In the coming days, waterpolo will again take centre-stage, with the national teams being engaged in challenging commitments which, hopefully, could further enhance our international standings.

This was the focal point of ASA president Joe Caruana Curran’s thoughts during a media conference at Tal-Qroqq, yesterday.

Today the junior team will have its first commitment in the Qualification Round Group ‘A’ of the 2016 Under-19 European Championship to be played at the National Pool Complex, Tal-Qroqq.

The tournament will end on Sunday morning.

The ‘A’ Group, one of four, comprises five teams including Malta, with Germany, Ukraine, Slovenia and Bulgaria completing the contestants.

The next engagement will be that of the men’s national team who will participate in the ten-team EU Nations Cup.

Besides hosts Malta, the other teams in competition will be holders South Africa, Wales, Switzerland, Scotland, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark and Ireland.

The tournament will be played over four days between May 12 and 15.

Both youth and national team coaches, Anthony Farrugia and Karl Izzo, pinned their hopes on positive results which would extend their team’s very satisfactory displays in recent tournaments.

The Under-19 team, whose captain Nicholas Bugelli was present for the event, will have a testing commitment especially against the strong German team, and their bid to qualify as one of the two top teams will depend on their results against the other participating teams.

South Africa will be the team to beat in the seniors tournament, with Malta hoping to have the influential Steve Camilleri as captain of the squad, given he is free from commitments with CC Ortigia in the Italian Serie A1.

Missing will be the influence of previous skipper, Niki Lanzon, who has retired from national team duties, Alan Borg Cole who has withdrawn for personal reasons, and John Brownrigg.

In his earlier intervention, Caruana Curran referred to his association’s resolve to widen the spectrum of the national teams’ participation in European Championships and other tournaments which should also include the women’s team to make it four out of as many local national teams.

He finally referred to ASA referees re-iterating that their standard is very satisfactory as is shown by ratings when controlling overseas matches, while also stating that players should have a more professional attitude and respect towards the referees decisions.

In the wake of his emergence as a player of remarkable talent and upon being asked about his future, Bugelli was modest enough to say that his aim is to keep improving for the sake of the teams he plays for.

U-19 programme

Playing today: 6pm Ukraine vs Bulgaria; 7.15pm Malta vs Germany.
Tomorrow: 9am Bulgaria vs Germany; 10.15am Ukraine vs Slovenia; 6pm Slovenia vs Bulgaria; 7.15pm Malta vs Ukraine.
Saturday: 6pm Germany vs Ukraine; 7.15pm Slovenia vs Malta.
Sunday: 9am Germany vs Slovenia; 10.15am Bulgaria vs Malta.