Sports News

By Ian Willoughby

The Czech football association is still discussing the issue of who will take over from Josef Chovanec as national coach. There had been four people under consideration but on Tuesday Bohemians manager Vlasitmil Petrzela withdrew his application. Of the three left in the running the clear favourite is Josef Jarabinsky, manager of Banik Ostrava. Jarabinsky is described as a no-nonsense, hard-working manager who may not be media friendly but does command the respect of his players. He could be just what the Czech players need to whip them into shape.

The best of those players, captain Pavel Nedved, is not having a good time at his club side Juventus Turin. Nedved has yet to score a single goal after over three months at Juventus and says he is going through the worst period of his career. Last weekend Nedved, known in Italy as the Czech Shrew, played his first game against his old club Lazio. He may be regretting promising before the game not to celebrate too ostentatiously if he scored a goal in front of his old fans at Lazio - in the end Juve lost 1:0 to Nedved's old teammates, among them fellow Czech international Karel Poborsky.

In the domestic game, this coming weekend's fixtures are the last before the mid-season winter break. The biggest game of the weekend is probably the match between Viktoria Zizkov and Ostrava - it'll be 19-year-old Milan Baros's last game for Ostrava before he leaves for Liverpool.

Moving on to ice hockey, the Extraliga games which were postponed in September after the attacks on the US were played on Tuesday night. Sparta Prague still lead the table and are one point ahead of Zlin, who have a game in hand.

A sport we rarely cover now - basketball. The Czech Republic's men's team have failed to get to the 2003 European Championships, having lost 87:74 to the unfancied England on Wednesday. The Czech women's team are still in with a chance of qualification, having beaten Italy 94:54 - why can't other sports be so high-scoring?