The Malta Independent 21 November 2018, Wednesday

Waterpolo: More interest in summer league as clubs are seeded according to last year’s placings

Henry Brincat Monday, 7 May 2018, 19:13 Last update: about 8 months ago
BOV Water Polo Champions San Giljan TUM Invest's name comes up during the draws for the BOV Knock Out competition. Photos © Domenic Aquilina
BOV Water Polo Champions San Giljan TUM Invest's name comes up during the draws for the BOV Knock Out competition. Photos © Domenic Aquilina

This year’s Bank of Valletta Premier League and the first division are expected to generate more interest as clubs have been seeded according to their final placings in last year’s competitions.

Addressing a news conference yesterday at midday, Joe Caruana Curran, ASA president, said the idea was to avoid what happened last year when three top matches were played in the opening days of the campaign, thus making the competition less attractive.

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He added: “This year it has been decided to leave the more important games for near the end of the campaign in the hope that these will be more competitive and generate much more interest than last year. With this system, San Giljan (Premier) and Marsaxlokk (First) will start their campaign with teams who were placed in the lower echelons of last year’s competitions.”

Caruana Curran went on to thank the clubs for their patience and cooperation.

He also announced that the first two teams at the top of the standings in the Premier League will have direct access to the semifinal stage while the other have to play a qualifier (3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th). In the semifinals, the winner of 4v5 will face the 1st placed, while the 2nd placed will come up against the winner of 3v6.

The ASA president said the same rules will apply for the first division competition. However, in this regards, only the first placed club will have direct access to the semifinal stage.

 

 

Sponsorship for national team

Bank of Valletta Chief Officer Anthony Scicluna congratulated the ASA for its great work in favour of the sport’s progress over the last few years.

He added that he felt all Maltese are honoured with the national team’s qualification for the European Championship finals to be held in Barcelona, Spain.

It was here that he announced and presented to Caruana Curran a special bonus (sponsorship cheque) from the Bank of Valletta specifically for the national team’s participation at the Barcelona finals.

He added: “Bank of Valletta sees itself as a strategic partner of the ASA, rather than as a sponsor. We have witnessed the successes obtained by the national teams in recent years and are proud to make part of this success together with the ASA, the clubs and the players.”

 

Under 19 team for Slovenia

The Under 19 national team will be travelling to Kranj, Slovenia, tomorrow where they will be taking part in the Men’s European Championships (qualification tournament).

They are drawn in Group D together with Romania, Switzerland and Slovenia.

They will meet Romania on Friday, Slovenia on Saturday and Switzerland on Sunday.

National coach Edgar Izzo and Caruana Curran both spoke on the difficulties being encountered by some of the players as they will have to undergo some exams, before, during and after the tournament.

The ASA President said some of the players will have to undergo their examination while they are in Slovenia. “We must thank Mr Pirotta of MATSEC for his full cooperation in making all the arrangements for our players to undergo their exam at the University in Llubjana. Even on their return next Sunday, they will have to prepare themselves for more exams on Monday, that is, the following morning,” he said.

He added: “Maybe the month of May is not the right time for such participation for us, but we have been told that there are other nations who are also facing the same problem. There is a chance that things might change in the near future as LEN is expected to consider moving the date of such finals.”

Izzo spoke about the chances of the Maltese to qualify. “We simply hope these juniors will emulate the seniors after their qualification with that aggregate win over Belarus. We did not have a lot of time to train together, but most, if not all, the players did well while taking part in the local Enemed Cup and Winter League competitions and I am sure they are well prepared.

The national coach, who will again be assisted by Anthony Farrugia, has a squad of 13 players hailing from five different clubs. “We have played three friendly matches against the visiting Great Britain side and these were quite useful. My boys are well prepared to give their very best for if  we manage to qualify, it will give us more strength to see local waterpolo making more progress,” he said.

 

The Under 19 squad consists of the following players:

San Giljan ASC: Thomas Micallef, Tristan Said, Darren Zammit (captain).

Exiles SC: Jake Bajada, Gianni Ciappara.

Neptunes WPC: Kenan Erdogan,Nikolai Zammit, Mikhael Cutajar, Matthias Azzopardi.

Sliema ASC: Liam Galea, James Gambin.

Sirens ASC: Jacob Sciberras, Jerome Zerafa Gregory.

 

KO draws

The draws for the three KO competitions are made during yesterday’s news conference.

In the Premier KO, the so-called top clubs were drawn to play in the quarterfinals, while the small clubs Exiles and Valletta are already in the semifinals.

This is the draw:

Premier KO

Quarterfinals

Tuesday 3 July: Sliema Frank Salt Real Estate-Neptunes Leo Vegas; San Giljan TUM Invest-Sirens Greentube.

Semifinals

Friday 6 July: Winner S. Giljan/Sirens-Valletta Videoslots

Saturday 7 July: Winner Sliema/Neptunes-Exiles.

First Division KO

Quarterfinal

Tuesday 3 July: Ta’ Xbiex Amigos-Birzebbuga Freeport

Semifinals

Friday 6 July: Winner Ta’ Xbiex/Birzebbuga-Marsaxlokk.

Saturday 7 July: Otters Nivea-Marsaskala-Transkripta.

Women’s KO

Quarterfinal

Monday 2 July: Sliema Frank Salt Real Estate-Exiles Jetfreight.

Semifinals

Friday 6 July: Winner Sliema/Exiles-Birzebbuga Freeport; Neptunes Leo Vegas-San Giljan TUM Invest.

The three finals are scheduled to be played on Tuesday 11 September.

 

 

Development Fund

Near the end of the conference, Caruana Currana gave details of the ASA Development Fund. He said: “The development fund was triggered by Bank of Valletta, who increased the sponsorship funds with an understanding that these funds will be used to promote the development of the game.”

He added: “Together with funding received from the government, the ASA has set up three funds, the first aimed at giving our youths the opportunity to experience playing beyond our shores. This fund is aimed primarily at any talented athletes in the age bracket of 15 and 20 and the maximum amount for each player will not exceed €2,000.

“The second fund is the Coach Development Fund, where teams can benefit by bringing experienced coaches to Malta to train their youths, or send coaches for training camps to aid in their development.

“The last fund aims to help clubs buy the necessary equipment, to allow them to host games at their pools, currently being undertaken without this support from the ASA.”

The Youth Development Fund amounts to €25,000, the Coach Development Fund €7,500 and the Technical Equipment Fund €7,500.

 


 

 

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