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Coach Mark Gatt names Malta women squad for World Cup qualifiers

The Malta women’s national team will resume its commitments in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifications as they travel to Russia and Azerbaijan for their upcoming matches.

For this away double-header, 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 78th) at the ASK Arena on October 26 (kick-off: 4pm).

The Maltese side is on the back of a historic 2-2 draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina that earned Malta its first-ever point in the main qualification round of 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 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’s Jade Schembri returns to the squad. She will join her club team-mates Jessica Dimech, Jade Flask and Jade Schembri in the defensive department along with Birkirkara’s Alishia Sultana, Stephania Farrugia and Charlene Zammit,  three Swieqi players, Maia Debono, of Mġarr United, and Nicole Sciberras of Tavagnacco.

Italy-based Rachel Cuschieri and Emma Lipman will form the midfield department alongside Swieqi trio Kayleigh Chetcuti, Shona Zammit and Dorianne Theuma and Mġarr’s Brenda Borg, and Birkirkara’s Ann-Marie Said.

Upfront, Ylenia Carabott, who has recovered from her ACL injury that had kept her out for more than eight months, returns to the squad alongside Swieqi’s Emma Xuereb.

Sassuolo forward Haley Bugeja is still sidelined by injury. 

THE SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Patricia Ebejer (Mġarr United); Jodie Attard (Swieqi United); Maya Cachia (Crotone Calcio Femminile, Italy).

DEFENDERS: Alishia Sultana, Stephania Farrugia, Charlene Zammit (all Birkirkara); Jessica Dimech, Jade Flask, Jade Schembri (Swieqi United); Maia Debono (Mġarr United); Nicole Sciberras (Tavagnacco, Italy).

MIDFIELDERS: 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).

FORWARDS: Francesca Chircop (Mġarr United); Emma Xuereb (Swieqi United); Maria Farrugia (Sunderland Ladies, England); Ylenia Carabott (Keynsham Town Ladies, England).

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