Jun 11 2012

Slovak Close-Season Update Number 1!

Published by at 1:26 pm under Domestic and tagged:

I’m under no illusions that anyone’s actually going to read this. We’re in June, Euro 2012 is in full-swing and the last Corgoň Liga season has barely finished. In fact, we are still in 2011/2012 in the III Liga and below.

But the close-season, at less than two thirds the length of the winter break, is short in Slovakia. Most top-flight clubs are back in training this week and some are already beginning the process of strengthening their squads ahead of July’s opening fixtures.

Most prominent among them, hardly surprisingly, is Slovan Bratislava. Disappointed with last season’s third-placed finish, Vladimír Weiss, who probably has his friendship with owner Ivan Kmotrík to thank for still being in a job, has been promising that seven or eight new players would be arriving over the summer.

Two are already signed up. The first is Filip Hlohovský, an attacking left-sided midfielder, who has arrived from Trenčín. With his accurate crossing, he provided several of his former club’s goals last season and should be a good addition, especially if Weiss also fields a striker with aerial prowess. Then there is Czech defensive midfielder Michal Švec, a product of Slavia Prague’s academy, signed from Dutch side Heerenveen. He made close to 100 Dutch top-flight appearances between 2008 and this year, and has represented the Czech Republic at Under 19, Under 21 and senior level.

Slovan are also thought to be close to capturing two centre-backs. One is Banská Bystrica youngster Norbert Gyömbér, the other is Argentine Nicolas Gorosito, who spent last season with Senica. On the other hand, Martin Dobrotka, who has spent his entire career to date with Slovan, could be on his way out. He has had talks with Slavia Prague about a move to the Czech capital and has promised to make a decision about his future this week. The fact that over 300 Slovan fans have signed a petition asking him to stay might just play a part in his thinking. There is little doubt that his injury, which kept him out of the side’s entire spring programme, was a factor in Slovan’s failure to retain their title last season.

Things are relatively quiet at Trnava and Žilina, though the latter’s former captain, Róbert Jež, seems to feel his time is up at Polonia Warsaw. Polonia’s owner has expressed his disappointment at the club’s failure to qualify for European competition and wants to see some of the older players depart. Jež, now aged 30, would appear to be in that category. He has played down talk of a return to Žilina, however, and may attract the interest of one of his former coaches, Pavel Hapal, at Zaglebie Lubin.

Onto administrative matters, and it has been confirmed that II Liga champions Spartak Myjava will definitely take their place in the Corgoň Liga next season. Their plans for ground redevelopment fulfil the grading criteria, and should make for a pleasant away trip. Interestingly, however, Myjava will not be employing a fully professional squad. The fact that several first-team players will be keeping their day jobs is perhaps a sign of the times in Slovak club football, even at the top level. Meanwhile, it was actually MFK Košice who became the final club to be granted their Corgoň Liga licence, following a process described by SFZ representatives as ‘not painless’. Košice have been in disputes with their local authority over the hiring of the ground, Štadión Lokomotivý v Čermeli, are poorly supported and have various financial difficulties. Still, with the licence granted, and Ján Kozák in charge of the team, they will now hope to improve on last season’s 11th placed finish.

Finally, some good news for Inter Bratislava, who have earned promotion to the Regional Championships (fourth tier). For a club which once won the Czechoslovak league and has two Corgoň Liga titles to its name, this might not seem a huge success. But it is a tribute to the way certain people have worked to keep the club alive as an independent entity following its effective ‘takeover’ by Senica four years ago. Not the least of these is Jozef Barmoš, who spent almost his entire playing career with the club and is now in his second spell as coach. Good luck to him and his team next season.

James Baxter

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Slovak Close-Season Update Number 1!”

  1.   britskibelasion 11 Jun 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I’m still reading James! Far away as I am, it’s good to be kept updated. Only a couple of weeks until the European draws too, that will bring some excitment soon enough. Will you be tempted by a European away day this season perhaps? Malta in the prelims – could be tempting…

    So Inter on the up, Petrzalka heading in the other direction. Let’s hope they don’t bypass each other next season, and then perhaps we could have another local derby to enjoy ..

  2.   Jameson 13 Jun 2012 at 5:50 am

    ‘Will you be tempted by a European away day this season perhaps?’

    Always tempted, just need the money! I’ll be away for the first tie, unfortunately. Good ST prices from Za this season, deals involving group stage games being dangled before our noses. No good if they don’t get to the group stages, of course!

    Transfer news changes every day. Slovan confident Gymober will sign, he says he’s staying in Bystrica. Trnava’s Prochazka may be off to Levski Sofia.

    Jozef Barmos was TV pundit for Poland-Russia last night, proudly wearing his Inter Bratislava tie. Comes across to me as one of football’s nicest men.

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