Fontanella’s application to be completed next month
Enrico Pepe and Teddy Teuma are eligible to play for the Malta national team in next week’s UEFA Nations League qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Latvia after the two players received Maltese citizenship on Tuesday.
Pepe, the Birkirkara defender was initially one of three overseas players earmarked by the Malta Football Association to be awarded Maltese citizenship on sporting merits alongside fellow Italian Mario Fontanella, of Valletta, and Senegalese Amadou Samb, who is on the books of Gżira United.
But, on Tuesday it was announced that the Malta FA also successfully filed an application for French midfielder Teddy Teuma who plies his trade with Belgian second division side Royale Union Saint Gilloise.
However, Teuma’s application was different as he qualifies through his Maltese roots.
Following confirmation by the Maltese government on Tuesday of their sucessful application, Pepe and Teuma are now eligible for the upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against the Faroe Islands in Torshavn, on September 3 and the home match against Latvia three days later, provided they will have their passport issued in the coming days.
However, that is likely to be only a formality and Pepe and Teuma are expected to receive their passport by the end of the week.
Pepe, Samb and Fontanella were all named by Mangia in a 30-man squad for a ten-day training camp at the Ta’ Qali training grounds last month during which the national teams’ head coach had the opportunity to meet with his players for the first time since his appointment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, after this training camp, the Malta FA decided not to pursue an application for Samb as it is understood that Mangia had a change of heart over the player.
On the other hand, the local governing body of football pursued their application for both Pepe and Fontanella as well as Teuma.
Fontanella’s paperwork was submitted after those of Pepe and Teuma with the result that the Italian forward didn’t receive the passport in time for this month’s qualifiers.
However, Fontanella’s passport process is expected to be completed next month making the prolific Italian striker eligible to play in October’s UEFA Nations League matches against Andorra in La Vella, on October 10 and the trip to Latvia on October 13.
Teuma is a 26-year-old midfielder who started his career in France with FC Hyeres before heading to US Boulogne and Red Star FC.
In January, 2019 he decided to continue his career in Belgium with second division side Saint Gilloise where he collected 33 league appearances and netted five goals.
Malta national teams head coach Devis Mangia is expected to announce his final squad for next week’s matches in the next few days.