Jan 09 2011

FORTUNA VÍKEND ŠAMPIONŮ 2011

Yesterday a special event took place in the O2 Arena in Prague, one that I feel deserves all the publicity it can get.  With the Czech and Slovak Republics in the middle of a painfully long winter break (league football doesn’t start until the end of February), this indoor football tournament is perfectly timed and seems to be gaining popularity amongst players and fans alike.

Winter entertainment, oh yes!

The tournament takes place over one day with six teams split into two groups of three.  Three Prague-based teams, Sparta, Slavia and Bohemians were joined this year by Slovan Liberec and two big guns from Slovakia, MSK Zilina and Slovan Bratislava.

I’m not a futsal expert (yet) but basically it looks like 5-a-side with rolling subs and no throw-ins and it seems mighty popular in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland and presumably other countries in the region.  There are several aspects that stand out to me as making this tournament so special, and I’ll get to the off-the-field stuff shortly!  What really impresses me on the field is that plenty of the big name players get involved.  How fantastic to watch Zilina take on Slovan in 5-a-side match with Momodou Ceesay (who may have taken the opportunity to have a chat with representatives from Sparta?!), Robert Jez and new boy Róbert Pich (signed recently from Banska Bystrica) for example, up against Karim Guédé, Filip Šebo and Martin Dobrotka?

Around 9,500 fans took this great opportunity to see lots of exciting players in action and there was significant support for all three Prague teams as well as a large number of travelling fans from Bratislava.  Belasa Slachta were out in force and provided especially vociferous support for Slovan throughout the day.

Slovan fans

Unfortunately beer wasn’t allowed into the seating areas but this was probably a good thing with Slovan fans in especially close proximity to their Slavia rivals.  From the pictures though the atmosphere seemed very good natured and what a totally unique situation with at least four sets of rival fans in the same Arena (Zilina & Liberec apparently didn’t bring any support?!)  Obviously in the indoor arena with the roof closed, the noise is amplified and what a refreshing change this is from the open athletics-track stadiums so prominent throughout Slovakia!

5-a-side Prague derby? Superb.

Slovan came into the tournament as holders after defeating Slavia 5-1 in last year’s final and were exceptional in their two group games beating Zilina 5-2 and Bohemians 5-1.  Togoloese Slovakia-wannabe Karim Guédé proved himself a master of this version of the game with 5 goals and I must make special mention of one touch of genius I saw from Robert Pich of Zilina. He managed to bring a high ball back over his head with his chest, turned and volleyed into the net, more quality like that and he won’t be in the Corgon Liga for long!

So both Slovans topped their groups.  Bratislava finished clear top of Skupina A,  Liberec narrowly took top spot in Skupina B despite losing to Sparta thanks to goals-scored (they beat Slavia 8-5 !)  This meant Slovan faced Sparta in the semi-final and a highly entertaining game finished 4-4.  Slovan unfortunately lost 2-1 on penalties so just missed out on the final.  Zilina were hammered 6-2 by Liberec so the two Slovak teams met again in the 3rd place play-off.  Slovan proved the first match wasn’t a fluke and have full futsal bragging rights in Slovakia after running out 4-3 winners to finish the day in 3rd place.

Unfortunately Slovan couldn’t hold onto their title, but they were the only undefeated team on the day and showed a good team spirit and rapport with the fans.  Hopefully this is a sign of how they will start back in the Corgon Liga post-winter break.

Credit to Liberec, they eased past Sparta 6-3 in the final and were obviously delighted to lift this coveted trophy, pity they didn’t have any fans there to celebrate!

Liberec-Sampion!

Credit also to the organisers, the players (who scored 83 goals between them), fans and sponsors for contributing to a quality event.  Here’s hoping for more like this in the future and I’m already plotting the Britski Belasi tour to VÍKEND ŠAMPIONŮ 2012.

Full summary and statistics as well as more photos can be found here.

4 responses so far




4 Responses to “FORTUNA VÍKEND ŠAMPIONŮ 2011”

  1.   Sigmaon 09 Jan 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Good review of the day, and much appreciated. Just a quick note, what they played yesterday isn’t really futsal, as proper futsal is played on a hard surface, and with no boards. What they played yesterday was more like an American indoor soccer version.

  2.   James Baxteron 09 Jan 2011 at 6:00 pm

    You can see the arguments in favour of playing more of it – whatever it was. There was plenty of skill on show for sure. Guede was fantastic in the first two games for Slovan. Hope to join the Britski Belasi tour next year. Zilina obviously need the support, though apparently 200 did turn up to see the first Tipsport game vs Trencin, which was also played yesterday.

  3.   britskibelasion 09 Jan 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Sigma, I stand corrected, thanks! Any chance of the tournament expanding perhaps? Maybe over a whole weekend with four groups of four? Is definitely a great way of showcasing the competitive rivalry between the Czech & Slovak teams.

  4.   Iain Thomsonon 16 Jan 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Up until last year the tournament was spread over two days, but then they decided to reduce it. I’ve never attended it myself; it’s always seemed a rather pointless kickabout to me, and I don’t much like the venue either. If I go to any winter football in this country (I live in Prague), it’s generally the Tipsport Liga.

    One of my Bohemians 1905-supporting friends did attend, though, although his impressions of it weren’t as good. Here’s his report (only in Polish, sorry):
    http://www.myfootballway.com/2011/01/11/w-cyrku/

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