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ASA launch national championship for upcoming season

ASA president Karl Izzo was presented with a commemorative plaque by LEN Vice-president Josip Varvodic. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Change in format from 2025

The Aquatic Sports Association unveiled this summer’s waterpolo season on Tuesday, one which sees the return of import players within local teams as part of the BOV National Championship.

The new campaign begins on Wednesday with the women’s Super Cup (start 17.00) – a tie between Sirens and San Giljan, the Ghaqda Gurnalisti Sport First Division Cup (18.05) which will feature Valletta and Marsakala, and finally the President’s Cup (19.10) which pits against each other Sliema and San Giljan.

Friday then kickstarts the first matchday of the National League as the 12 teams will be divided into two groups in a summer championship which will span just three months. Izzo unveiled that the plan is for it to change format.

“We have already three meetings about the leagues in Malta. There is a common understanding that the league must be longer – we cannot start in June and finish in August,” he said.

“We are moving towards a longer league starting in February and ending mid-August, not next year but the year after.

“Each team will be with one foreigner who will be with the club the entire season not just for the summer season. That will change the format of the league and we can be more relaxed in a way that we can play only on weekends and the national team can participate in all competitions. I think it is much needed and a step forward.”

National teams

Apart from the club competitions, the ASA’s focus will be shifted towards the various divisions of the national team.

“We will also have a very busy summer with our national teams,” Izzo explained, “our women’s team will be travelling to Burgas (Bulgaria) on June 21 for its qualifying tournament. We’ll be playing against Slovakia and Bulgaria, and we have a chance of possibly making history and qualifying for the first time with the senior team. They are training very well and I’m very happy with the technical staff.

“Our men’s team is participating in important qualifiers – both qualifiers will lead to European championships in Israel on January 3 – Malta will play Germany, Ukraine, and Bulgaria.

“Let’s hope our national team will make it for the fifth time but it will be harder this time as qualified teams will not be the top two, but the winners and best three out of the second place.

“Under-15 will be heading to Montenegro under the guidance of Jonathan Valletta. Under-17 women will be travelling to Manisa (Turkey) in the beginning of August to face a tough group. The Under-17 men will also be travelling to Manisa the week after and we have high hopes for all of them.”

LEN (European aquatics) vice-president Josip Varvodic and delegate Milos Mracevic joined Izzo on the panel. The pair echoed each other in observing Malta’s passion for the sport.

“I’m really honoured to see such passion in aquatics and waterpolo here,” Varvodic told the press conference, “It’s not that common in other countries in Europe so it’s always a pleasure to see and I’m definitely going to enjoy tomorrow’s game.

“It is not my first time here in Malta, especially for waterpolo and I see the passion you have for waterpolo and what you are doing within your game,” Macevic added.

“I come from Montenegro which is another small country but we share the same passion for the sport. As small countries, we have to push other countries to join us at the next GSSE games. I’m happy that Maltese national teams are nowadays participating in all waterpolo events from juniors to seniors.”

Winners of Best Player Awards for seasons 2021 and 2022. Photo: Jonathan Borg

GSSE success

Speaking at the association’s first press conference since the Games of the Small States of Europe, Izzo said that such success has surprised many people.

“We are very happy – GSSE 2023 was a big success for swimming and the ASA. We managed to win four gold medals for the first time in 20 years,” Izzo said.

“I think we’ve managed to surprise many critics when we managed to win 17 medals in total. I’d like to thank the swimming section of ASA, coaches and swimmers. Let’s hope this will help us get more funding from the government in the future as it is very clear that when funding comes, the results come too.

“Hopefully waterpolo will be introduced in GSSE too, I’m sure it will be a plus for us and we will hope for a good medal.”

At the end of yesterday’s presser, the ASA gave out awards for the best player in the various divisions throughout seasons 2021 and 2022:


2021 Sam Engerer (Sliema)

2022 Max Lanzon (Neptunes)


2021 Jaden Cutajar (Sliema)

2022 Jaden Cutajar (Sliema)


2021 Sam Ghialanze (Neptunes)

2022 Alec Fenech (Neptunes)


2021 Matthias Azzopardi (Sirens)

2022 Jake Ciantar (Marsaskala)


2021 Martha Perici Ferrante (sirens)

2022 Kaya Agius (Sirens)


2021 Ben Plumpton (San Giljan)

2022 Jake Tanti (San Giljan)

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