Jan Mazal – Coach, Czech Republic
“We want to verify our improved performance at the championships.”
To start of our interview series with all 15 participating nations for the Men’s World Championship, we spoke to Jan Mazal, President of the Czech Fistball Association about fistball in the Czech Republic and his expectations for Argentina.
IFA: Hi Jan, please tell us about who you are and your first experiences with fistball. What are your tasks alongside being the President of the Czech Fistball Association?
Jan: I am a headmaster of a small school which my wife and I founded. Of course sports are an important part of our curriculum. I started of teaching volleyball, but then I read about fistball in a professional sports magazine. We wanted our students to try it – that was back in 1995. We played for fun, and went to tournaments. We established an all men’s team in 2007. Since then I have been training the national team. Two years later, in 2009, I became president of the Czech Association of fistball.
My other tasks besides those? I am the president and coach of the team FAC Zdechovice, the Czech champion who competes in a German league. I also coach the Men’s and Women’s National Teams as well as young players from ages 10 to 14.
IFA: The Czech National Teams, women and men, are now a permanent part of the International Championships. Can you tell us about fistball in the Czech Republic and about the fledgling players?
Jan: We do have a few clubs in the Czech Republic. Fistball returned to the Czech Republic after the political revolution in 1989. At the moment we have three regions in which fistball is played – FAC Zdechovice, Prague – Butovice and Poběžovice. We have also founded two new training centers for children and young adults this year in Hradec Kralove and in Prague.
IFA: One year ago the Men’s National Team displayed a strong performance at the European Championships in Switzerland. What can we expect from the Czech team in Argentina?
Jan: We want to verify the improved performances over the last couple of years at the championships. However, we play in a very tough group – Austria, Brazil, Italy and Chile are teams which are hard to beat, but our goal is to win at least one of those matches.
IFA: India, Pakistan, Colombia, Australia and South Africa will compete for the first time on an international stage; what are your thoughts on the spread of fistball on to all continents?
Jan: Fistball is a very beautiful sport. It deserves to be played on all continents. The respect and love within the fistball community is something very wonderful.
IFA: Have you ever been to Argentina before? What are your expectations of the country and its people?
Jan: Neither I nor any other team member has been to Argentina before. We are really looking forward to it. I believe that the locals will be very friendly and welcoming.
IFA: Thank you very much and good luck for your team in Argentina.