The Malta U-19’s women’s national team are gearing up their preparations for their historic appearance in League A of the 2023 UEFA Women’s U-19’s European Championship qualifications.
Coached by Frank Schembri, the young Maltese selection will be involved in a four-team group that will be hosted in Portugal between October 5 and October 11.
Malta are pitted alongside three of the strongest teams in European football – Belgium, hosts of the 2023 European Championships, Norway – runners up of this year’s edition and Portugal, semi-finalists of the 2019 edition.
The Maltese side will launch their campaign on October 5 when they will face Norway at the Sport Complex of Tocha (kick-off: 4pm – Malta time).
Three days later, Malta will face Belgium at the Municipal Sergio Conceicao in Coimbra (kick-off: 3.45pm) before wrapping up their commitments against Portugal on October 11, in Coimbra once again (kick-off: 7pm).
For this tournament, Schembri has picked up 20 players as he kept faith with the selections he made for September’s international friendly against Bulgaria on home soil.
This will be Malta’s first-ever appearance in League after securing promotion in April when they placed as the best runners-up in League B during the second stage of the 2021/2022 competition’s qualifications.
During that mini-tournament, hosted in the Northern Ireland, Malta drew 1-1 with the hosts before scoring two comeback wins against Azerbaijan (2-1) and Faroe Islands (3-2).
“I believe that the fact that we are among the best teams in Europe is always a source of pride for us,” coach Frank Schembri told the Malta FA’s website.
“It is not something that we are used to and therefore this will be a unique experience for us.”
In this new edition, League A will consist of 28 teams who were drawn into seven groups. The teams finishing fourth will be relegated to League B for round 2 while the remaining three from each League A group will advance to round 2 and will be just three games away from a potential qualification to next year’s finals.
“You cannot play at a better level than this and that is why I am sure that while these three games will be very difficult for us, they will benefit the development of our players,” coach Schembri added.
“They will share the field with young players that will be among the world’s best tomorrow.”
Chanelle Borg (Swieqi United), Maya Cachia (Venezia Calcio, Italy), Raisa Costantino (Hibernians).
Fatma Al Girbi, Nicole Camenzuli (San Ġwann), Izabella Camilleri (Birkirkara), Jeanelle Falzon (Mtarfa), Tammy Falzon (Swieqi United), Alexandra Gatt (Durham Cestria, England), Michela Ionadi (Milton Youth Soccer Club, Canada), Georgiana Mifsud (Raiders Lija).
Gaia Antonelli, Sabrin Blihi, Megan La Rosa (Raiders Lija), Yulya Carella (Mġarr United), Ileana Farrugia (Birkirkara), Kimberly Fava, Ylenia Grech (Swieqi United).
Iulia Mifsud (Hibernians), Sarah Vella Barberi (Raiders Lija).
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