Fury appoint Czech Coach
12:00 AM Sat 19th Jun, 2010 - Admin
The North Queensland Fury have struck the first major blow in the rejuvenation of the A-League club, appointing former Czech captain and coach Franz Straka as Head Coach in what is a massive coup for both the club and Australian football.

Fury’s Interim CEO Archie Fraser described the announcement as the club’s most significant to date.

“Franz Straka is an outstanding international coach and we are delighted to announce his appointment,” said Fraser. “We were amazed with the quality of the candidates for the position in terms of their qualifications and international experience but Franz was always our first choice. His technical knowledge and passion for the game was what set him apart from the field.”

Affectionately known in Europe as the “Czech Beckenbauer”, Straka enjoyed an illustrious playing career that included 35 international caps for Czechoslovakia and captaining the Sparta Prague side of the 1980’s to multiple domestic titles.

His coaching career has seen him at the helm of clubs in his native Czech Republic, Austria, Greece and Germany, culminating with a brief stint as Czech National Head Coach last year.

“What struck me was the quality of the facilities and the passion of the people involved. It is a very exciting opportunity and I look forward to working together with the staff and players to ensure a successful season for the Fury,” said Straka.

FFA Technical Director Han Berger, who headed the selection panel, described the appointment as a big step in the development of the A-League. “It was important to secure someone with the highest technical qualifications and Franz Straka’s appointment will not just strengthen the Fury, but the coaching ranks of the entire league.”

Straka is the latest addition to an impressive new-look coaching staff that now includes Football Operations Manager Robbie Middleby, sports and fitness coach Alan McCall (from Celtic Glasgow) and assistant coach Stuart McLaren.

McLaren could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of working with someone of Straka’s experience and reputation.

“I was really encouraged after meeting Franz as our approach to the game is quite similar and to have the chance to learn from someone of his stature and understanding of the game will be great for the development of the club, the players and me personally,” said McLaren.

“He has already implemented some specific and unusual training methods that I’ve been carrying out with the players and we can’t wait for his arrival in mid-June.”

While Townsville may seem a long way from Prague, Australia’s shores are not foreign to the Czech legend, having toured here with the national team during the 1980s.

But there will be little time to enjoy the warmer climate for Straka with just under two months to prepare for the club’s opening-round match away to Perth on August 6.

Straka doesn’t see this as a hindrance though.

“Eight weeks is more than enough time to have them ready for the season. New players will have to adapt to the climate but I think this will be to our advantage as we will need to be the fittest team in the league to play in these temperatures consistently.”

The Fury currently have 13 players in training while a number of local and international players are being put through their paces with further announcements expected soon.

The first home game will be against Sydney FC on August 14 where he will be reacquainted with former teammate and countryman Vitezslav Lavicka, who coached the Sky Blues to the local double last season.
Source: FFA
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