“I am con­fi­dent my play­ers will per­form well” – Pi­etro Ghedin

Malta Independent - - SPORT - De­fend­ers: Mid­field­ers: For­wards:

Na­tional coach Pi­etro Ghedin was con­fi­dent yes­ter­day that his play­ers would rise to the oc­ca­sion for today’s match against Slove­nia.

The match at the na­tional sta­dium at Ta’ Qali, kicks off at 8.45pm.

The Ital­ian men­tor, speak­ing one day ahead of the match, told re­porters that all his 20 play­ers were avail­able. “We have no in­juries, the play­ers are in good phys­i­cal con­di­tion, but it is a fact that 11 of the 20 will start the match. We hope to be com­pet­i­tive and give Slove­nia a good run for their money.

“I know that as ev­ery other match, this will be a tough one. Their squad is full of play­ers play­ing away from their coun­try – half of them in Italy.

“But if we stay united and calm, I am sure we will be able to do well and keep our fans happy.

“To do that we will have to fight all the way. In the dress­ing room, it is ev­i­dent that we have for­got­ten the previous three re­sults and per­for­mances. Now it is time to do well and achieve some­thing pos­i­tive. I am con­fi­dent we will do that also thanks to the mo­ti­va­tion of the play­ers,” said Ghedin.

The Ital­ian coach went on to say that Slove­nia are another up and com­ing side. He added: “Last year, they were ranked 27th. Now they are in the same level more or less. They will make it tough for us, but we will be there to play. Of course, they are bet­ter than us, but us­ing a flex­i­ble for­ma­tion with the play­ers avail­able, we are aware that we can do well against them,” he said.

Ghedin said there will be some changes to the side that played against Lithua­nia last month. “Of course, Jonathan Caru­ana is out of the squad – he is also sus­pended. But there are some Un­der 21 play­ers knock­ing on the door and one, or pos­si­bly two, will play,” said Ghedin.

He was re­fer­ring to Ryan Ca­men­zuli and Sa­muel Ma­gri, both pro­moted from the Un­der 21 squad which did so well in the Euro­pean qual­i­fy­ing group un­der Sil­vio Vella’s charge.

Also back in the side will be Bar­net util­ity player Luke Gam­bin, who missed the last two matches against Eng­land and Lithua­nia through sus­pen­sion.

Ma­gri, 22, who was granted Mal­tese cit­i­zen­ship last year, was quite con­vinc­ing in his per­for­mances at Un­der 21 level while Ryan Ca­men­zuli has been one of Flo­ri­ana’s best play­ers in their re­cent matches af­ter his move on loan from Birkirkara.

Play­ers miss­ing this match are Balzan mid­fielder Paul Fenech, who is due to un­dergo knee surgery this week, while Sliema Wan­der­ers duo Alex Muscat and Mark Scerri have pulled out with in­juries.

Rowen Muscat, Birkirkara mid­fielder, said he was aware that Slove­nia will not be easy op­po­nents. “I per­son­ally had faced some of them when we met in the Un­der 21 tournament. I know their po­ten­tial, but we are all in good shape and we are look­ing for­ward to start get­ting points in this qual­i­fy­ing group. We can only do that if we re­main united,” he said.

The 11 for­eign­ers is­sue

Ghedin also spoke briefly about the news that all Premier teams might be able to in­clude 11 for­eign play­ers in their squads.

Asked what was his opin­ion on the news re­vealed by Val­letta FC pres­i­dent Vic­tor Scir­iha a day ear­lier, he said: “I do not yet know ex­actly what the clubs are af­ter. It is still very early, but it could be good or bad for Mal­tese foot­ball. I think it could be good if the for­eign­ers bought are of a good level be­cause then they will force the lo­cals to be more com­pet­i­tive to earn their berths in their teams, there­fore rais­ing their lev­els. But it could be bad and could go wrong if the for­eign­ers ar­riv­ing here are not of a good level,” he said.

He how­ever said it was the MFA which will have to de­cide on the is­sue. “We need to talk to­gether – coach, MFA and the clubs be­fore any de­ci­sion has to be taken,” he said.

Fi­nal Squad

Goal­keep­ers: Justin (Flo­ri­ana), An­drew (Hibs)

Haber Hogg

An­drei Agius (Hibs), Steve Borg (Val­letta), Ryan Ca­men­zuli (Flo­ri­ana), Ryan Camil­leri (Val­letta), Clay­ton Failla (Hibs), Sam Ma­gri (Dover), Zach Muscat (Arezzo), Joseph Zer­afa (Birkirkara)

Luke Gam­bin (Bar­net), Bjorn Kris­tensen (Hibs), Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara), An­dre’ Schem­bri (Boav­ista), Gareth Sciber­ras (Birkirkara), Ryan Sci­cluna (Birkirkara), Steve Pisani (Flo­ri­ana)

Michael Mif­sud (Val­letta), Jean Paul Far­ru­gia (Sliema), Al­fred Ef­fiong (Balzan). Henry Bonello (Val­letta), Samir Arab (Balzan), Daniel Zer­afa (Tarx­ien), Alex Muscat (Sliema), Daniel Zer­afa (Tarx­ien), Paul Fenech (Balzan) and Mark Scerri (Sliema) were left out from the fi­nal squad.

In­com­ing and out­go­ing MFA Gen­eral Sec­re­taries Dr. An­gelo Chet­cuti (left) and Bjorn Vas­sallo (right) paid a visit to Malta’s train­ing ses­sion ahead of Malta’s clash with Slove­nia Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Malta coach Pi­etro Ghedin seems guess­ing at his tac­ti­cal for­ma­tion sheet against Slove­nia Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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