Afric – We shall be aggressive as from the start.. we can make it happen

Monday, June 27, 2011, 14:22

by Sandro Micallef

From left Alan Bonello, Joe Caruana Curran, Sergio Afric, Karl Izzo

The Malta National Waterpolo team tomorrow (Tuesday 6.30pm) will be engaged in another international qualifier against Turkey and Sergio Afric is confident that we can win if every player in the water is convinced that we can make it happen.

“We lost to Turkey 15-3 earlier this year but I can assure you that the final score does not reflect exactly the outcome of that game. Tomorrow it will be a total different experience and I have encouraged all our players to give their utmost throughout the game” These were the first words of Afric while addressing the media who were summoned in by the ASA for a Press briefing ahead of tomorrow’s qualifier.

Afric commented that Turkey have a better ranking position than Malta in the LEN stats but notwithstanding this he feels that the current atmosphere and determination that is reigning within his 13 men squad can lead to a positive result and can make up for the performance in the first leg against the Turks. “All the players, including the technical staff, will give their utmost during this game, we will fight for every ball and will be playing a tough game. We need to show our opponents that we are physically strong by pushing forward as from the first session” said Afric who has been managing the National team for almost three years.

When asked about his tactics for the game the ex-Sirens, Neptunes and currently Sliema coach said that the team is prepared to play in various systems depending on the outcome of the first part of the game but his first option will be a full strong press when we are to defend. “I bank on the home crowd and we really hope that we can win this game so we qualify automatically to the next round” concluded the Croat.

When asked about the return of Stevie Camilleri, Afric replied “Karl and I are very delighted to have Stevie back in the squad, he is an extra asset to our team, we will not base our game plan on Stevie, you cannot do that in waterpolo but I can guarantee that yes he will make a huge difference in these two games”

Joe Caruana Curran who earlier addressed the Media Conference said that the ASA is making a special appeal to the general public to come and support the Malta National Waterpolo team and a special ticket price of EUR2.00 will be in place for the game against Turkey. Caruana Curran was also himself hopeful that we can break the jinx against Turkey and qualify eventually for the second round of this qualifying competition scheduled for the 15th and 29th October 2011.

Should Malta register at least a draw from the forthcoming two internationals (Turkey and Poland) to be played on Tuesday and Friday respectively Malta would then play against one of the following top European teams in the second round: Spain, France, Greece, Germany or Romania.

Caruana Curran said that the prospects of progressing in this European 2012 qualification look very bright as even should we lose home to Turkey we would still stand a chance to qualify if we draw or win against Poland. Theoretically as per the new LEN rules format, Malta would also qualify for the second round should we even lose to Poland with a margin of less than four goals due to the fact that we had won our home game against Poland 7-3.

A warm up event is scheduled at the National Pool 30 minutes before swim up with Ron Briffa. The South End core who will be organizing the support for tomorrow’s game is encouraging all fans to get Malta flags to the National Pool.

The referees for the match will be from Greece and Spain respectively.

Sergio Afric and his Assistant Karl Izzo will conduct the last session prior this game today (Monday) at 6pm. The Turks who arrived this afternoon in Malta will be lodging at the Gillieru Hotel in St.Paul’s Bay. They will also train at 6pm at the National Pool.

Malta’s 13 men selection:

Alan Borg Cole, Niki Lanzon, Jerome Gabaretta, Paul Privitera, Timmy Sullivan, John Soler, Stevie Camilleri, Jordan Camilleri, Clint Debono, Karl Galea, Andrea Bianchi, Michele Stellini, Ryan Coleiro.

Watch clips from today’s Press Conference:

1 Comment

  1. Slimease says:

    Courage Malta. We are all sure you could do it. All us supporters will be after you.


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