Women’s national team coach Mark Gatt named a 21-strong squad for the two friendly matches in programme against Montenegro on June 10 and 13 at the Centenary Stadium, kick-off at 18:30.
Malta, currently ranked 94, are four places above Montenegro in the FIFA rankings. The latter are at the back of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifying campaign where they faced heavyweights Germany, Republic of Ireland, Greece and Ukraine.
For these games, Gatt called up 21 players, the majority of them already part of the Maltese team during February’s Visit Malta Tournament where Malta hosted Slovakia and Sweden.
Six foreign-based players have been called up. Fresh from their Serie A promotion, Lazio duo Emma Lipman and Rachel Cuschieri are part of the squad alongside Nicole Sciberras, who is also based in Italy with Juventus with whom she finished second in the U-19’s Italian league.
Haley Bugeja – named Serie A’s best young player of the season by the Italian FA – will return to the squad after missing out on the Slovakia and Sweden games.
Maria Farrugia, whose Sunderland Ladies have been promoted to England’s second-tier, is also picked up.
Another player plying her trade abroad included in the squad is Hellas Verona’s Kailey Willis, who together with Birkirkara youth goalkeeper Maya Cachia and Rodienne Zerafa of Kirkop United is still uncapped.
Besides Cachia, Birkirkara are also represented by Alishia Sultana, Stephania Farrugia, Veronique Mifsud and Gabriella Zahra.
Dorianne Theuma – first Maltese women player to collect 100 caps – is back into the squad joining fellow Swieqi United partners Charlene Zammit, Jade Flask, Shona Zammit, Kayleigh Chetcuti and Emma Xuereb. Simone Buttigieg, who swapped Swieqi for Kirkop United on loan back in January, is included as well.
Mġarr United’s goalkeeper Patricia Ebejer has also been selected by coach Gatt.
Janice Xuereb, Maya Cachia (both Birkirkara); Patricia Ebejer (Mġarr United).
Stephania Farrugia, Alishia Sultana, Gabriella Zahra (all Birkirkara); Charlene Zammit, Jade Flask, (both Swieqi United), Nicole Sciberras (Juventus, Italy).
Simone Buttigieg, Dorianne Theuma, Emma Xuereb, Shona Zammit, Kayleigh Chetcuti (all Swieqi United), Veronique Mifsud (Birkirkara); Emma Lipman, Rachel Cuschieri (both Lazio, Italy).
Kailey Willis (Hellas Verona, Italy); Maria Farrugia (Sunderland, England), Rodienne Zerafa (Kirkop United); Haley Bugeja (Sassuolo, Italy).