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1939: Fivébr and Vaník comments on Czech football

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-07-13 00:08:58

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Unknown | 16/07/1939

There is perhaps no other country or nation where football is so popular and where it has such favorable conditions in the public eye as here. Those who were the first pioneers of our football are already celebrating their sixties one by one. So our football has an old tradition. — And a very famous one. From the very beginning, the Czechs proved in the competition of nations that they have extraordinary talent. A few years after it was introduced in our country, the fame of Presslers, Vosátky, Baumrucký & Košky was already spreading throughout Europe. They were first-class players even by today's standards. So already 40 years ago. How has European soccer developed so far? And how football developed already two decades ago in our country, when the team of Pilát, Janda and Káďa won in Europe. Even then, such football was played that after the Antwerp Olympiad in 1920, the directors of the English Football Association commented on this team, that as a club team it would be among the top three in the English first league. The lineup: Klapka — Hojer, Steiner — Kolenatý, Káďa, Seifert — Sedláček, Janda, Pilát, Vaník, Mazal.
We say that Czech football has never had a better team in its history. And Peyr, Pospíšil, Perner, Rác, Šubrt were still sitting on the bench! It was the apotheosis at that time, which lasted until about 1921. Later, we were also among the candidates for first place, we defeated the world class, we caused sensations, but it was only a reflection. And in the last ten years, we have already been happy to belong to an extra class... And yet it is precisely in the last two decades that our football shows an unprecedented boom in breadth. After all, the last statistics of the former Czech association announced 110.000 registered players. That it would not be possible to assemble at least one approximately equally strong ensemble from such a huge reservoir, as we had before the war and soon after the war, two to three sets?
After all, the natural aptitude of Czech youth for ball games persists. And there are also plenty of opportunities to play here... That is, here we find ourselves with a problem. That opportunity to play could be enough. However, if this is not the case, the system is to blame. The pre-war famous generation that came of age after the war was somewhat self-made. Those boys also played in clubs, but for the full development of their playing skills, I thank countless Prague "patches" (Kanalky, Sifnerák, and above all the Letenská "league", which was played all afternoon, often all day long at the former Letenská sletíšte). In club matches, they presented themselves as ready-made players. Those patches are long gone. It would therefore be necessary for clubs to fulfill their mission. Either directly on the main pitches or on the training pitches. Instead, we saw clubhouse stewards, more akin to park rangers protecting the turf. As if football fields were only for Sunday matches. That is, for business. And an even bigger mistake is made in the matter of raising teenagers. Sooner or later, only the physically fittest and most talented boy who could stand kicking all afternoon made it to the top goals — in recent decades, due to medical reasons, adolescent education has limited the playing time of young boys so completely that we can't even be surprised if they can't kick, because after all, practice makes perfect.
We are glad that those who made the Czech nation famous through active play and who were the pioneers of our football and co-creators of our ingenious Czech school agree with us in this view of the matter and indeed in many other points of view. We decided to introduce our readers to the opinions of former famous internationals. We will do so gradually.
Today we present to you interviews with former internationals Antonin Fivébr and Jan Vaník. Antonín Fivébr first played together with Pilát in the then strong team of Old Town Olympia and in 1909 he transferred to A.C. Sparta. He played in this team as a centre-half until 1920, when Káďa-Pešek took his place. Antonín Fivébr was a typical representative of the Czech school in all its strengths. After all, just like Jan Vaník, whom today's generation still mostly remembers from the Slavia team, but only older witnesses know that he spent his most famous era in Sparta, where he played on the inside left position next to Pilát from 1911 (before that he played on the right wing) and who transferred to Slavia during the World War in 1916.
Our questions: We asked both Fivébr and Vaník the following questions:
1. What do you see as the shortcomings of today's football? 2. Did you see the matches Sparta-Ferencváros and Slavia-Beogradski? Where, in your opinion, were the weaknesses of Sparta and Slavia? 3. How would you build or strengthen Sparta and Slavia? 4. How would you build our national team regardless of club affiliation? 5. In your opinion, how should the remedy be arranged?
Antonín Fivébr
1. There is little infiltration and lack of style. These are the main faults in our football today.
2. I saw both the last matches of Sparta and Slavia in the Central European Cup. Both our clubs necessarily need fit and physically well-equipped youth. Slavia has technically good players, but they don't have fighters who can assert themselves. Slavia's attackers are also misguided in terms of shooting. They shaved without preparation and often unnecessarily. Although Sparta has a more combative team, they often play without a system and without style. Before, there were also individual players who played mostly on their own, but these were players with extraordinary physical equipment, who did not have to be afraid to take risks.
3. It is necessary to turn the main attention to improving the upbringing of adolescents. The remedy cannot be arranged overnight. However, it is necessary to include young players in the teams of Sparta and Slavia today. This is mainly about attackers and again only about breakthrough, fearless, risk-taking and courageous young guys.
4. Club interests must not be taken into account when forming the national team. It is necessary to prepare young players with the right education and teach them to fight. In other words, not only player preparation, but also mental preparation. It is true that the fighting spirit is difficult to learn, it must be in the blood, but it is still possible to arouse ambition in young men with repeated lessons. And that is actually the basis of fighting spirit. However, it is also necessary to introduce a system into the game, and it must be followed throughout the training and the match. These would be the guidelines for the formation of the national team. I'm sorry that I don't want to directly nominate the lineup, partly because the team is always nominated on a case-by-case basis according to the immediate condition of the players and also various circumstances, and then I'll tell you that as a coach I never want to express myself in advance, until I myself have come to strong opinion. For an immediate need, I recommend putting together a team of young talented players regardless of club affiliation and letting them play a public match against the team that last represented the colors of Bohemia and Moravia. Not only young players will benefit from the knowledge gained in this match. Young people will gain experience and courage, but there will also be knowledge for leading union officials about the abilities and shortcomings of young and old.
5. The main attention, as I have already said, must be turned to adolescent education. The young footballer must be allowed the freedom to develop. At the same time, however, he must still be instructed in a suitable way, his appetite and joy for the game must be stimulated. The fighting spirit of youth, which is a natural consequence of development, must not be completely suppressed, but only directed. Leaders must also constantly apply and cultivate the style of the game. Jan Vaník
1. We play too wide and they didn't cut back enough. The combination is exaggerated at the expense of infiltration and shooting readiness.
2. I don't go to the matches of our big clubs. However, I follow the matches of small clubs, mainly on the periphery. I also respect newspapers and can get an idea of ​​the game based on the reports of journalistic experts. In both of the last matches Central Europe Cup in Letná, according to my opinion, a breakthrough player of the caliber of Janda, aka Štapl, was missing in the attack. A player of that quality would mean an instant boost. I have no doubts about the good quality of technical players, such as Bican, Nejedlý and Ludl without a doubt. But they are not enough by themselves.
3-5. It is necessary to educate and properly educate the adolescent, or junior players. Mainly keeping them interested in the game and supporting a fighting, courageous and fearless spirit in them. I recommend organizing several matches of selected elevens of young and talented players. The matches should be public and should have the character of big international matches so that the young lads gain self-confidence and courage. Many promising football talents play wildly in various tramp elevens and unregistered clubs. I would not overlook these players either, but even there I would recommend that the attention of our leaders in the clubs and headquarters be turned to them. I know we have enough player material, but I notice that there is a lack of experts in management. I observe that even in small clubs there is no need for combativeness and infiltration. These qualities, in addition to ball technique, were the main drivers of our success, and that is why our football educators and teachers must cultivate them by all means in club and representative teams.