Malta will face Armenia, Andorra and Gibraltar in the UEFA European Boys Youth Under-16 Development Mini-Tournament which gets underway on Wednesday with the first two games at the Centenary Stadium.
Silvio Vella, the Malta U-17 coach, has called a squad of 22 players for the four-team tournament which wraps up on Sunday when the final two matches are played simultaneously at the Centenary Stadium and Luxol Stadium.
“This is the first international experience for this squad,” Vella said.
“Every player will get his chance, also as the tournament regulations state that every member of the squad must get at least 80 minutes of playing time. This is why this is called a Development Tournament. I’m sure that it will be a very useful test ahead of our participation in the UEFA U-17 qualifying round in October.”
Vella is approaching the tournament in an upbeat mood as the squad preparations are progressing well.
“We are preparing well,” Vella added. “I have a group of dedicated players and there is a lot of enthusiasm within the squad. “It promises to be a good test for everyone, including myself, the staff and the players. I’m confident that we will do well.”
Vella’s boys meet Armenia in their opening game on Wednesday afternoon (2.45 p.m.).
After taking on Andorra on Friday at 3 p.m., the Maltese youngsters end their commitments with a game against Gibraltar on Sunday morning at 10.45 a.m.
Malta, who play all their games at the Centenary Stadium, won the UEFA European Boys Youth Under-16 Development Mini-Tournament last year with maximum points after beating Belarus (3-2), Azerbaijan (3-0) and Liechtenstein (2-0).
MALTA U-16 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Andrea Spiteri (Valletta); Amara Sylla (Birkirkara).
Defenders: Shaun Cassar (Sliema Wanderers); Shaun Dimech (Valletta); Francesco Gambin (Żabbar St Patrick); Sebastian Grech (Birkirkara); Ethan Lethridge (Birkirkara); Liam Mckay (Pietà Hotspurs); Andreas Vella (Hibernians).
Midfielders: Clyde Bouvet (Pietà Hotspurs); Christian Gauci (San Ġwann); Jake Ghio (Pietà Hotspurs); Sheldon Pisani (Pietà Hotspurs); Matthew Portelli (Hibernians); Bradley Sciberras (Floriana); Jamie Sixsmith (St Andrews); Ryan Tonna (Valletta).
Forwards: Paul Mbong (Birkirkara); Alexander Satariano (St Andrews); Michele A. Vella (Birkirkara); Russel Vella (Ħamrun Spartans); Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Birkirkara).