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Zsolt Varga has replaced Tamás Märcz, who left the team by mutual agreement on Monday, making Varga the new captain of the Hungarian men’s national water polo team. Under the agreement, Varga will lead the team in a way not seen for decades in the domestic polo scene, also holding the head coaching post at Ferencváros for at least another year.
Zsolt Varga, 50, started as a player at the Central Sports and Youth Sports Association (KSI) in Budapest, then played with Újpest, BVSC, and Croatian Mladost, and between 2001 and 2010 he played professionally in Italy, and after his return home, he played water polo for Ferencváros for two years. He was a member of the Hungarian (twice) and Croatian championship teams, his best result with the Italians being silver. He has won the Hungarian Cup, Croatian Cup, LEN Champions League Cup, LEN Cup Winners’ Cup (KEK), and Champions League silver medals. He was a member of the Hungarian team that won the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. With the national team, he was World Championship runner-up in 1998, and European Champion in 1997 and 1999.
He retired in 2012 but immediately started a new career as coach of Ferencváros’s youth team and professional director of the youth team. In the meantime, he also served as assistant coach of the national youth team. In 2013, he was promoted to head coach at Ferencváros, which won the Hungarian championship three times, the European Cup and European Super Cup twice, and the Champions League once.
“I owe thanks not only to the President and the Board but also to Ferencváros, where I was raised as a coach. I also owe a big thank you to Norbi Madaras and Zoli Nyíri for their help in the day-to-day work,” said Varga, adding:
I am a workaholic. I would love to be standing by the pool with a whistle in my hand right now. The motto for the next period is work, work, and work. The first task is to announce a framework so that the players can get the necessary rest as soon as possible. The European Championship is upon us, we cannot delay any longer.”
The captain explained that he knows that he will have a difficult task in the coming year, as he will have to manage his club team Ferencváros on two fronts, in addition to the national team. “I believe I can do it,” he said.
The Hungarian Water Polo Federation decided on Monday to replace Tamás Märcz, who left by mutual agreement after the Hungarian team’s performance, finishing seventh at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest – the team previously won the European title, World Championship silver, and Olympic bronze medals under his leadership. In addition to the recognition of his achievements, the organization said in a statement that a faster pace of renewal than planned was needed in the run-up to the Paris Olympics.
Featured image: Ádám Nagy playing for the 5th-8th place in the men’s water polo tournament of the World Aquatics Championships Hungary vs. United States at the Hajós Alfréd National Sports Complex on Margaret Island, Hungary, July 1, 2022. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI