San Giljan ASC is one of the main waterpolo clubs on the Island of Malta. The game of waterpolo is considered as the main sport in summer since the main league is held during this season and we can considered to be lucky since the top players of the game usually come to mitigate in our league. Last summer for example Alexander Ivovic played for our club, while Guillermo Molina and Christian Presciuti played for other clubs.
The academies here in Malta train all year round, but during the summer season the training and age group competitions are held at the local pitches with most of the games played in the sea. This creates a particular atmosphere a keeps on adding to the flair of the game.
Irrespective of the limitations of the club, San Giljan ASC invests heavily in the academy and in the development of the young athletes. And this year one of the prime objectives was for our players to participate in the HaBaWaBa International Festival with the team of the U11s. For our club this was not an easy task, since it required months of organisation, and also the availability of the players themselves to make the trip. Just to mention some of the hurdles, in the squad itself we had three players who were age 10 and one who was still nine. Also most of the players had just finished their school exams a couple of days before.
But the minute we stepped in the turistic complex at Lignano Sabbiadoro, we were certain that the club had done the right choice. The organisation of the festival was impeccable and the atmosphere which our children managed to experience was just amazing. The level of the game was high considered to that played in Malta at that age group, but not with standing this our players managed to have an excellent tournament finishing third in the Silver category which meant that the team had to play 13 games in 6 days, which was in the end our objective of exposing the children to the maximum number of games possible against teams from across the globe. In Malta, the waterpolo players are thought from a young age to play zone, and therefore the constraint during the festival of playing the game only on press managed to challenge our athletes in playing a game with higher rhythm and therefore pushing them to their limits.
What also left a good impression on us were the technical meetings, coaches clinics and also the life saving workshop for the kids. We believe that these additional activities met their expectations on the staff and the athletes. The possibility of meeting some of the great personalities of waterpolo such as Ratko Rudic and Italian goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti was also one of the items which we were looking forward at and eventually managed to achieve during the festival.
The objective of the Club’s committee is that we will remain participating in this tournament on a yearly basis. Obviously it depends on a number of aspects, like players availability, timing of tournament and financial backing. A clear objective which was set from day one is that we will return with the same group in two years time for the HaBaWaBa Plus U13.
It would be great to see one day our local aquatic association organizing such a tournament in Malta. We strongly believe that even though the island is tiny compared to other countries nevertheless we can offer a lot to the game.
See you next year!
Peter Bonavia, St. Giljan ASC