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ASA president Karl Izzo predicts tight battle in Men’s Summer League

Champions San Ġiljan open title defence against Barracudas

The 2024 Men’s Summer League gets underway at the Tal-Qroqq National Pool this evening when defending champions San Ġiljan open their campaign against Barracudas.

This year’s summer’s championship is coming just a few days after the Aquatic Association of Malta hosted for the first time the Champions League Final Four tournament at the National Pool, which saw Hungarian giants Ferencvaros dethrone Pro Recco, of Italy, in an exciting final.

San Ġiljan will again be the team to beat in this year’s championship as Zeljko Kovacic’s team will be looking to keep their grasp on all domestic competitions.

The Saints have already given a glimpse of their ambition to secure a clean sweep of honours this year after winning the Enemed Cup, the Winter League, and the SportMalta Cup.

However, all teams will be bolstered by the addition of a world-class foreign player which could swing the balance in this year’s championship.

Karl Izzo, the ASA president, said that he expects this summer’s championship to be another nail-biting battle between the three Maltese powerhouses – San Ġiljan, Neptunes, and Sliema.

“The summer championship is starting just a few days after the successful organisation of the Champions League Final Four tournament at the National Pool,” ASA president Karl Izzo told the Times of Malta.

“We are expecting a hard-fought summer championship, where all the participating teams have managed to lure to their fold some world-class foreign players. I anticipate another close fight between the three top clubs – San Ġiljan, Sliema, and Neptunes.

“There could also be some dark horses in this year’s championship with Sirens and Valletta possibly posing a major threat to the top teams.”

Sliema ASC have completed the biggest transfer of the summer when they managed to sign national team player Andreas Galea from rivals San Ġiljan.

On the other hand, the Saints will also have to do without Darren Zammit who will be unavailable for selection for much of the opening part of championship.

San Ġiljan will again have the prolific Aaron Younger in the ranks. The Australian star boasts four Champions League titles in his career.

Neptunes have managed to sign two overseas players, namely Russian defender Dimitri Kholod, who last season was on the books of Sliema ASC, as well as Montenegrin Sasa Misic, who led his country to the gold medal in the World League in 2018.

The Balluta Bay outfit will only be allowed to field one foreigner in every matchday.

Greek powerhouse Dimitrious Dimou, who last week was part of the Olympiacos side in the Champions League Final Four, will spearhead Sliema’s challenge.

Russia’s prolific goalscorer Ivan Nagaev will again be playing for Valletta while Sirens will have fellow compatriot Daniil Merkulov in their ranks, fresh from his Champions League success with Ferencvaros. 

This year’s championship is set to be played with the same format for one last time as next season the main waterpolo competition on our island will have a new layout.

The 12 participating teams will be split into two groups, with the top three forming the Premier Division while the bottom three will be in action in the First Division.

Both divisions will be played on a round-robin format of two rounds and then the play-offs will decide who will be crowned as the 2024 Malta champions.

“This championship will be the last to be played with this format as the clubs have already given their green light on the new format for the 2025 season,” Izzo said.

“After the first two matchdays that will be played this week, the championship will stop to make way for another major international competition as the World U-16 Waterpolo Championships will be played in Malta.

“There will be 32 teams taking part and matches are set to be staged in two venues, the National Pool and the Cottonera Sports Complex.”



Otters vs Neptunes     18.00

San Ġiljan vs Barracudas          19.15

Marsaskala vs Birżebbuġa        20.30


Valletta vs Ta’ Xbiex    18.00

Exiles vs Marsaxlokk   19.15

Sliema vs Sirens           20.30

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