BC-SOC--Slovakia-New Coach,149

Czech coach Pavel Hapal to take over Slovakian national team

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Czech coach Pavel Hapal has agreed to take over Slovakia's national soccer team. The 49-year-old Hapal will succeed Jan Kozak. A contract through the end of European Championship qualifying is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Czech coach Pavel Hapal has agreed to take over Slovakia's national soccer team.

The 49-year-old Hapal will succeed Jan Kozak, who quit after the team's second straight loss in the UEFA Nations League.

The Slovakian soccer association says its executive committee has approved the appointment. A contract through the end of European Championship qualifying is expected to be signed on Wednesday. If the team qualifies, the contract can be extended.

The former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic midfielder, who played for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga as well as other teams, was previously in charge of the Slovakia under-21 team from 2015-18.

Hapal also previously coached clubs in the Czech, Slovak and Polish leagues.

His first match will be a home game against Ukraine in the new European competition on Nov. 16 before traveling to the Czech Republic three days later.

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