IFAF European Flag Football Championships: Newcomers aim to create a shock in Ireland

Flag football is in its infancy in Slovakia and the nation’s men’s national team will make its continental competition debut at the IFAF European Flag Football Championships in Limerick.

French head coach Hugo Bagate has been living in the capital city Bratislava for the past eight years. In the space of half that time has gone from first joining a group of people who were playing flag football in a local park to forming a team, training twice a week and creating the country’s first league competition, which features four teams and will soon expand to six. Those clubs provide the backbone for the national team.

“We started to play with some friends who are passionate about flag football and we wanted to develop the sport in the in the country,” he explains. “There was the tackle league that is still trying to develop and to build but there was nothing so far for flag. I was trying to develop our team and I hit on the idea that there should be Slovakian national team.”

The fruition of that idea will line up against Spain at 12.15pm on Friday in a momentous tournament debut. Hugo himself is on unfamiliar territory, coaching at this level for the first time.

“Like any team, we come to play and to win, that’s the first motivation, but I want primarily for my players to get experience,” says Hugo. “We learn, we develop the structure of the team and set the level they can expect to play in the coming years. We hope to win during the group stage of course and it would be good to move up the rankings and show some progress and that we should be taken seriously as an opponent.

“One advantage we might have is that we are a brand new team, so the other teams don’t know what to expect from us and we can surprise them with our concepts maybe. I would say this surprise effect that they don’t know what will be in front of them could help us. We have held four camps right which is quite short and with the young players who are less experienced we will really focus on the basic things, but we can still surprise.”

Read the full article at americanfootball.sport.

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North