Malta women’s coach Mark Gatt has named a squad of 20 players for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 qualifying match against Georgia. The Maltese girls host Georgia this Thursday before taking on Bosnia & Herzegovina the following Tuesday (March 10), both matches being played at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 18.30).
For his team’s first qualifier of 2020, Gatt has kept faith with most of the players who were part of the squad for the last two Group B qualifiers – against Israel at home and away to Italy. Captain Dorianne Theuma, of Swieqi United, is one of the experienced players selected by coach Gatt as she closes in on becoming the first player to reach 100 caps with the women’s team. Theuma has made 98 appearances so far.
Gatt’s squad includes a host of foreign-based players, including Rachel Cuschieri of PSV Vrouwen, Sunderland Ladies’ Maria Farrugia, Emma Lipman (Florentia San Gimignano) and Martina Borg (Sassari Torres). However, Gatt can’t rely on three important players for Thursday’s commitment as Nicole Sciberras, who plays for the youth team of Juventus, Pink Bari’s Shona Zammit and Ylenia Carabott, of Chievo Fortitudo, are not available for the Georgia match. The trio may rejoin the squad for the second qualifier against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
BOV Women’s League leaders Birkirkara are the most represented club in the Malta women’s squad with six players selected.
Gatt has awarded a first call-up in this qualifying campaign to young forward Haley Bugeja, one of five Mġarr United players in the squad. Bugeja scored her first international goal in the 2-1 friendly defeat to Turkey last January.
Before their game against Turkey, Malta played Switzerland in another warm-up match which also formed part of their preparations for the March qualifiers. Against the Swiss, ranked 19th in the world, Malta came from behind twice with goals from Stephania Farrugia and Carabott to earn a hard-fought 2-2 draw.
Meanwhile, Malta opened their account in Group B of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 qualifiers following a 1-1 home draw against Israel last November with Maria Farrugia netting Malta’s goal in the first half.
Georgia are still without a point in these qualifiers after losing their opening five games in this group. Bosnia, for their part, opened their campaign with two straight wins over Georgia (7-1) and Malta (2-0) and also defeated Israel 3-1 in their last group outing in November. They have suffered identical 2-0 defeats to Denmark and Italy.
MALTA WOMEN’S SQUAD
Janice Xuereb (Birkirkara); Jodie Attard (Raiders Għargħur); Patricia Ebejer (Mġarr United).
Stephania Farrugia, Ann-Marie Said, Alishia Sultana (all Birkirkara); Emma Lipman (Florentia San Gimignano, Italy); Charlene Zammit (Swieqi United).
Gabriella Zahra, Veronique Mifsud (both Birkirkara); Rachel Cuschieri (PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands); Jade Flask, Dorianne Theuma, Emma Xuereb (all Swieqi United); Roxanne Micallef, Claudette Xuereb (both Mġarr United).
Brenda Borg (Mġarr United); Maria Farrugia (Sunderland AFC Ladies, England); Haley Bugeja (Mġarr United); Martina Borg (Sassari Torres, Italy).