Bratislava, Slovakia – The coach of Slovakia’s national football team Jan Kozak resigned on Sunday, the Slovak football association (SFZ) announced in a press release, describing it as an “unexpected decision”.
According to SFZ, Jan Kozak resigned at his own request following his team’s defeat at home in a derby against the Czech Republic (1-2) in the UEFA Nations League, one month after Slovak players lost to Ukraine (0-1).
“He told me he wanted to end as of now, and he cannot imagine continuing in the function of coach”, head of SFZ Jan Kovacik told reporters. For today’s friendly match in Stockholm against Sweden, the Slovak national team will be headed by assistant Stefan Tarkovic until a replacement is found.
Jan Kozak, 64, was described as “the most successful and longest-working Slovak coach” by the Slovak Spectator. A former professional player for Czechoslovakia’s national team, he was named Czechoslovak player of the year in 1981.
He spent most of his coaching career in Kosice, the country’s eastern capital, and became coach of the national team in 2013. Under his watch, Slovakia qualified for the first time to the European Championship in 2016, played over 50 matches and brought back the highest number of victories (29) since the country’s independence in 1993.
As local media report, the reasons behind Jan Kozak’s surprise resignation remain unknown. According to commentators, it could be due to the recent string of unexpected defeats and growing pressure from supporters, who haven’t been shy to voice their discontent during Jan Kozak and his team’s latest losses.
His son, also Jan, is a retired football player and current coach of Slovan Bratislava B. He’s considered one of the pioneers of footgolf in Slovakia.