Neptunes starlet Jake Muscat is set to continue his playing career in Montenegro as the 17-year-old has been offered a one-year contract by PVK Jadran.
For Muscat, this will be his second spell with the Montenegro giants after he also spent the majority of the 2019-20 campaign with the club based in Herceg Novi. But his stint had to stop abruptly in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PVK Jadran have established themselves into the biggest club in Montenegrin waterpolo, thanks to the hard work of the legendary Vladimir Gojkovic, remembered here in Malta for his playing spell with Neptunes in 2010, who led the club to several major honours in recent years.
In fact PVK Jadran boast 14 national titles in Montenegro and have also reached the final of the LEN Euro Cup in season 2018-19 when they were beaten by French side Marseille in the final.
Speaking to The Sunday Times of Malta, Muscat said that when he was offered the opportunity to return to PVK Jadran for a second spell he couldn’t say no as he knew that it is a great chance for him to play with some of the best players in world waterpolo.
“For me this is a huge opportunity,” the Malta international said.
“To be given the chance to train and play with some of the world’s best players and coaches is something I only dreamed of when I was young. When officials from PVK Jadran contacted me to go back to Montenegro I accepted straight away.”
Muscat said that his former coach at Neptunes, Nenad Navarin, club president Matthew Bonello and Malta coach Karl Izzo were instrumental for his move to Montenegro.
“My connection with Jadran started two years ago when my then coach at Neptunes, Nenad Navarin, and club president Matthew Bonello spoke with Gojkovic on a possible trial for me. Gojkovic immediately wanted me to go there.
“After I spent a week there, Gojkovic told me that he wanted me to stay there for a year with them and last season I trained with them until March when I had to come back due to COVID-19.
“But now, I’m looking forward to go back and start playing with them as I believe it is very important for my development to show what I can do in the water.
“Jadran have several top-quality players, who play for Montenegro and surely this experience will help me grow both as a player and as a person.”
At PVK Jadran, Muscat will not only play in the Montenegrin league but also, he is set to be involved with the team in this season’s Champions League competition.
“I hope to be given the chance to play in the Champions League as not only it is the biggest competition in European waterpolo but it is also a good window for me to showcase my talents,” Muscat said.
On his part, Izzo, the Malta waterpolo national team coach, said that he believes this is a huge opportunity for Muscat to continue to develop his immense talent and PVK Jadran is the perfect platform for him to maximise his potential.
“This is a great opportunity for Jake,” Izzo said.
“This summer everyone could notice the huge improvement Jake has shown in his game after his year training with PVK Jadran. His footwork has improved immensely, and his technique surely has evolved during his time in Montenegro.
“When you play at a professional club like PVK Jadran you train between seven to eight hours everyday while here in Malta clubs train just one hour daily.
“The training in Montenegro is focused on various aspects
and that helps the players to develop more under top class coaches.
“I think, for Jake to play in Montenegro was the best move as he will be followed closely by Vladimir Gojkovic, who although is not longer the club’s coach, he is still involved in some other ways at the club and he will take care of Jake.”
Izzo said that he hopes that Jake Muscat makes the most of his experience in Montenegro and said that he has no doubt he can follow on the footsteps of Steve Camilleri, and have a great career away from our shores.
“Jake Muscat is without doubt the most promising player we have in Malta and I think that for him Montenegro is the best place to develop his talents,” Izzo said.
“I have no doubt that Jake can enjoy a great waterpolo career just like his team-mate at Neptunes Steve Camilleri has had.
“Steve also left when he was very young to go to Serbia and play for Partizan Belgrade and from there he moved to Italy.
“I’m sure that if Jake remains focused on his game and continues to work hard he has the potential of having a long and successful career in European waterpolo.”