Czech chief Hasek to manage national team

PRAGUE - Czech Football Association chief Ivan Hasek will coach the troubled national team for the rest of their World Cup qualifying campaign, the FA said on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old former Sparta Prague player will replace Frantisek Straka, a stop-gap manager who was only in charge for one friendly match against Malta.

Hasek said he would lead the Czechs, who are fourth in World Cup qualifying Group Three with just eight points from six matches, until the end of the campaign to reach the 2010 finals.

The former midfielder played 56 times for the national team, including at the 1990 World Cup in Italy where he was captain.

He had led Sparta Prague to two league titles as a coach, and managed Racing Strasbourg in France and Kobe in Japan.

Hasek took over the Czech FA last month, promising to clean up a sport that has often been criticised in the media for a lack of transparency and the national team's poor results.

He stepped in as Czech Republic manager after Karel Jarolim, the coach of this year's first division champions Slavia Prague, declined to take over the side.