National coach Pietro Ghedin dropped all Valletta players from the squad for next Wednesday’s international friendly match at the Nico Dovana Stadium in Durres. This followed the decision of Valletta players to attend a recovery session with the club on Thursday rather than the training session with the national team they were due to attend.
Steve Borg, Jonathan Caruana, Roderick Briffa, Shaun Bajada, Ryan Fenech and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza were therefore left out of the squad. To replace them, Ghedin included Zach Muscat (Birkirkara), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians) and Leighton Grech (Qormi).
Kristensen and Muscat were due to play for the Under-21 side in a UEFA Under-21 qualifier against Sweden also on Wednesday. The Hibernians midfielder has already one senior national team cap while Muscat was part of the senior squad for sometime in 2002 but is yet to make his debut.
For Leighton Grech, this is the first national team call-up.
Sliema Wanderers goalkeeper Henry Bonello, Mark Scerri and the injured Rowen Muscat of Birkirkara, who were part of the provisional squad, will not be making the trip to Durres.
The squad is made up of:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (Birkirkara), Andrew Hogg (Kalloni);
defenders Andrei Agius (Aprilia), Steve Bezzina (Balzan), Ryan Camilleri (Hibs), Clayton Failla (Hibs), Alex Muscat (Sliema), Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix), Zach Muscat (Birkirkara), Joseph Zerafa (Birkirkara);
midfielders Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Leighton Grech (Qormi), Edward Herrera (Birkirkara), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibs), John Mintoff (Sliema), Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara);
forwards Michael Mifsud (Melbourne Hearts), Andre Schembri (Omonia Nicosia), Terence Vella (Birkirkara).
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar