Hosts Montenegro will “fight for the brightest medal” at the 2022 LEN European Under-19 Water Polo Championships, insists their coach Milan Ćirović.
The event in Podgorica runs from 18 September to 25 September and will feature 16 nations, including the defending champions from the last edition in 2018, Greece.
Montenegro took silver in that event which their first medal at a European U19 Water Polo Championships as an independent nation since thier maiden title in 2008.
Current national team captain Jovan Vujović says the current generation of players are ready to fight for another podium finish.
“We play in front of our fans and there will hopefully be full stands because their support will be a wind in our backs and a player more,” he said at the pre-competition press conference.
“We have several competitors, but if we are real and at my level I believe we will be able to win a medal.
Coach Ćirović added that the crowd could help get the “maximum out of every player” in each game.
“We hope and dream of a semi-final and then there is nothing to think about, but to give the maximum fight for the brightest medal.”
President of the Water Polo Swimming Association Djuro Marić said Montenegro has a good team that can represent water polo in the European Championship in the best way.
“The capital, as a co-organiser, has honoured of organising the championship,” he said. “Without their support, we could not have organised such a competition.”
Miloš Anticć – Assistant Secretary at the Secretariat for Culture and Sports of the Capital – said the size of the sporting event, which features the 16 best teams in Europe, will make for an exciting competition in Podgorica.
“I hope the stands will be full and the fans will be a real support to the boys,” said Antić.
“I am sure that we will be at a high level organisationally and that guests from Podgorica will create good memories.”
Montenegro will compete in Group D with Hungary, France and Turkey.
The A-Group rivals will be Spain, the Netherlands, Malta and the Czech Republic, in Group B will be played by Croatia, Italy, Georgia and Slovakia, and in Group C Greece, Serbia, Romania and Germany.
The group’s winner will advance to the quarterfinals, while the second-placed and third-placed teams will play eighth in the finals.