European water polo comes out of its three-month break, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The first friendly game after the pandemic was held in Dubrovnik ten days ago (Croatia defeated Montenegro).
On Wednesday, the first competitive matches after more than three months of the break will be played.
The Championships of Croatia will start tomorrow, with the quarterfinals of the playoffs. The best eight Croatian teams from the Regional League will battle for the title in the playoffs.
In the quarterfinals (best-of-two), each pair will play two games.
The schedule of the 1st leg: Primorje EB- Jadran Split, Solaris – Mornar BS (Wednesday), Galeb MR – Jug AO (Thursday), POSK – Mladost Zagreb (Friday).
The return leg is set to be held on Friday and Saturday. The winners in the aggregate score will advance to the semifinals.
Water polo returns, but pandemic threats persist.
The Croatian daily “Sportske Novosti” writes that Marko Jelavic, the coach of the youth team of Medvescak Zagreb, has tested positive for COVID-19. Medvescak’s head coach Ivan Rukavina is in self-isolation because of preventive measures. Zoran Curis, the president of the club and the former coach, temporarily replaces Rukavina on the bench.
Tomorrow, Medvescak has to face Zadar 1952 in the playoffs for the 9th place. Zadar will be a host. So far, the Croatian Federation hasn’t canceled this match. The return game is scheduled for Saturday in Zagreb. (EDITED Jun 23, 8:10 PM: The Croatian Water Polo Federation confirmed that the game in Zadar will be played as it was planned)
But, the series of news about coronavirus and water polo is not finished. Two players of Mladost Zagreb are in self-isolation (reserve goalkeeper Jerko Jurlina and Marin Dasic). No, they aren’t infected, but they are in preventive home quarantine because they attended the tennis tournament “Adria Tour”, held in Zadar last weekend, “Sportske Novosti” published. The competition in Zadar wasn’t finished. Before the last match, the organizers announced that the final game was canceled because one of the tennis players – Grigor Dimitrov tested positive for COVID-19. After the tournament, all players went to be tested, and several of them tested positive, including World number one Novak Djokovic, who launched the charity series “Adria Tour”. The first leg was played in Belgrade ten days ago. The second was in Zadar. The next tournament was planned to be played in Banja Luka, but this one was canceled after several COVID-19 cases in Zadar.
Tomorrow’s game Zadar – Medvescak is planned to be played in the pool in Visnjik in Zadar. On Monday, the pool was disinfected, as well as all the facilities within the local sports center, where the tennis tournament was held.
We hope that the Croatian Championship isn’t endangered and that all games will be staged as it is planned.
Before coronavirus entered Croatian water polo, the Serbian national team’s preparations were halted because head coach Dejan Savic and player Nemanja Vico tested positive. According to official information, these two were the first coronavirus cases in water polo.
Hungary and Greece
The water polo competitions in Hungary will be continued on Thrusday. Actually, this is the beginning of the new season. Kanizsa and KSI will face off in two matches (June 25 and 27) to fill a vacancy in the Hungarian A1 League. The winner of the two games in the aggregate result will replace AVUS Szombathely, which withdrew from the A1 League and will play in the A2 League next season.
The Hungarian Federation determined the calendar of the national cup, which will start late in July. Sixteen teams will participate in the competition, which will be finished in the middle of August.
Water polo returns to Greece, too. The championship will be continued on Saturday, by the matches of the 19th round. After that, three more rounds will be played until the end of the regular season. The Greek Federation still hasn’t made the final decision regarding the playoffs. The clubs were asked to respond if they intend to participate in the playoffs or not. The clubs have to answer until Thursday.