Players set to change clubs

Exiles-bound Stellini to come out of retirement, Croatian Afric returns to coach Sirens

Experienced coach Sergio Afric has taken charge of Sirens. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Experienced coach Sergio Afric has taken charge of Sirens. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Land and water training for local waterpolo players will soon be gathering more momentum as a build-up to the Winter League and summer competitions scheduled for next year.

All Premier Division clubs, along with those from the First Division, are known to have been very busy in the transfer market as well as in engaging foreign players for the principal competitions in 2017.

Confirmed changes on the coaching front have seen Sirens engage former mentor Sergio Afric while Sliema have renounced to the services of Dejan Milakovic who has now joined the Sirens youth development sector.

Champions Neptunes have retained the highly-successful Zoran Maslovar while also keeping faith with fellow Montenegrin Igor Martinovic as his coaching understudy.

Players who are set to move to new clubs either on loan or permanently are Sliema’s Mark Meli and Timmy Sullivan, the former to Sirens and the latter to Exiles, Sean Gravina and Ian Bugeja who have rejoined Neptunes from Exiles, and Michele Stellini, ex-Neptunes, who has moved to Exiles after initially announcing his retirement at the beginning of last season.

Benjamin Lanzon and Sean Xerri de Caro are also expected to link up with Exiles.

The promising Neptunes goalkeepers, Matthew Castillo and Jake Tanti, have joined Exiles and San Ġiljan respectively, the former on a loan basis and Tanti permanently.

The Saints, winners of the cup, are understood to have agreed terms for the well-known scorer from Montenegro, Alexander Ivovic, to turn out for them next summer, while Dino Zammit, Andreas Galea and Ben Plumpton, currently in Serbia and playing for Vojvodina, will be rejoining the team after their spell abroad.

The same goes for Steve Camilleri, again the recipient of the platinum prize at this year’s Maltese Olympic Committee Awards. Camilleri, currently playing for Italian club Ortigia, is set to start a four-year contract with Neptunes next year after completing his ninth season abroad.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Sliema will be parading Guglielmo Molina, the San Ġiljan recruit in 2015, as their foreign player next year, with Neptunes retaining Romanian free-scoring centre Cosmin Radu.

Reports are also rife that Birżebbuġa’s plans to make a comeback in Division One are at a very advanced staged.

Neil Cassar has reportedly come out of retirement to join Birżebbuġa who have also lured Simon Vassallo, formerly of Exiles, to their fold.

News of further changes from the rumour mill is not exhausted yet as more players could change clubs, including a number of up-and-coming youngsters.

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