Malta Football Association
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VIDEO: ‘Getting back into national squad was an incentive for me’
Mar 24, 2017
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National Team
UEFA EURO 2020 - EQ

The return of Ryan Fenech to the national fold is one of the uplifting stories in the build-up to Sunday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at the National Stadium (kick-off 8.45pm).


A former MFA Footballer of the Year who has also won several honours in his career, Fenech hardly featured for Balzan after joining them from Valletta as he spent most of the past 18 months battling a recurring injury.

 

His long lay-off raised fears about Fenech’s future but things are looking up for the dynamic midfielder as he is gradually returning to his old self after making his much-awaited comeback in December.


 

His improving performances have also been recognised by Malta coach Pietro Ghedin who has named Fenech in his final 20-strong squad for the Slovakia qualifier.

 

Fenech is understandably delighted about his recall to the national squad, two years after his last appearance in a Maltese shirt, a 2-0 defeat away to Azerbaijan.

 

“Ivan (Vella) phoned in the morning to advise me that I had been called up to the 23-man squad,” Fenech told www.mfa.com.mt.

 

“I was obviously pleased as, after a difficult two-year period, it was an incentive for me to get back into the national squad. And the feeling of earning a call-up is always nice.”

 

The 30-year-old admitted that there were moments during his painstaking recover from a troublesome hernia injury when he feared that his career might be over but he never gave up.

 

“I had a very difficult period lasting a year-and-a-half,” Fenech added,

 

“There were moments when I doubted whether I’d be able to return to football but, with the strength and support of my family, coaches, everyone really, doctors and physios... you always work hard to return to your best and I managed to do that.

 

“I made my return towards the end of December and I’m feeling fine now.”

 

Building up his fitness and form after resuming training was a gradual process for the Balzan midfielder who has 41 Malta caps.

 

“The start was not easy as I had been out for 18 months,” Fenech added.

 

“I tried to find my feet and regain my physical condition but, over the past month, I feel that I’ve further raised my performance level and physically I’m feeling a lot better.

 

“It seems that the national coach is also pleased about my performances as he has recalled me into the national squad.”

 

Fenech is hopeful that, with the backing of our fans, the Maltese team can get something from Sunday’s Group F qualifier.

 

“It’s important,” Fenech replied when asked about how the fans can help the team make home advantage count.

 

“When we play at home, we have that extra motivation and push from the people who come to the stadium as well as those who watch us on television.

 

“Obviously, to play for the national team is always a great feeling. We always give our 100 per cent and try to obtain the first point in our group.”

 

Tickets for Sunday’s qualifier against Slovakia at the National Stadium can be purchased from the following points of sales or via this website (www.mfa.com.mt):

 

MFA OFFICES – Ta' Qali, Millennium Stand
EROS STATIONERS – Paceville
KSU Office – On Campus
LION KING STATIONERS – G'Manġia
MATRIX – Republic Street, Valletta
MATRIX – Main Street, Paola
MATRIX – Skyparks, MIA,
TEAMSPORT – Iklin
STAR TOURIST SERVICES – Buġibba
GFA OFFICES – Xewkija, Gozo

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