. This was revealed during a press conference which was held on Friday at the Centenary Hall, Ta’ Qali.
Malta will be playing two games in the coming days – an away game against Israel on Thursday 2nd September at the Ramat Gan Stadium and then the match against Latvia at home on Tuesday 7.
National coach John Buttigieg said these two games will be another two difficult matches but is sure that the players will be giving their hundred per cent. Buttigieg said that it was important for the players to remain concentrated in games in order to achieve good results. He said that he was satisfied with the commitment shown by players in training and recent matches. In their last outing, the national team shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with FYR Macedonia.
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The provisional squad for these two games is made up of 23 players. Goalkeeper Justin Haber is ruled out due to an injury and Maltese-Australian midfielder John Hutchinson is not available for these games but Manny Muscat is back. Andre Schembri is once again absent from the squad.
The players selected by Buttigieg and his assistant Carmel Busuttil are:
goalkeepers Anthony Curmi (Tarxien), Andrew Hogg (Valletta), Mario Muscat (Hibs);
defenders Andrei Agius (Melfi), Jonathan Caruana (Valletta), Clayton Failla (Sliema), Massimo Grima (Hamrun), Edward Herrera (Hibs), Carlo Mamo (Marsaxlokk), Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix), Joseph Zerafa (Birkirkara);
midfielders Shaun Bajada (Birkirkara), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Trevor Cilia (Birkirkara), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Ryan Fenech (Hamrun), Jamie Pace (Valletta), Kevin Sammut (Valletta), Gareth Sciberras (Marsaxlokk);
forwards Daniel Bogdanovic (Sheffield United), Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Michael Mifsud (unattached), Ivan Woods (Sliema).
Addressing the press conference, MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo announced that the association agreed to grant free entrance to the first four thousand people to enter the south side as a token of appreciation towards the South End Core. He said that the South End Core played an important role for the national team.
The MFA CEO then presented the number 12 shirt to Louis Agius from the South End Core.
Vassallo said that children attending nurseries will also be eligible to attend for free as before but this time in order to attract more children to games, children attending programmes by the Kunsill Malti g?all-iSport and attending other sports nurseries will also be able to attend for free.
On behalf of the South End Core, Louis Agius appealed for more people to join the group. He said that the association and the South End Core were doing everything possible to attract more people to the stadium although the past two years were quite difficult for the national team.
Malta vs Israel will be played at the Ramat Gan Stadium on Thursday 2nd September, kick-off at 21:15. The match will be controlled by French referee Ennjimi Sai who will be assisted by assistant referees Cano Frederic and Harchay Fredji and fourth official Robert Malek.
Malta vs Latvia will be played at the National Stadium on Tuesday 7th September, kick-off at 19:30. The match will be controlled by Finnish referee Tony Asumaa who will be assisted by assistant referees Matti Heininen and Mikko Alakare and fourth official Ville Jarvenpaa.
Tickets for this game will cost €15 for the West Stand – A, B and C and €8 for the Millennium Stand. Tickets will be available as from Monday 30th August from the following outlets:
MFA Headquarters – Millennium Stand, Ta’ Qali
MFA Gym – Millennium Stand, Ta’ Qali
Geraldu Kiosk – Valletta
Lion King Stationery – Pietà
Teamsport – Iklin
Star Tourism – Bugibba
Eros Stationery – Paceville
GO outlets – Bay Street, Naxxar, Paola, Pavi – Qormi
Melita outlets – Embassy – Valletta, MIA Gudja and Head Offices – Mriehel.
Tickets will only be available on match day from the stadium selling points prior to kick-off.