Czech coach Vrba quits national team, signs up with Anzhi


Prague (AFP) – Coach Pavel Vrba is leaving the Czech Republic national team after signing up with Russian top-flight side Anzhi Makhachkala, the Czech Football Association said Thursday.

“We can only respect the wish of the coach who wants to try a job abroad,” Czech FA chief Miroslav Pelta said in a statement.

Vrba has recently found himself under fire over poor showings at Euro 2016, where the lacklustre Czechs lost to Spain and Turkey and drew with Croatia in Group D, bowing out of the tournament after the group stage.

“Although our mission ended in the group phase, I consider the coach’s performance successful,” said Pelta.

The 52-year-old Vrba took over the Czech Republic national team in December 2013 after they failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He then led the Czech Republic to win their Euro 2016 qualifying Group A ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands.

His national team record is 10 wins, five draws and 10 losses from 25 games.

Vrba’s coaching career took an upward twist in 2008, when he took over Czech top-flight strugglers Viktoria Pilsen.

Playing attractive, attacking football, Pilsen won the league titles in 2011 and 2013, earning a spot in the Champions League each time.

Vrba’s charm still works — under his national team assistant Karel Krejci, Pilsen went on to win Czech titles in 2015 and 2016.

Owned by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, Anzhi finished last season 13th in the Russian Premier League and saved its berth in the top flight after winning relegation play-offs against Volgar Astrakhan.

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