A long wait for competition football is coming to an end for the Malta Under-21 team.
For the past 10 months, the coaching staff have been working to oversee and build a new squad following the previous competition that ended late last year with two positive home results, a 2-1 win over Hungary followed in November by a 1-1 draw against Cyprus.
Since then, head coach Silvio Vella together with his staff have been conducting regular training stages with some friendlies along the way that saw this crop of young players beating Turkmenistan 2-1 and harshly losing 1-0 to Kosovo in a one-week training camp in Antalya, Turkey last March. In June, the Malta U-21 held Bosnia Herzegovina to a goalless draw in a friendly match at the National Stadium.
A difficult qualifying campaign (Group 8) is about to begin for the Malta U21 team as they face Northern Ireland on Friday, before travelling to Ukraine. Qualifiers against Finland and Denmark, also away, are lined up before the end of the year.
Romania is the other team in Malta’s group in this UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying campaign.
Malta take on Northern Ireland on Friday at 8.30pm at the The Showgrounds – Ballymena, before another long trip to play Ukraine on Tuesday at 5.30pm at the Metallurh – Zaporizhia stadium.