by Simon Daish
The Czech Republic successfully progressed to the play-offs following a positive showing in the qualifying group stage, finishing Group J in second position behind Romania but crucially ahead of Turkey.
Awaiting the Czech squad in the final qualification round is Poland, and as reported on the Czech Table Tennis Association website, coach Jindřich Panský is hoping to see his players come out of the two-legged encounter with a spot in the Men’s Championship Division secured.
“I expect a close match, but we want to win at home. Our goal is obviously to break through to the Championship Division at the European Championships”, Jindřich Panský.
The previous European Championships to feature Men’s Team action was held in Ekaterinburg, Russia in 2015 and on that occasion both the Czech Republic and Poland were participants in the Championship Division.
However, only one of the two countries can book their place in the top tier for the 2017 event and Jindřich Panský believes that his team’s experience against Polish opposition at league level will give the Czech Republic the edge when it comes to the play-offs.
“… I have to assemble a team to obtain three points… (Dimitrij) Prokopcov and (Tomas) Konecny play in the Polish top division, where they can test the strengths and weaknesses of some of the Polish representatives. (Daniel) Gorak plays for Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Wang Zengyi is at Dojlidy Białystok. So certainly, we will not go against unknown opponents”, Jindřich Panský.
Tuesday 11th April sees the Czech Republic host the opening leg of the tie in Klatovy before the return match heads to the Polish city of Białystok on Tuesday 18th April.