Pietro Ghedin names final 20-man squad for Slovakia clash

Malta coach Pietro Ghedin has named his final 20-man squad for Sunday’s 2018 World Cup Group F qualifier against Slovakia at the National Stadium (kick-off 8.45pm).

Former Malta Under-21 player Cain Attard, who had been initially included in the Malta B squad, has been promoted to the senior group after seizing his chance to impress during a friendly game on Wednesday.

This is not the first time Attard has been called up to the senior squad as the Birkirkara right-back earned his first cap for Malta in the friendly game against the Czech Republic last May.

From the provisional list announced last week, Ryan Camenzuli, of Floriana, and Samir Arab, the Balzan defender, have not been retained in the final squad.

Flank defender Jurgen Pisani, of Floriana, pulled out of the squad after picking up a knee injury during training at Ta’ Qali earlier this week.

Valletta midfielder Rowen Muscat is also out of the equation as he is still recovering from an adductor injury.

Sunday’s game will mark Malta’s first official outing for 2017. The national team will be aiming to collect their first point in Group F but their task promises to be anything but easy as they must contend with a strong Slovakian team that will be going all out to win the game and stay in contention for qualification to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

Goalkeepers: Andrew Hogg (Hibernians); Henry Bonello (Birkirkara).
Defenders: Jacob Borg, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (both Gżira United); Zach Muscat (Arezzo, Italy); Sam Magri (Dover Athletic, England); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta); Joseph Zerafa, Cain Attard (both Birkirkara).
Midfielders: Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara); Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians); Steve Pisani (Floriana); Luke Gambin (Luton Town, England); Paul Fenech, Ryan Fenech (both Balzan); Mark Scerri (Sliema Wanderers).
Forwards: Michael Mifsud (Valletta); Andrè Schembri (Boavista, Portugal); Jean Paul Farrugia (Sliema Wanderers); Luke Montebello (Valletta).