Prague Raptors vs Prosex Preview
By Men's Head Coach Jon Davies
It’s hard to believe that our club is just over a year old. What started as the dream of a young kid that loved dinosaurs less than two years ago has blossomed into a beautiful and strong football club. No matter the results on the pitch and no matter what the future holds, that is something that everybody associated with the Prague Raptors should be incredibly proud of.
Coaching a sports team is difficult at the best of times but when you start with a team containing almost 20 nationalities, all with different footballing ideas and backgrounds, the job becomes that much harder. That was apparent before Christmas when issues off the pitch affected events on it and we disappointingly dropped points where we shouldn’t have.
That means that we now face a difficult task in catching our rivals to ensure that we achieve our goal of promotion this season. To do that, we must win every single game between now and the end of the season. 9 cup finals, starting with Sunday’s visit of FC Prosex.
Winning every game sounds like a daunting objective but our performances over the winter break suggest that this is entirely possible. Victory in the Junior Praha Winter Cup against teams from divisions above us and exceptional attitude from coaches and players in braving the conditions to train each week over a harsh Czech winter has built real momentum.
Such momentum has been consolidated by finding a settled squad. Exciting, natural combinations and an organic understanding have been formed between players playing together each week. These players now understand what is expected from them, in terms of our physical, emotional, technical and tactical demands and we are starting to reap the rewards.
All players have improved but special mention must be made to those that have begun to display leadership on and off the pitch. The importance of the ability to organise and lead can never be understated in the formation of a club so young. Ionel David, Alex Aionitoaei, Maxime Gardie, Carlos Martin and Dean De Lanca among others all deserve credit in this regard.
On the pitch, players such as Mattia Chiodi and Antuan Guzman have performed exceptionally, controlling and creating from midfield, whilst Russian goalkeeper Ilia Kozlov, signed in January, and central defensive partnership George Papamichael and Carlos Martin remain undefeated in this half of the season thus far, keeping three clean sheets in three games. The form of Bolivian winger Mauricio Soto has also been nothing short of remarkable, chipping in with an avalanche of assists since his arrival in January. We have worked hard to ensure that we possess real quality all over the pitch.
Despite these strengths and the momentum we have generated, we must respect every team in our division. FC Prosex are currently bottom of the table but a TV appearance and the chance to record a famous away victory should provide plenty of motivation. We must stay focused and concentrated for 90 minutes to avoid any potential banana skin and it is something I will be reminding my players about consistently as we prepare for Sunday.
If our attitude is right and if we are focused, I firmly believe that we can beat every team in our league playing attractive and exciting football. Promotion will be difficult but it is well within our reach and it’s time to fulfill our destiny, starting with a win on Sunday.
Up the Raptors!