October 2, 2020 – The Croatian Water Polo Championships return this weekend for the 20th season!
Dalmacija Danas reports that the smell of chlorine will once again fill the air this weekend as Croatian water polo clubs embark on a new journey to become champion. In the 19 championships so far, the most successful club with 16 titles is Jug Dubrovnik, which has also dominated Croatian pools in recent years.
Mladost was at its peak in the nineties and boasts 10 national championships. Primorje has won the championship twice in recent history, while only one Split club has managed to do so, and that is the Zenta club in 1998. A year later, the water polo club Posk became the European champion under the name Slobodna Dalmacija.
Last season, Mladost took the title of Adriatic League champions, and Jug once again became the champions of Croatia. Jug and Mladost should stay at the top this season as well.
The first part of the championship will be played in one round, and the second part in two groups before the teams meet in a”playoff” round.
This year, Jadran celebrated its 100th anniversary. Modestly, however, with only thirty people at dinner at Zvoncac. Last year, they played in the Champions League, which was interrupted and never resumed, as if it never happened. Jadran usually always sits behind Jug and Mladost in Croatia.
At the end of last season, they had many departures and instead brought in several players from the younger categories, as the youth generation of the club is improving. Two, maybe three juniors will compete for the first team. After Ivan Asic, the first team is led by Mile Smodlaka (44) and sports director Dejan Savicevic. They are hoping for the Champions League this year as well, but first, they will have to do well at the qualifying tournament in Sicily, in Syracuse, in November. Their first-round match will be played in Split, on Saturday against Zadar at 7:30 pm.
Mornar celebrated 70 years last year and has their own story, though it was much better when Brodospas sponsored the club. But that was a long time ago. The first team coach is still Danijel Buric, who managed to keep only the center Buzdovacic for this season, who is a veteran in the team at the age of 29. Marin Vrdoljak, who is 21, has returned from Jadran, while the remaining team members are very young. The first round will also be played on Saturday at Poljud, the start of the match is at 6 pm, against Galeb.
Posk has a rejuvenated team. The coach remains Mirsad Zajmovic, who, along with Skolnekovic’s son, will try to keep the club alive. The first round will be played in Rijeka against Primorje this Saturday at 8 pm.
The Croatian league has 11 clubs this season, and after 35 years, KPK returns to the elite Croatian competition. KPK is a Korcula club with a long tradition and rich water polo history. They have a new pool, old fame, and a lot of enthusiasm.
The regional league will be played sometime next year, according to the tournament system. Unfortunately, fans are not yet allowed to watch from the stands.