World Championships silver medalist in Golden Bay

Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 3:36

by Sandro Micallef

On the 4th and 5th September 2010, beach volley teams from 4 countries, including Malta, shall be participating in the European Continental Beach Volleyball Cup and all games shall be held in a purposely built court in Golden Bay. This is the first time that a CEV beach volleyball competition is being held on a Maltese beach.

So far, Switzerland, Denmark and Great Britain have confirmed their teams, while till this evening the Maltese teams had not yet been officialised on the CEV website. Each country shall be fielding two male and two female teams, with each team being composed of two players.

Martin Laciga in action

Martin Laciga in action

Of particular importance is the participation of the Swiss male team made up of Martin Laciga and Jefferson Bellaguarda who currently lie in the 29th spot in the Beach Volley World Rankings. Laciga is well known in volleyball circles for his silver medal at the World Championships in Marseille in 1997 and has also placed 5th in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

The tournament being held in Malta is one of 8 such tournaments being organised all over Europe and is the preliminary stage known as the Sub Zonal Phase. In 2011 those teams who qualify from these tournaments will face off in the Zonal phase to eventually qualify for the CEV Continental Cup Finals being held between the 18-24 June 2012. The top teams in this Cup will eventually qualify for the 2010 London Olympic Games.

The preparation by the Maltese national volleyball teams started early in summer with the players meeting up on the local beaches to play some friendly matches at their own leisure with attendance not always being regular. For the duration of one week they were followed by a foreign professional beach volleyball coach.

This week the national teams shall be traveling overseas for a training camp prior to the important competition.

It is a pity, in my opinion, that such a high level event is not being given enough coverage and promotion, especially by the Malta Volleyball Association itself through its website where the latest news item dates back to mid-May!

Local beach volley championships take off – only 7 teams taking part!

The Malta Beach Volleyball Championships started off on the 16th August, but unfortunately the response has not been very positive, with only 3 ladies’ teams and 4 teams in the male category. There are no official tournaments being organised for juniors listed on the Association’s website. According to the official fixtures, four games out of twelve that were meant to be played in the first week of these national championships have been postponed.

Screenshot taken from the official fixtures

Screenshot taken from the official fixtures

In an official statement on the upcoming international beach volley tournament that was published on a number of local news websites, MVA president Branko Vlahovic was very upbeat and in fact was quoted as saying that this tournament “is the first step in our plans to make Malta an International Beach Volleyball hub”. Vlahovic went on to say that the Association’s plans for “annual international tournaments commencing in 2011 have been seen very positively by CEV and all of us in the Malta Volleyball Association are determined to take full advantage of that”.

Vlahovic, who is entering his fourth year at the helm of the association, did not make any mention of the situation of local beach volleyball, as described above.

I believe that it would make more sense for the government to work hand in hand with the MVA to set up fixed volleyball courts on all local beaches and start a dedicated beach volleyball junior school. Unless youths are given the facilities to play this sport and are also taught how to play it, no amount of international tournaments will boost the popularity of this fascinating Olympic discipline which is played at a time when all other local sports (except for water polo) are practically at a standstill.

I also noticed that there is no official sponsor for these National Championships, so perhaps these games can also provide an excellent opportunity for the MVA to tap into the marketing budgets of a number of companies. These companies end up splashing their money on colourful adverts in the media when a percentage of that could go directly into the Association’s coffers to sponsor events such as beach volleyball, especially since other sports cannot avail themselves of this money as they have nothing to offer to them in these hot summer months.


  1. george cross says:

    @Antoine Ellul

    with a president who wears too many caps this association can never improve. Have you ever heard of a president who coaches all male and female national teams (junior and senior) besides having a full time job and having to manage an association?

    The reality is that people have tried to work with the association in the past 3 years but for some odd reason(s) they stepped down.

