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Reader feedback: Slovak soccer needs direction

Re: Slovak teams not on the ball, By Lukáš Fila, July 12 - 18, Vol 10, No 27

I think the main problem with football in Slovakia is the quality of coaching. Having seen both Stanislav Varga and Szilárd Németh play for their Slovak Clubs and their country, neither was particularly outstanding. Both, however, have improved tremendously since coming to the UK. Varga has become an outstanding central defender in Scotland's outstanding team because he is working for Martin O'Neil - one of the great British coaches who is used to developing players beyond their apparent ability. Nemeth has done less spectacularly at Middlesbrough, but is certainly a better player than he was when he first joined them.

Their soccer "education" has improved them, so I think that Slovakia should get a first-class coach, and put in place a structure to enable promising players to develop their skills from a very early age. Success will take time, but there are no shortcuts. So don't be looking for success in the European Championship for a while yet. After all, England has yet to win it!

Peter Smith, Crewe, UK

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