The Czech Republic scored a notable success thanks to the efforts of the Fokus club in winning an international tournament for footballers with learning difficulties staged in Germany.
Fokus were crowned champions of the 12-team event in Munich – namely, the 13th Regenbogen Cup – after emerging from their initial group to win four knockout matches, including a dramatic final against Austrian opponents Pro Sport Linz.
The Czech outfit had thrashed the same Linz side 8-0 in their group in addition to beating Real Bad Tölz 3-0, although not everything went their way. Hosts Regenbogen held them to a goalless draw, Manchester shared four goals with the eventual victors, and Bunter Haufen Haar – historically a tournament heavyweight – defeated them 2-1.
Fokus then claimed the scalp of titleholders Red Cross Kickers, representing Plattling in Germany, to reach the quarter-finals, registering a memorable 4-0 triumph. The last-eight encounter proved a closer contest as it took a penalty shoot-out for Fokus to edge past Manchester.
Familiar opponents were in waiting in the semi-finals also, in the shape of Bunter Haufen Haar, whom Fokus overpowered 3-0 in a physically dominant display.
The final on 12 May was the rematch against Pro Sport Linz, who made amends for their earlier group-stage dismantling by trading a solitary goal apiece with their Czech rivals during normal time. Another shoot-out therefore followed for Fokus, who once more kept their nerve to spark emphatic celebrations.
The winning club also expressed gratitude to the Football Association of the Czech Republic (ČMFS) for its support and for helping to provide such opportunities for players with learning difficulties.
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