    Volleyball is dying a slow and silent death on our islands … the juniors situation (with not a single junior team in last year’s male league) is a reflection of this.


    x volleyball player Reply:

    Ye… You are right George.. But you know what, although he having a full time job etc and coaches the national teams (in which the attendance at least in males was usually around 3 or 5 max), you might want to take a look at last years accounts and explain to me why he should step down from the presidential position? He gets money in everything that he does with enormous figures when it comes to travelling and leisure ( whatever you make out of the leisure item!!). We started the year with a couple thousand euros, earned more than a couple from the government, KMS etc, and ended the year with about 750 euros!! Come on… Good job on killing volleyball yes!!!


    ex Reply:

    Couple of thousand euros in an amatuer association bank account is something not to be overlooked for sure…what did the MVA do, win the Super 5???!!!! If what you are saying is correct to the statement above, clubs have a right for audited accounts, including receipts for what is being claimed it is being spent on…. unless with saying, money is being spent on one thing and is being reported as being spent on other aspects.. What I know for sure is that leisure should not feature in any of the audited reports…judging by the comments passed, what did the MVA do, take personal vacations? As for comments passed re the leadership, history repeats itself, so maybe he should be thrown out again like before…what i fail to understand is how the same clubs who threw him out 8 years ago, who knew how he was like, fell to his sweet talking and believed his words??? Seems that the clubs need to wake up…. ding dong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Apollo Reply:

    Well said EX

    Audited accounts are what serious associations issue every year…incidentally this year no audited accounts were presented in the AGM !!! The clubs to date don’t know where all the money the association recieved and spent have gone !!

    No accountability = Speculation , and one cannot blame the clubs if they are not getting any official communication from the association

  2. Paul Bartolo says:

    Seems that what happned 8 years ago has not taught any lessons to those whio should know better. people do not change and talking will not get anyone anywhere. it is high time that those who have volleyball at heart unite in one movement to take volleyball to the respected level it deserves.

    Is it that impossible to set up a reliable and mature group of people(without any personal agendas) to work together to revive this movement. I am sure this group is out there somewhere waiting for the right leadership to come forward to spur all those who have been involved in this sport for the past decades, to recreate the right environment and enlarge the volleyball family to what it was.


  3. Mark Fenech says:

    This situation reminds me very much of what is happening in local basketball where the association gives the impression that the sport is alive and kicking when in fact there are serious problems, especially with youths.

    In basketball, just like you article states above, the association prides itself of doing a lot on an international level but does not give decent attention to the local game. As long as we participate in these competitions and we can go abroad and say that we have national teams, that is what matters!!

    What a pathetic sports culture we’ve got in this country


  4. antoine ellul says:

    why the hell all this fuss about volleyball when we have learnt in the past that the president is a 1. a coach, 2. a player, 3. an organiser, 4. friend of players.


    Volleyball Reply:

    Antoine I do not think you know what is happen.

    The association it is run by a couple of people … the sport is in a unfortunate state with very few young players. There is no league for junior men!
    I play volleyball 4 fun and i hope my children start playing it too, but things need to be done properly and in professional ways. For example there need to be more promotion in schools.


    x vb player Reply:

    I think that who wrote this reply is in the association because its not because there are’nt people who wants to take part but there is the president that wants to do everything and think his good in everyhing and that maltese are zero and dont understand nothing in volleyball.

    And just suspend players without taking care that volleyball could end up in a season.

    BY D WAY just to let everyone know that the current president had benn already thrown away by the mva members around 8 years ago. i think that the reason he was sent off is the same reason that is happening right now.


    ex Reply:

    Well at least, he did not play in the International BeachVolley as well, that would have been the cherry on the cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)


  5. Dumpy says:

    kms and moc pls intervene and help this desperate association


    ex Reply:

    It is KMS who should intervene with regards to the youth sector, MOC are responsible for elite sports and are not the least interested in the youth sector, which is why they bring “MALTESERS” from abroad at the very last minute, so long as the medal haul is greater than ever before..


  6. Chris M says:

    Another amateur association … And then we expect to get positive results abroad. KMS wake up


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