Despite losing most of their best players, JMKFS Brno still hope to win the UEFA Regions' Cup.
By Ladislav Josef
Situated in picturesque countryside, surrounded on three sides by wooded hills with vineyards to the south, Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic with 370,000 inhabitants. It is the focal point of the province of Moravia, with 1. FC Brno the region's sole representative in the Czech top flight. The region has always produced good players such as AC Sparta Praha's international goalkeeper Jaromír Blazek. The squad at the UEFA Regions' Cup will play under the name JMKFS Brno, but the players themselves herald from all over the seven districts that surround the city.
THE MAN IN COMMAND
Ladislav Bedrich is the third coach to take charge of JMKFS Brno since the start of the qualifying campaign. Radek Rabusic, who led the side through the preliminary stages, left for Greek second division side Volos FC, while Petr Cuhel, who succeeded him in October, left to become the joint coach of top division side FK Mladá Boleslav. The 56-year-old Bedrich was Cuhel's assistant when Brno won their qualifying mini-tournament on home soil. He is firmly linked to the region since he coached KP Brno in the junior top flight in the 1980s. He also took charge of third division sides FC Dolní Kounice and FC Zeman Brno.
uefa.com: What are you hoping to achieve at the Regions' Cup finals?
Ladislav Bedrich: The Czech Republic side [Central Moravia] won the gold medal in the 2001 tournament, so we must have the same aim. But I know that it will be very tough to repeat that success as our squad have changed markedly since the preliminary tournaments. The best players have been picked up by players from the higher divisions and are no longer eligible to play in the Regions' Cup along with the ones who left to play for Austrian sides. In addition I think that our group at the finals is more difficult than the other one. Nevertheless we will try to do our best to win it.
uefa.com: Was there an equivalent tournament to the Regions' Cup when you were a player?
Bedrich: No, there was no such competition for amateurs when I was playing. Maybe I would have fulfilled the criteria to play in it if there had been as I played in the fourth division as an amateur.
uefa.com: What do you feel are the strengths of your team?
Bedrich: I think that creativity and improvisation are our strong points. It's a little bit of a pieced together side as one third of our squad has changed since the qualifiers and we have only had two short training camps. I am afraid that stamina is not our strength.
uefa.com: What kind of professions do you and your players have?
Bedrich: I am a physical education teacher at high school and my players have all kinds of professions, as you can imagine. There are students, drivers and labourers among them.
uefa.com: What would winning the trophy mean to you?
Bedrich: It would be a great success of course. And maybe the beginning of a professional career for some of the players.