Malta Football Association
Malta U21 overview ahead of the Belgium game on Friday
Sep 4, 2018
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picture - Domenic Aquilina
picture - Domenic Aquilina

The Malta UNDER 21 Team this Friday will be in action in yet another daunting fixture as we face a strong Belgium side who are level on points with Sweden at the top of Group 6 vying for qualification to next year’s U21 European Championship.

Preparations for this young squad has been relentless throughout the past few days as they had an extra week to get ready for this difficult match. asked Malta U21 coach Silvio Vella his general overview so far as this group Group 6 is coming towards the end, “its true we are on zero points but in this competition we were struck with bad luck and referee’s decisions in some games were totally against us”.


“On a positive note I am completely delighted with the amount of talent coming up, its true that results and points define our progress, nonetheless this group of players is always improving and finally that is our ultimate aim to push them in the right direction and help them in their development”.


Despite the challenging task, coach Silvio Vella and his assistant Noel Turner have been using this Qualifying Group to give youth players a chance and prepare them for future engagements with this U21 squad.


The swift progress in our young players and the fruitful work in the MaltaFA Youth Development Sector is also seeing a good number of talented players promoted to the senior squad.


In the few months since being appointed as new National Team Coach, Ray Farrugia has been keeping a close eye on the crop of talented youngsters who are being pushed and given the opportunity for experience with the senior squad.


Under 21 players Joseph Mbong, Myles Beerman, Dunstan Vella, Jake Grech, Jurgen Degabriele and Kieran Nwoko were all promoted to the Senior Squad for the Austria training camp in June.


Since than, Mbong was joined by a new kid on the block in the senior side as Gżira’s Juan Corbolan made it in the final 20-man squad for Malta’s UEFA Nations League debut in Faroe Islands this Friday.


The rest are continuing with their development at U21 level and preparing for the Belgium game at home this Friday.


“The Malta Football Association has been investing heavily in this crop of young talent, these are players who played at the highest level in an U17 European Championship Tournament held in Malta four years ago, hence its my duty together with the rest of my technical staff to continue nurture these young kids, give them the right football education, move them through the right paths, and there you go sky is the limit now for these players who have made the break through at international senior level.”


Silvio Vella added, “Albeit all our hardships in this competition, we managed to score our share number of goals, apart from both Sweden matches we found the back of the net against the rest of the other teams in the group, away from home we also scored against Belgium, and two goals in Turkey”.


After the Belgium game this week, two more games on home soil for our Under 21 Team, as we welcome Hungary and Cyprus for October’s double header.


Silvio Vella stressed, “its wrong to believe that because its Hungary and Cyprus home its an easy task, at this level there is no easy games, we prepare each and every game depending on our opponents, but we have to keep our feet on the ground, give our 100% and than we will see”.


First its Belgium at home this Friday, than our Under 21 team will wrap up its Group 6 commitments with Hungary and Cyprus at home in October before a five day trip in Albania in November for a friendly match to start preparations for the next competition.

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