South Moravia coach Stanislav Schwarz reckons the UEFA Regions' Cup will be "the highlight of these players' careers" as he looks ahead to the amateur finals.
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Stanislav Schwarz told UEFA.com that representing the Czech Republic at the UEFA Regions' Cup will be the highlight of his players' careers, with South Moravia eager to impress in Ireland this June and July.
South Moravia battled through intermediary round Group 3 in Serbia, beating home side Vojvodina to earn their place in the finals, where they will hope to emulate another Czech team, Moravia, who won the competition as hosts in 2001 – ousting Braga on penalties after a draw in Zlin. "It was teamwork and team spirit that took us to the finals," Schwarz explained to UEFA.com. "We all enjoyed representing our country and region. I am sure we will build on those performances in Ireland."
The magnitude of the occasion will not be lost on his players. Some of his squad were schoolboy trainees at professional clubs but – as with all the competitors at the finals – never got to play professional football. Even so, Schwarz reckons his charges showed in Serbia that they are a class act. "We stuck together when it mattered and played with proper Czech tactics," he said. "I am not exaggerating – we produced some quite spectacular attacks that you would expect to see at a much higher level."
Goalkeeper David Juran conceded only once in qualification, captain Radim Fiala played all three games, and forward Ondřej Ullmann was South Moravia's top scorer with two goals. Yet Schwarz insists his side are not about individual talents. "We are not a team of one or two stars," the 53-year-old emphasised. "Our opponents cannot just man-mark one or two players and get the better of us. Our teamwork is our greatest weapon."
Nurturing that collective spirit is the target for former 1. FC Brno boss Schwarz, a full-time coach with the local federation in Moravia, who played for FC Zbrojovka Brno and RH Cheb as well as making eight appearances for Czechoslovakia's Under-21s. His players are scheduled to meet for training sessions in Brno so they can get reacquainted on the pitch. "We need to practise our tactics and get used to playing with each other again, but I believe those connections will be remade very quickly," the coach stressed.
"We have no aim for the finals," he added. "The standard of the qualifying tournament in Serbia was very high, and we can expect the same and better in the finals. We will be ready to take the step up and show what we can do. Representing our country at the finals may be the highlight of these players' careers. They will not think twice about taking a ten-day holiday from work to come to the tournament."