MaltaCoach: Diogo Castro
Malta are one of three teams alongside Great Britain and Bulgaria entering their fourth IHF Men's Emerging Nations Championship. However, the eighth place at the inaugural competition at Kosovo 2015 remains their best achievement.
Now the European team hope to do better and have been drawn into Group A with Andorra and India. They have a chance to be competitive. While Malta have never faced India at this level, they comfortably defeated Andorra 36:25 in the 13th place match of the 2017 tournament.
Since October 2022, Malta have been coached by Brazilian Diogo Castro, who is also the technical director of the national teams. In the past, he held the positions of technical assistant, team analyst and goalkeeper coach with various Brazil men's national teams. He worked closely with famous Spanish coach Jordi Ribera as a video and performance analyst with Spain men's national team during several major international tournaments in recent years.
Malta are looking to the future as they have a long-term strategic plan which focuses on developing their players both individually and collectively as a team. They see the IHF Emerging Nations Championship in Varna as another step in that direction.
The team rely on young talents from the Maltese league who should become the backbone of the national team in the years to come. Some players are missing due to injuries, like Andy and Ryan Mercieca, but those who are in the team are determined to do well in Bulgaria.
Key players: Clinton Mifsud (goalkeeper), Liam Harrison (right back), Alan Portelli (right wing)
History in tournament: 2015: 8th, 2017: 13th, 2019: 12th
Group at Bulgaria 2023: Group A (Malta, Andorra, India)