Weiss is Right for Georgia

Slovakian Vladimir Weiss was officially unveiled as the new head coach of the Georgian national football team on March 14, ending months of speculation surrounding previous incumbent Kakha Tskhadadze.

Following the election of Levan Kobiashvili, who played a record 100 times for Georgia, as president of the Georgian Football Federation last October, sweeping changes have been made in an attempt to resuscitate the national game with Tskhadadze an unlucky casualty of the revolution.

Tskhadadze had been in the job barely a year and had enjoyed some noteworthy results including a 1-0 victory over Scotland in September. Nevertheless, the new-look GFF was not impressed and after attempts to alter Tskhadadze’s contract to make it more incentive-based broke down, the parties eventually reached an agreement to part ways.

Weiss comes with a notable international pedigree, having led his native Slovakia to the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup. At club level, his achievements are admirable too, perhaps most notably taking Slovan Bratislava to the group stage of the Europa League in 2011-12.

The 51-year-old Slovakian had recently ended a successful three-year spell in Kazakhstan with Kairat Almaty before taking the Georgian hotseat, a role he has described as an “honor”.

Georgian fans are understandably wary of appointing a foreigner, given the forgettable reigns of Argentinian Hector Cuper and Germany’s Klaus Toppmoller, among others, in the 2000s.

Nevertheless, Weiss certainly claims to have done the necessary homework to avoid the unwanted fates of some of his predecessors.

“I immediately viewed this offer as a challenge. I studied the history of Georgian football, watched the national team’s most recent competitive and friendly games, and saw a lot of potential in this team – our team, as I can now call it,” revealed the Slovakian at his opening press conference with the Georgian media.

GFF president Kobiashvili outlined that Weiss had agreed to an incentive-based salary, without divulging specific details. It can be assumed though that should Georgia finish in the top three of their qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup, then Weiss will be suitably remunerated.

The Slovakian, who will move to Georgia for the duration of his role, will soon announce his first squad for the friendly match with Kazakhstan in Tbilisi on March 29.

Early summer matches against Weiss’s homeland Slovakia, as well as Romania and reigning European champions Spain, complete Georgia’s preparations for World Cup qualifying which begins in September against group favorites Austria in Tbilisi.

Alastair Watt

17 March 2016 19:25