Sergio Afric back with Sirens
Sirens ASC recently announced the acquisition of none other than former Malta National Water Polo Team coach Sergio Afric for the coming two years. Afric is quite a popular face in the local water polo scene having been at the helm of the Malta National Team from 2008 to 2012. Over his four-year term, Malta managed to progress from the qualification stages of the European B Championsip (2008) to a decider match against Germany in 2011 for the qualification stages of the European A Championship. As a result of this Malta moved up the European Water Polo rankings to compete in the European B Championship. In 2009 he also set up the first ever Malta National Water Polo squad for Under 14s. At club coaching level, the 56year-old Croatian born bearing an Italian citizenship can be seen as a colossus in his field. He has managed a host of Italian water polo sides – Volturno, Caserta, Telimar Palermo and Nuoto Catania amongst these. Afric’s first experience in Malta was in 1995 when he went on to achieve the coveted double with an undefeated San Giljan side. He then went on to coach Neptunes from 1996 to 1998. In 1999 he joined his actual club Sirens ASC. That same year, the Croatian coach soon guided the St. Paul’s Bay club to a Knock Out competition triumph. A year later Sirens ASC won both the Knock Out Competition and their first Premier Division League title after 33 years. Back with Neptunes in 2005 till 2008 managing to win four consecutive Premier Division League titles and two Knock Out trophies. In 2009 Afric was snapped up by Sliema, whom he helped to win the Premier Division League title in 2009 and twice the Knock Out Competition. As a player Sergio Afric starred form Primorie Rijeka in the former Yugoslavia First division from 1976 to 1986 playing 85 times for The Malta Independent Sports Team met up with Afric during one of his recent training sessions at the National Pool in Tal-Qroqq. We asked him the reasons behind his decision to return back to Malta and this is what he had to say “The reason of my return to Sirens is very simple. I believe that this is a club where many young players can flourish and get better in a brief period of time and compete for the Premier League title in Malta. I love challenges and my first objective is that of winning the Premier League title with this club” “My main objective though is that of supervising within all the youth sectors of the club apart from that of the senior side. Objective? That of creating a solid base for the eventual his country Yugoslavia. selection of young promising upcoming players to be drafted into the senior side, and making Sirens one of the top water polo sides on the island” Sirens ASC President Dr. Carmel Vella also spoke about his club’s investment in professional coaching for a number of years both at nursery level and within the senior side. “I can confirm that this professional approach shall be a continuation in the coming years with the hope of getting the club back in contention in the Championship Pool and eventually winning the honours. Afric has had a long spell in Malta and this is precisely why my club has decided to get him on board linked with our objectives. Afric is well aware of the local approach and mentality to water polo in Malta. Unfortunately, training sessions are limited both in time and availability hindering the progress of the local game and clubs not making full use of their coaching capacity” stated Dr. Vella
Milakovic also with Sirens
Dr. Vella also confirmed the appointment of of Dejan Milakovic as the Club’s Water Polo Nursery Head Coach also for the next two years. Milakovic will be responsible for the club’s junior team within the ambit of a strategic plan that is expected to guarantee a technically solid, sustainable and succesful future for the club. The 34-year-old Belgrade born coach will be taking over the training programs after the necessary consultations with the Club’s Head Coach Sergio Afric himself.
Sergio Afric returned to Malta for his second stint with Sirens Photo: AP