Malta Football Association
Australian-born James Baldacchino in Malta U-21 trial
May 29, 2017
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers
James Baldacchino. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
James Baldacchino. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

The Malta Under-21 team have no competitive commitments until they travel to Cyprus for their second UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifier on September 1 but the players are training regularly at the MFA Training Grounds to improve their team organisation, tactical knowledge and physical condition.

Silvio Vella, the Malta Under-21 coach, has called a group of 23 players for the end-of-season training camp.


Most of the players were in Vella’s squad for the opening UEFA Under-21 Championship Group Six qualifying match against Belgium on March 27.


The Malta U-21s suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against the strong Belgians with Ħamrun Spartans midfielder Jake Grech scoring a fine goal in the second half.


Vella has grabbed the opportunity to run the rule over some new players, including James Baldacchino, who plays for Australian club Wollongong Wolves.


Four years ago, Baldacchino was selected as part of the 20-man Socceroos squad for the COTIF U-19 Tournament in Spain.


“It all came about as a little bit of a surprise but I intend to take full advantage,” Baldacchino said of the invitation to join the Malta U-21 squad in comments he gave to


“It’s very exciting. This is very special to me and also very important to my family. 


“I know being offered a chance to represent the country of my family’s background is a proud moment for all of us.” 


Apart from Baldacchino, who plays in defence, Vella is also evaluating the qualities of Balzan FC’s Sean Cipriott, Neil Tabone, who is on the books of Żejtun Corinthians, Pietà Hotspurs’ Dylan Agius and Mosta midfielder Dexter Xuereb.


Jurgen Degabriele had also been named in the U-21 party but the Hibernians forward has been training with the senior squad ahead of the friendly game against Ukraine in Austria on June 6 and the 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Slovenia four days later.


Also missing from the Malta U-21 squad is Myles Beerman after the Glasgow Rangers left-back was called up to the senior squad. The 18-year-old is expected to report for training later this week.




: Jake Galea (St Andrews); Matthew Grech (Floriana); Philip Schranz (Tarxien Rainbows).


Defenders: Jean Borg (Valletta); Karl Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans); Nikolai Muscat (San Ġwann); Michele Sansone (Sliema Wanderers); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians); Kurt Zammit (Tarxien Rainbows); Sean Cipriott (Balzan); James Baldacchino (Wollongong Wolves).


Midfielders: Dylan Agius (Pietà Hotspurs); James Brincat (Birkirkara); Jurgen Suda (Pietà Hotspurs); Juan Corbalan (Gżira United); Jake Grech (Ħamrun Spartans); Matthew Guillaumier (Birkirkara); Zachary Scerri (Gżira United); Neil Tabone (Żejtun Corinthians); Dexter Xuereb (Mosta).


Forwards: Aidan Friggieri (St Andrews); Joseph Mbong (NK Inter-Zapresic); Kyrian Nwoko (St Andrews).

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