Straka people’s choice for Czech football manager as question of hiring first foreign boss raised again

František Straka, photo: CTK

The Czech national football team remains without a manager, following the sacking of Petr Rada three weeks ago after only nine months at the helm. A number of names, both Czech and foreign, have been bandied about in the media as a possible replacement. Meanwhile, the results of a big public vote on who should manage the Czech team have just been revealed.

František Straka,  photo: CTK
František Straka is apparently the people’s choice to replace Petr Rada as manager of the Czech international soccer squad. In a poll conducted by the newspaper Sport and TV Nova released this week, the fiery former Sparta Prague boss got twice as many votes as Slavia’s Karel Jarolím, who figured second.

Meanwhile, the much respected Ivan Hašek was far and away the most popular choice among over 15,000 voters to become chairman of the little respected Czech football association.

Vladimír Táborský is, like Ivan Hašek, a former Czechoslovak international who later went into management. He says the 45-year-old would be better employed on the Czech Republic’s bench than heading the country’s FA.

“I would be glad to see Ivan Hašek as manager, not as chairman of the Czech football association. Managing would be much closer to him than becoming an official. He has no experience of being a functionary, but he does have experience as a trainer with Sparta and abroad. He’s got the respect of players.

“As for František Straka, I can imagine him with the Czech national team, but as an assistant.”

Ivan Hašek
It is not clear when a new manager will be chosen. The Czech FA’s executive doesn’t meet again until the end of June, with some changes expected on its board. In any case, there is no great hurry: the Czechs’ next competitive game is not until September, when they take on Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier.

Meanwhile, the question of whether the Czech FA is ready to hire a foreign coach for the first time is being raised once again. Among the non-Czechs being mentioned are former Chelsea boss Avram Grant and the controversial ex-England and Barcelona manager Terry Venables.

“I don’t know if Venables is training anywhere at the moment, I think he’s taking a long break. Grant certainly has the experience, both in England and in Israel. That said, I don’t think they are the only two names.

“But first we have to find out if there’s actually the will to have a foreign coach, as many countries now do. It wouldn’t be a problem for a foreigner to manage our team, but the will would have to be there. If not, we’ll have to find somebody in the Czech Republic.”

Another question is whether the Czech FA would actually countenance the likely salary demands of an experienced foreigner.

Whatever happens, it would be no surprise if more potential names to fill the manager’s position appeared between now and whenever Petr Rada’s successor is picked.