On Sunday, October 3, a small, but still international football festival took place in Prague. The national team of Kazakhstan U-19 arrived in the capital of the Czech Republic! The guys played a youth qualifying tournament for Euro in Ostrava a week later, so they turned to us out of the old friendship of the chairman of the International Union of Youth of the Czech Republic, Yevgeny Kolesnik, and the head coach of the Kazakhstan U-19 national team, Alexander Kuznetsov, to organize their pre-tournament training camp in Prague. We gladly accepted such an interesting request in organizing the stay of the Kazakhstan national team in Prague. During the stay of the Kazakhstan national team in Prague, the International Youth Union organized visa opening for the national team, accommodation, meals, training, cultural program, accompaniment, transfers, and we also offered to play a friendly match with our MSM Football Academy, as we sensibly assessed our strength and understood that we can give the fight, and the coach of the Kazakhstan national team would have useful information for reflection after the match. At the beginning, the coaching staff of the national team didn’t see us as a serious rival and we were glad that the Kazakhstan team accepted the invitation to play a friendly, test match with our Academy. It was a great opportunity for our guys to compare their strengths with the best players in Kazakhstan, whose country is 35 times larger than the Czech Republic. The game took place on the field of the Čakovice team, Prague, where a perfectly prepared natural field, many fans of both teams and football functionaries awaited us! As already mentioned above, the national team of Kazakhstan was preparing in a week for the youth qualification of the European Championship and brought with it 2 full-fledged combatants from the best players of their country. For our guys, before the game there was another difficulty, since the day before the friendly game, our Academy played the official match of the Prague championship with a team that, like us, claims to be the first place, so we physically didn’t have time to fully recover. But we were ready to play!
The match kicked off at 16:00, and from the very first minutes it became clear that this match would be radically different from the matches that we used to play at the weekend in the Prague Championship. The opponent was perfectly prepared and ready tactically, technically and physically. For the first time for our players, we were in a situation where we had to run more off the ball than our opponent. No long passes behind the opponents’ backs, only through clear passes on the ground and a lot of movement, we have never met such teams in our championship in Prague. The game was good for both teams and took place on a collision course at the maximum pace. With such a game, the audience, who came in a lot, certainly didn’t get bored. In the 31st minute, our MSM Football Academy opened the score! Our striker Khrolenok got the ball and went on a date with the opponent’s goalkeeper with a penetrating dribbling into the penalty area and managed to strike beautifully, but most importantly – accurately. 1:0! The first half was equal, both the guest and the host teams had chances, unfortunately, at the end of the match we got a goal just before the break, when the striker of the Kazakhstan national team managed to overcome our goalkeeper after a beautiful pass. First half 1:1. The second half promised to be no less intense and interesting.
In the second half, the head coach of the national team brought 11 new players who, naturally, also wanted to show themselves and gain a foothold in the main team, which was supposed to go to the Euro qualifying match in the city of Ostrava against the Czech Republic U-19 team. Our head coach Vyacheslav Zakhovailo didn’t make any replacements yet and our team continued to play with the same line-up. The beginning of the second half wasn’t the most successful for us, already at the 47th minute we fouled on the corner of our goalkeeper zone and the guests, with a bit of luck and rebounds, were able to score from a free kick. 1: 2 in favor of the guests from Kazakhstan. Further, right up to 64 minutes, the match was equal and both teams had chances to increase the score, but again, unfortunately, when the opponent quickly went over to a counterattack after a mistake in the center of the field, players of the national team were able to successfully complete it with a goal, 1: 3 and this already promised our defeat.
We would like to express our gratitude to our players who didn’t give up and continued to bend their line. They really didn’t want to lose against such an eminent opponent, especially at home, with a large number of spectators, football scouts and coaches of other teams. Our coach Vyacheslav Zakhovailo continued to play attacking football. After the third conceded goal, paradoxically, it was we who were the team that set the pace for the game, and crossings or shots regularly flew into the opponent’s penalty area. And at the 87th minute of the match we were rewarded. Our player Nazarenko was the fastest in the opponent’s penalty area and sent the ball with a beautiful headbutt behind the back of the guests’ goalkeeper. 2:3 and we still had a minimal chance of a draw! There were a couple of minutes left until the end of the match and the opponent’s goal was clear to increase our score. Young collectors also didn’t want to miss out on the Academy team, which the guys of the national team a little looked down before the game. And already tough, sometimes aggressive football began. Guys form Kazakhstan didn’t want to miss the third goal, the attackers of the national team didn’t even think about the attack. At the appointed time, a frank assault on the guests’ goal began and there was a “scramble” of players from both teams in the goalkeeper’s area. In one of the episodes, the home team player Shelest nevertheless made his way to the guests’ goal and was able to kick, but the ball was hooked by the hand by the guests’ defender – a penalty kick! Bessonov volunteered to «shoot» a penalty kick, who outplayed the goalkeeper in cold blood. 3:3!!! Immediately after the penalty kick, the final whistle sounded and the match ended! The score is 3:3, a great match, a great opponent, friendship won!
For our part, we would like to thank the national team of Kazakhstan U-19 and, in particular, the head coach of the national team, Alexander Kuznetsov. We were glad to assist the national team with their arrival in Prague and holding the training camp with us. Such a friendly game gave our guys great experience, motivation and faith to work even more in training, and for the guys and the coach of the national team good food for thought before the official meeting with the Czech national team in Ostrava. We hope the guys from Kazakhstan enjoyed their stay in Prague, our hospitality and we wish them good luck in professional sports and, of course, in life! Thanks everyone!
Result of the match MSM Football Academy (Mezinárodní Svaz Mládeže) – Kazakhstan National Team U-19 3:3 (1:2)