Malta Football Association
Malta debut a ‘dream come true’ for quartet
May 31, 2018
Posted in:
National Team
Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

The thrill of playing their first match for the national team has reinforced the motivation of the four players who made their senior debut for Malta in the 1-1 draw against Armenia.

Victoria Hotspurs Ferdinando Apap made his first start on Tuesday while Hibs duo Joseph Mbong and Jurgen Degabriele, and Birkirkara midfielder Jake Grech were handed their debut in the second half.


As Malta step up their preparations for their second friendly against Georgia at the Silberstadt Arena in Schwaz on Friday evening, these four players looked back on Tuesday’s experience.


“There are no words to describe my emotions,” Apap, who hails from Gozo, told


“Being chosen in the 23-man squad for this training camp gave me great satisfaction but to be named in the starting line-up for the Armenia friendly exceeded my expectations. I can’t describe what I felt.


“I was very excited in the first 20 minutes of the match. I was facing players who play at high levels but as the game progressed, I settled and my confidence grew.


“This experience has further strengthened my motivation to retain my place in this squad. In life, you strive to advance and improve but it’s never enough... it’s a constant learning curve.”


While the draw against Armenia has lifted the Malta players’ morale, Apap is not getting carried away.


“Drawing against Armenia was positive but now we are thinking only about Georgia,” Apap said.


“As the coach said, we still have a long way to go.”




For Jake Grech, who came on for Roderick Briffa, making his debut for Malta was a dream come true.


“Wearing the national team’s shirt was a childhood dream,” Grech enthused.


“I’ve been lucky to have been part of every stage at national team level as captain – Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21.


“Apart from the satisfaction of making my debut for the national team, it was also a nice occasion because the team’s performance and result on the day were also very positive.”


Grech paid tribute to the experienced players in the Malta squad.


“The squad is very united,” Grech said.


“The experienced players have helped us to make the transition from the U-21s to the senior team.


“The coach believes in the young players and this is a good thing for us.


“Now we are focusing on the friendly against Georgia. We need to stay humble and concentrated.”




Joseph Mbong, who like Grech, Degabriele, Kyrian Nwoko and Myles Beerman, still forms part of the Malta U-21 squad, is also happy to have made his bow for the national team.


“I had been waiting to make my debut for the national team,” the 20-year-old said.


“Being called up to the squad was already a big thing for me but actually making my debut gave me mixed emotions...happiness and excitement.”


Mbong is looking forward to the Georgia friendly.


“It’s another chance to show our worth as Maltese players,” Mbong said.


“The last game was not easy as we played against strong players.


“We can’t suddenly start to think big but on the other hand, I believe we can achieve a positive result if we are fully focused.”



Jurgen Degabriele echoed Mbong’s sentiments.


“It has always been my dream to play for the national team,” the Hibs forward said.


“Coming on for Michael Mifsud was also a special moment as he is part of the history of Maltese football.


“To be with the team is already a bonus for me and to get on the pitch in the Armenia friendly made it extra special.


“After the positive result we obtained against Armenia, we’re looking forward to the Georgia match. It’s going to be another battle but this is a step-by-step process.”




Friday’s friendly match against Georgia will be streamed live on

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