Malta vs Liechtenstein Friendly Tops The Bill Prior To Further Preparatory MatchesPublished: 24-02-2012 15:30
Malta will lock horns in a friendly against Liechtenstein on Wednesday 29th February at 7.30 pm at Ta’ Qali National Stadium in what is the first outing of our national team before further preparatory matches leading to the two 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B European Zone matches in September at home to Armenia and away to Italy. Our national team will be under the temporary charge of technical director Robert Gatt who has assumed technical responsibilities until the appointment of a new coach to guide our boys in their competitive and friendly commitments ahead. Gatt’s immediate objective is to prepare a squad of players which should form the backbone of our side in the matches to come. He has to pick players from those available at home and others doing duty with overseas teams. He has already said that he is keeping his options open as to the choice of his units. The friendly matches will present him with an opportunity to assess the players available and try out several game plans. The match against Liechtenstein will be the first of such build-up matches which will also serve to lay emphasis on morale-building. Our records in friendly and competitive encounters against most of the countries we came up against are generally none too bright. However, the readings relating to our matches against Liechtenstein, albeit covering only two matches, present a positive picture, not so much for the fact that we have preserved an unbeaten record against this landlocked central European municipality as for the massive 7-1 victory we registered in March 2008, a match which had our iconic goal-scorer Michael Mifsud hitting a nap hand of goals. The first encounter in June 1981 in the President’s Cup in South Korea ended in a 1-1 draw. Apart from upholding their national pride, our visitors will definitely set their sights on erasing the memory of that seven-goal drubbing four years ago. Their latest overall form against quoted opponents suggests that they should be treated with respect. On our part, a match of this sort against mundane opponents presents us with the possibility of a none too prestigious win or an outright disappointment in case of defeat or even a drawn outcome. Beyond the result, which after all, remains in the archives, we also seek to play a sound game which should be an encouraging omen for our matches ahead. It should be noted that this friendly international will be the first our national team is playing after the MFA signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with FXDD as Platinum Sponsors of the national teams. Our national team players will, in fact, wear their training kits and leisure wear during their activities leading up to the match as well as that which the U-21 team is playing against Hungarian at The Hibernians Stadium, Corradino on the same day at 3.00 pm.