Malta Football Association
Malta Under-21 team positive ahead of group opener
Sep 4, 2019
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers

A long wait for competition football is coming to an end for the Malta Under-21 team.

For the past 10 months, the coaching staff have been working to oversee and build a new squad following the previous competition that ended late last year with two positive home results, a 2-1 win over Hungary followed in November by a 1-1 draw against Cyprus.


Since then, head coach Silvio Vella together with his staff have been conducting regular training stages with some friendlies along the way that saw this crop of young players beating Turkmenistan 2-1 and harshly losing 1-0 to Kosovo in a one-week training camp in Antalya, Turkey last March. In June, the Malta U-21 held Bosnia Herzegovina to a goalless draw in a friendly match at the National Stadium.


A difficult qualifying campaign (Group 8) is about to begin for the Malta U21 team as they face Northern Ireland on Friday, before travelling to Ukraine. Qualifiers against Finland and Denmark, also away, are lined up before the end of the year.


Romania is the other team in Malta’s group in this UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying campaign.


Meanwhile, the team arrived in the village of Antrim just a few kilometres away from the capital city Belfast late on Tuesday afternoon.


On Wednesday, the Malta U-21 team was due to hold two training sessions as coach Silvio Vella finalises the preparations for Friday's qualfier.


Mosta forward Zachary Brincat and winger Aidan Jake Friggieri, who this summer joined Gudja United, spoke to about the upcoming qualifiers.


“We have been working hard ahead of the start of this new competition. We know the level of the sides we are facing in this group but we are in good spirits," Brincat said.


"We have played against some strong teams in our build-up friendlies and we feel positive prior to the task ahead."


While relishing this new challenge at club level after joining Gudja United this summer, Friggieri said: “My summer move helped to boost my confidence and I’m positive that I will be able to give even more for the Malta U-21 team in these tough tests.


“Northern Ireland in two days' time and Ukraine also away next week will definitely give us a clearer indication of our strength but we’ve been working hard with our coaches. We are optimistic that we can hold our own against these resilient opponents in this new competition.”


Malta take on Northern Ireland on Friday at 8.30pm (Malta time) at the The Showgrounds – Ballymena, before another long trip to play Ukraine on Tuesday at 5.30pm at the Metallurh – Zaporizhia stadium.




Goalkeepers – Timothy Aquilina (Gudja Utd FC), Andreas Vella (Mosta FC), Duncan Formosa (St.Andrews FC). 


Defenders – Jean Borg (Valletta FC), Kurt Shaw (Sliema Wanderes FC), Kyle Gatt (Mosta FC), Michele Sansone (Sliema Wanderers FC), Nicholas Pulis (Valletta FC), Zachary Karl Grech (Balzan FC), Gary Camilleri (Tarxien Rainbows FC). 


Midfielders – Myles Beerman (Hibernians FC), Marcus Grima (Balzan FC), Jamie Zerafa (Santa Lucia FC), David Xuereb (Senglea Athletic FC), Aidan Jake Friggieri (Gudja Utd FC), Jan Tanti (Senglea Athletic FC), Zack Cassar (Gudja Utd FC), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians FC). 


Forwards – Jan Busuttil (Floriana FC), Zachary Brincat (Mosta FC), Omar Elouni (Santa Lucia FC).

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