Athleta launch 2010/11 season

Friday, October 29, 2010, 12:15

In a press conference this week, Athleta Basketball Club launched its new season with the presentation of three new players.

The club’s rich history was highlighted, particularly the fact that it was the very first club to practice the game in 1962 even before the Malta Basketball Association. Athleta were a founding member of the MBA in 1964 and is looking forward to 2010 when it will be celebrating 50 years of its existence.

Over the last 25 years or so the club has always been at the top fighting for all the honours and competitions organised by the MBA. During this period other clubs have had their ups and downs but Athleta have been consistently present throughout these years challenging and winning honours.

Apart from being the first Basketball Club in Malta the club is also proud of the fact that in the mid-80s it was the first club to participate in a European (Korac Cup) Competition against the French team of Avignon. Unfortunately the level of the local game as well as the costs involved generally proves prohibitive for regular European participation and a call was made to MBA to shoulder some responsibility for the state of the game in Malta which should be more popular and attract better following. Reference was made to the fact that better and clearer player registration rules are needed to avoid manipulation (the new foreign player rules are a clear example) and better support to the clubs to reduce the financial hardship that clubs have to endure.

The presentation of new signings Steve Schembri, Dirk Schembri and Kristin Baldacchino

The presentation of new signings Steve Schembri, Dirk Schembri and Kristin Baldacchino

A special mention went to two of the club’s past players and stalwarts of the team, who for different reasons have had to end their playing career. Julian Naudi, had to abandon playing due to a serious injury and veteran Silvio Cassar has also retired.

Three new players have been added to Athleta’s roster, namely the Schembri brothers Dirk & Steve from Luxol and Kristin Baldacchino who returned to his first love Athleta after only one season with Loyola. These measured additions have more than compensated for the loss of Julian and Silvio.

Athleta also has three Malta international players on its books, namely team captain Michael Naudi, who in the recently instituted Basketball Awards was voted MOST VALUABLE PLAYER, BEST REBOUNDER and TOP SCORER, Addison Bonnici and Omar Said. A mention also went to four promising youngsters: Clayton Calleja, Jonathan Zammit, Mike Giusti and Chris Galea and the ever green 3-pointer specialist Etienne Bezzina, who unfortunately is unable to train regularly due to work commitments.

Athleta also boasts of an organised Nursery and its very healthy set-up which has ongoing programmes for children starting from 5 years old with squads for Mixed Under 8 and also teams for both males and females for the age groups Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 20.

Probably the most negative aspect in Athleta’s long history is that at present they do not have their own club house and therefore depend on third party gym facilities for training for all our categories which drain most of their financial resources. This is something that the hard working committee members are looking to rectify in the coming years.

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