The Malta women’s national team will resume its commitments in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifications as they will travel to Russia and Azerbaijan for Matchday 3 and Matchday 4.
For this double-header away from the Maltese shores, coach Mark Gatt has named 22 players to form the selection.
Malta face Russia (ranked 24) at the Khimki Arena on October 21 (kick-off: 4pm, Malta time) before travelling to Baku, where they will cross swords with Azerbaijan (ranked 78) at the ASK Arena on October 26 (kick-off: 4pm).
The Maltese side is at the back of a historic 2-2 draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina that earned Malta its first ever point in the main qualification round for a Women’s World Cup.
For these two games, coach Gatt has kept faith with most of the players that formed the team in the previous two games against Denmark and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Birkirkara’s goalkeeper Janice Xuereb is still recovering from her injury with Jodie Attard of Swieqi United set to join Patricia Ebejer of Mġarr United and Crotone’s Maya Cachia in the goalkeeping department.
Swieqi defender Jade Schembri returns to the squad where she will join the defensive department that is formed by three Birkirkara players (Alishia Sultana, Stephania Farrugia, Charlene Zammit), three Swieqi players (Jessica Dimech, Jade Flask, Jade Schembri), one from Mġarr (Maia Debono) and one foreign-based in Nicole Sciberras of Tavagnacco.
Italy-based Rachel Cuschieri and Emma Lipman will form the midfield department alongside three Swieqi players (Kayleigh Chetcuti, Shona Zammit, Dorianne Theuma), one Mġarr representative (Brenda Borg) and one Birkirkara player (Ann-Marie Said).
Upfront, there will be the return of Ylenia Carabott who has recovered from her ACL injury that had kept her out for over eight months. Carabott is currently playing with England’s third-tier side Keynsham Town. Swieqi’s Emma Xuereb is also another player that will be returning to the national team.
They will be joined by Maria Farrugia of Sunderland Ladies and Francesca Chircop, who netted a hat-trick for Mġarr on the opening day of the domestic league.
Sassuolo forward Haley Bugeja remains unfit for selection after being absent from September’s games.
Patricia Ebejer (Mġarr United); Jodie Attard (Swieqi United); Maya Cachia (Crotone Calcio Femminile, Italy).
Alishia Sultana, Stephania Farrugia, Charlene Zammit (all Birkirkara); Jessica Dimech, Jade Flask, Jade Schembri (Swieqi United); Maia Debono (Mġarr United); Nicole Sciberras (Tavagnacco, Italy).
Ann-Marie Said (Birkirkara); Brenda Borg (Mġarr United); Kayleigh Chetcuti, Dorianne Theuma, Shona Zammit (all Swieqi United); Rachel Cuschieri (Lazio, Italy); Emma Lipman (Como Women, Italy).
Francesca Chircop (Mġarr United); Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United); Maria Farrugia (Sunderland Ladies, England); Ylenia Carabott (Keynsham Town Ladies, England).