Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Coach Tonna pleased with Malta U-16 girls’ response
Mar 2, 2020
Posted in:
General
Women's U17 Friendlies
PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA
PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA

  • PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA
  • PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

The Malta U-16 girls’ team recently participated in the annual UEFA Youth Girls Development Tournament, played at the Centenary Stadium. Under the guidance of coach Dionne Tonna, the Maltese girls claimed two victories in three games but more importantly played competitive international matches as part of their footballing development.


After their opening defeat to Scotland, who eventually topped the group, Tonna's girls shook off their nerves in the following games as they obtained identical 2-0 wins over Gibraltar and Azerbaijan.

 

Against Gibraltar, Malta drew first blood through a Martina Fenech header before Yulya Carella fired a spectacular shot from a tight angle to seal the two-goal win. In their final game, against the Azeris, Malta put on their best performance of the tournament. Skipper Alexandra Gatt converted from the penalty spot before Gaia Antonelli completed the win with a low-drive shot from the edge of the area.

 

“I expected the final game against Azerbaijan to be a difficult one," Tonna told mfa.com.mt. “Azerbaijan are a much-improved football nation with a host of talented players but my girls managed to produce a solid showing.

 

“I’m pleased with their performance because they showed improvement and put into practice the things they learned in their previous outings.”

 

Azerbaijan will be one of Malta’s opponents in the upcoming UEFA Women’s U-17 European qualifiers, to be held on our shores between September 1 and September 10, 2020. The other teams in the group are Germany and Belgium.

 

The UEFA Youth Development Tournament was also aimed at aiding Malta’s preparations for the Under-17 qualifiers.

 

“We faced three teams with different characteristics in this group. Scotland were a reality check for us as their performance underlined their improvement in women’s football," Tonna explained.

 

“However, our girls started to improve gradually, albeit against Gibraltar I felt that we could have produced a much better display.

 

“Finally, against Azerbaijan, one of the teams we will meet in the upcoming qualifiers, the girls implemented the game we were working on and that reflected in the final result.”

 

COACHING EXPERIENCE

 

For Tonna, this was her first coaching experience with this age group.

 

“As a coach, I believe that this tournament has helped me to learn more about myself but also about my team,” the former Hibernians captain said.

 

“We have a long summer ahead of us where we have to prepare and focus on our upcoming appointments in order to build on what we have done so far.”

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