Friday, August 31, 2012

August 29, 2012 - Czech Cup 2nd round - SK Prostějov 1 Sigma Olomouc 4

August 29, 2012
Czech Cup - 2nd Round
SK Prostějov 1 Sigma Olomouc 4
Attendance: 3860
Admission: 30kc

When I lived in Olomouc in 2000, and for a few months in 2002, I went to as many Sigma games as possible (in the Czech Republic, and in Europe).  However, ever since I moved to Prostějov my interest in Sigma has been very low.  Just to feel like old times, I went to the Czech Cup game on Wednesday and was in the Sigma end.  It was a good opportunity to cheer against the 3rd tier SK.

Since Olomouc is only around 15km down the road about 300 Sigma supporters showed up, which was many more than I had seen in the past.  Over the last 10 years I have seen Sigma play cup matches at Uničov, Hranice, Konice, Třínec, and Líšen.  For each game only a few dozen Sigma fans showed up, with the lowest being at Třínec (8).  On Wednesday, it was a different story, but overall the Sigma fans were quiet.  Not as quiet as the Prostějov fans though.

Almost 4,000 people were at the game, and almost no noise was generated from the home support.  There was a small group of younger fans who chanted and had drums, but that was it.  With that being said, it is not like SK gave the home fans anything to cheer about.  They were never really in the game, even when it was 1-1, we all knew Sigma would come back to win.  Always good to see Franchise FC lose.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Macedonian 1st division - August 19/12 - Turnovo 3 Shkendija 2

Macedonian 1st division - August 19th, 2012
Horizont Turnovo 3 Shkendija 2
Attendance - 250
Admission - 50 denars

Turnovo is located about 10km to the east of Strumica.  The village isn't that easy to reach if you don't have your own car, but a taxi from Strumica costs 150 denars one way (about 3 euros).  It is also possible to take a bus, but the schedule isn't always clear.  Another possibility is to take one of the local vans that stop near the centre in Strumica, but a taxi is by far the easiest option.

Only around 1,000 people live in the village which has to make Turnovo one of the smallest places in Europe to have a first division side.  The club was formed in 1950, but it wasn't until recently that they have enjoyed a good run of fortune.  A new sponsor, Horizont, took over in 2008, and it enabled Turnovo to get into the first division.

The stadium is basic, as is to be expected.  Perhaps there are three or four rows of seats which go along one side of the pitch.  Recently a cover was put over the seats.  The local crowd was quite up for the game against Shkendija (Tetovo) who have been one of the better sides in Macedonian football over the past few years.  They are also a ethnically Albanian side.

Shkendija showed their dominance over Turnovo early on and took a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.  However, after the goal it was the hosts who found their legs and turned the game around. They eventually tied the game at 2-2, and in injury time they found a dramatic winner.

Below you can find a video of the last goal -

The problem with football in Prostějov

If you can read or understand Czech you should take the time to read one supporters opinion about football in Prostějov.  -

The real SK Prostějov plays in the Okresní Přebor, and not in the MSFL.  The side that is the MSFL has no history.  They bought their way into the 4th tier last year, and now they are in the 3rd tier.  The team was formed about this time last year, and now they are already hosting Sigma Olomouc in the 2nd round of the Czech Cup.  It is amazing what money can buy.

The team that plays in the Okresní Přebor is a continuation of the club that dates back to 1904.  They are the ones who have history on their side.  If you want to go support a plastic side, go and watch the MSFL team.  Take a seat, and enjoy the game.  It is so quiet, it is like you are having a picnic in a forest.  Sadly, many people just do not care about the history of the game and SK Prostějov.  They just want their quick fix.

It is hurting football in this city.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012/13 European Women's Champions League - MTK 2 PAOK 0

2012/13 European Women's Champions League (in Strumica, Macedonia)
MTK (Hungary) 2 PAOK (Greece) 0
Attendance: 80

The decisive game of the group was played on Thursday afternoon infront of a sparse but vocal crowd.  It seemed well over half of the people were from Greece.  MTK had a total of four fans at the game.  The rest of the crowd was made up of random little children and older men with pumpkin seeds.

MTK were too big and physical for the smaller Greek side, and came out deserved winners.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012/13 Women's European Champions League Qualifiers - PAOK 8 Skonto Riga 0

2012/13 Women's European Champions League Qualifier (in Strumica, Macedonia)
PAOK (Greece) 8 Skonto Riga (Latvia) 0
Attendance: 30

Strumica is hosting a Women's European Champions League group stage for the second straight year.  This year PAOK (Greece), Skonto Riga (Latvia), Nase Taxi (Macedonia) and MTK (Hungary) are playing.  Since it is the first round of qualifiers, the level of play isn't the best.  PAOK had some decent players, but it was clear what was holding back both teams... the final ball.  With that being said, PAOK were easily the best of and deserved the victory.  Tomorrow, I will attend the crucial game between MTK and PAOK.  The winner will advance to the next phase of qualifiers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FK Plačkovica (Radovis, Macedonia)

FK Plackovica was formed in 1942 in Radovis, Macedonia a town of 15,000 in the south-eastern part of the country.  Currently, they play in the 3rd tier of football in the country.

August 5/12 - European U18 Women's Basketball Championships - Latvia 73 Austria 32

August 5th, 2012
European U18 Women's Basketball Championships (in Strumica, Macedonia)
Sport Hall Nikola Karev
Latvia 72 Austria 32
Attendance: 20

The last day of the tournament meant a number of classification matches.  The one I decided to attend was the 5th/6th place match because it was at a hall I hadn't seen before.  Again, the weather was awfully hot (40C), and the hall had almost no fresh air coming in.  I don't think I had ever been so hot at an indoor sporting event.

The hall actually belongs to a local high school, and to be fair it was very rough around the edges.  I was actually kind of surprised it was hosting a European Championships.  The seating consisted of a few chairs on an elevated platform.  Almost no one was at the match, just a few locals and some Austrian supporters.

As to be expected the match wasn't of the best quality.  Both teams were tired, hot, and classification matches sometimes have little importance.  Latvia didn't shoot as well in the 2nd half, and the score should have been much higher than it actually was.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 4/12 - 2012 European U18 Women's Basketball Championships Division B - Scotland 46 vs Switzerland 53

August 4th, 2012
European U18 Women's Basketball Championships Division B in Strumica, Macedonia
Scotland 46 Switzerland 53 (at Sports Hall Park)
Attendance - 45

Strumica is a city of about 35,000 people tucked into the southeastern part of the country.  In the past it has hosted UEFA Cup matches, UEFA Regions Cup qualifiers, and European Women's Champions league.  However, over the past few weeks, it has hosted some of the best U18 basketball players in Europe.

The first game I went to was actually a classification for 15th-16th place.  The day was quite warm, around 37C, which is normal for this part of Macedonia in the summer.  The stadium where the game was held looked old, and slightly rundown.  There was little of no movement of air from outside, so the conditions inside were not the best for playing or for watching.  To my surprise, 30 people (family members and friends)  were at the game to support Scotland, while a half dozen were there from Switzerland.  Not counting these people, almost no one else was at the game.  The local men's first division professional basketball team also plays at the Sports Hall Park.