NEWTOWN'S Europa League opponents Valletta will leave Malta for Wales on Tuesday afternoon beset by complications surrounding UK visa applications for four foreign players, reports the Times of Malta.
The participation of Tunisian Abdelkarim Nafti, Nigerian forward Calictus Umeh, Maxim Focsa, a Moldovan defender, and Thierry Tazemeta, from Equatorial Guinea is in doubt.
These four players, together with club president Victor Sciriha, are expected to travel to Rome tomorrow to try and secure a UK visa to enter Wales through the British Embassy in the Italian capital while the remainder of the squad, spearheaded by coach Paul Zammit, are flying out to Birmingham from where they will board a coach on their way to Wales.
Given that Nafti, Umeh, Focsa and Tazemeta have been named in Valletta’s 18-strong squad for Thursday’s match, their absence would deal a hammer blow to the Maltese club’s hopes of pulling off a positive result to boost their chances of advancing to a second round clash with Denmark’s FC Copenhagen.
Valletta are already missing four key players for their Welsh mission as Jonathan Caruana and Roderick Briffa are suspended, Shaun Bajada is on honeymoon and Steve Borg is currently in Cyprus for a medical ahead of a proposed move to Aris Limassol.
But, in spite of all these difficulties, Zammit and his technical team have been striving to prepare for Thursday’s encounter in the best way possible.
Zammit, back at the helm of Valletta after parting ways with Birkirkara, commissioned an English scout, who is a qualified coach, to analyse Newtown AFC in their friendly match against Bala Town FC on Saturday.