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Malta women coach Mark Gatt selects team for Azerbaijan, Montenegro qualifiers

The Malta women’s national team returns in action for the final two games of their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification campaign.

The Maltese side kickstart its final double-header of this campaign with a home game against Azerbaijan on Friday, September 2 at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 19.30).

The following week, on Tuesday, September 6, Malta will then meet Montenegro in Podgorica (kick-off: 18.00).

Mark Gatt’s side will be making their return to the field since April when they played hosts to giants Denmark in a qualification game before facing Italy U-23’s selection in a friendly match.  

They currently have four points – obtained in a 2-2 draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Centenary Stadium and in a 2-1 win against the next opponents, Azerbaijan, in Baku. 

For these two games, coach Gatt has selected 22 players which include five players from the Birkirkara side that won in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.  

Goalkeeper Janice Xuereb, defensive trio Stephania Farrugia, Ann-Marie Said and Charlene Zammit together with versatile player Alishia Sultana were all part of the historic victory against Northern Ireland’s Glentoran.  

Birkirkara’s win was the first ever recorded by a Maltese side in the Champions League in 38 attempts.  

Dorianne Theuma, named 2021/2022 MFA Best Player of the women’s league is also picked up by Gatt, together with five other Swieqi United team mates – Jessica Dimech, Jade Flask, Jade Schembri, Shona Zammit and Emma Xuereb.  

Mġarr United are represented by four players in Patricia Ebejer, Rebecca Bajada, Maia Debono and Brenda Borg.

Hibernians, who are making their return to the senior women’s league, will be represented by Nicole Sciberras while Raiders Lija have Maya Lucia even though the youngster is expected to secure a move in Italian football.

The remaining five players are all based abroad which include two players based in Italy in Rachel Cuschieri (Sampdoria) and Emma Lipman (Como) and two England-based in Gillingham’s Ylenia Carabott and Maria Farrugia of Durham.

Joining them is Haley Bugeja who has recently started a new adventure at Orlando Pride in the United States. 

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

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