Teams: Slovenia, Brazil, Russia, Korea, Vasco da Gama
The return of Katanec in the NT??
As it was mentioned by NZS (James) in another thread, after Zlatko Zahovic confirmed that he will no longer play for our NT, the rumours were spread that our FA could change our NT coach and bring back Srecko Katanec, who coached our NT to its greatest successes, qualifying for Euro2000 and WC2002. I am not sure how much reality there is in these rumours, but let's assume they have some basis.
I like Katanec a lot, I think he is great coach and great motivator. In two years, he transformed the NT, who was only able to obtain a one single (1!!) point in the WC98 qualifiers in the group with Denmark, Croatia, Greece and Bosnia, to the team that qualified for the next major tournament, Euro2000, with basically the same players. I do not know of any similar achievement in the world. His NT also played with a lot of heart, never gave up and was not afraid of anyone. In the Euro2000 preparations, we went to Paris and were cold-bloodily leading 2:0 against the world champions at the half time. OK, at the end we lost 3:2 allowing the French to score in 90th minute, but this was mostly due to our players lack of fitness, when compared to the physically very strong opponents (the same thing happened then to Italians in the Euro2000 final, which only confirms the quality of the team we used to have under Katanec).
But I still think it's a bit too early to bring Katanec back. The memories of the Korea disaster are still there and there are still some players from that time in the NT, Although Zahovic and Pavlin (two main acters in the dispute versus Katanec) quit. Also, Siljak (our best player in the Euro2004 qualifiers by far) is not really a friend with Katanec and our left back, Amir Karic also announced to quit the NT if Prasnikar is about to leave. So, we could lose four key players from the last qualifiers and with the poor pool of players we have, there could be serious troubles ahead.
Maybe I am wrong, but I would stick with Prasnikar for another two years. In the end, he was close to taking us to Euro2004 (just imagine if that Acimovic shot from 40 yards in the first minutes of the match in Zagreb, when Croatian goalkeeper miskicked the ball, would go in like against Ucraine in 1999). It is unreallistic to expect that Slovenia would now qualify for every major tournament, so although Katanec im my opinion is better NT coach, Prasnikar did well too.
In the end, I won't be disappointed in any case. If Prasnikar stays, I am fine with that and if Katanec comes, I am fine with that too.
Caipirinha: 6 €
Brazilian NT shirt: 70 €
Flight to Rio de Janeiro: 400 €
Seeing Italian NT kicked out of major tournament: PRICELESS
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