National coach Pietro Ghedin has named a group of 22 players to form part of the Malta B squad. With the collaboration of the Malta Football Association Technical Centre, headed by Robert Gatt, Ghedin has created this new squad to work closely with interesting players who have established themselves at club level and could be in contention for selection to the national senior squad for future games.
Ghedin and his technical staff will oversee two training sessions for the B squad players during the international week to evaluate their potential as well as to prepare them for a potential call-up to the senior squad.
The B squad is also intended to fill the void between the U-21 and the senior squad as there are several former Malta U-21 players who don’t make the step-up to the A squad immediately.
The 22-strong list announced by Ghedin features several players who have represented Malta at U-21 level, including two from Gozo, goalkeeper Steve Sultana, of Xewkija Tigers, and Ferdinando Apap, the Għajnsielem defender.
Ghedin has also named a host of players who have featured for Malta at senior level, namely Terence Vella, currently playing for Division One club Senglea Athletic, Birkirkara’s Cain Attard, Valletta midfielder Llywelyn Cremona and Tarxien Rainbows winger Ayrton Azzopardi.
Vella has 11 Malta caps, Cremona three while Attard and Azzopardi have made one appearance at senior level.
Brandon Paiber, who joined Ħamrun Spartans in the January transfer window, has been named in the Malta B squad along with club-mates Luke Grech and Siraj Arab.
The two training sessions for the Malta B squad are scheduled for Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23, at the MFA Training Grounds.
Earlier this week, Ghedin named a provisional 23-strong squad for Malta's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on March 26 at the National Stadium.
MALTA B SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Jurgen Borg (Gżira United); Steve Sultana (Xewkija Tigers).
Defenders: Ferdinando Apap (Għajnsielem); Luke Grech (Ħamrun Spartans); Cain Attard (Birkirkara); Matthew Tabone, Sacha Borg (both Tarxien Rainbows); Timothy Tabone Desira (Hibernians); Michael Johnson (St Andrews); Daniel Zerafa (Tarxien Rainbows).
Midfielders: Llwelyn Cremona (Valletta); Terrence Agius (Balzan); Tristan Caruana (Tarxien Rainbows); Johann Bezzina (Hibernians); Gabriel Aquilina (Sliema Wanderers); Dale Camilleri (St Andrews); Brandon Paiber (Ħamrun Spartans).
Forwards: Lydon Micallef (Balzan); Ayrton Azzopardi (Tarxien Rainbows); Siraj Arab (Ħamrun Spartans); Ryan Micallef (Rabat Ajax); Terence Vella (Senglea Athletic).