Ján Geleta

* 1943  

  • “We lied a little to the Olympic Committee, not to ours, but back then it was the principle that professionals should not play at the Olympics. While we were not formally professionals, we were actually making our living there. In Dukla, but also in other clubs, players went to work (all citizens of the CSSR had to be officially employed by law) just for the money, but they played football, that was the main content. So we sent mainly semi-professionals there, we were not quite the professionals, but let’s say that we cheated them a bit. But the same thing was done by the Hungarians, the East Germans, the socialist states went like this. Brazilians and others followed it because they had lists of professionals, no way they could lie. So it sometimes happened that they also lost the teams, which were actually supposed to be at a higher level, but there were even students in the Olympic team and so on.”

  • “I liked running, as a child I was a kind of 'defective'. I found a wheel and chased it around the village with a stick; I didn't have any friends there, so I had fun like that. And at a young age I was getting fit. Then they found out in Partizánské that I could play at least for the youth B club, so they put me there, they moved me up in a while because I was running around the playground like a madman. I couldn't kick the ball, but they liked it.”

  • “They didn't let too much - as I would say - those military things, but they didn't need to know about secret things either. We were ranked as sport instructors. And the Minister promoted us when we won the league, or when we achieved some success in the national team, he gave us an extra tinker and made coffee. Once we got a book about the Slovak National Uprising, and the older players just laughed at it.”

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    Praha, 27.06.2019

    (audio)
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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Tipsport for Legends
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I‘ve been lucky all my life

Ján Geleta in the Prague Dukla club dress
Ján Geleta in the Prague Dukla club dress
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Ján Geleta was born on 13 September 1943 in Malé Chlievany, a village near the Slovak town of Bánovce nad Bebravou, as one of six children in the blacksmith family. After elementary school in Partizánske (former Baťovany) he learned to wear rubber boots, where he also started playing football for junior team Iskra Partizánske. He joined the military service in 1962 in Dukla, Prague, where he quickly worked his way up among the famous teammates and took over the position of midfielder after the legendary footballer, Josef Masopust. He stayed in Dukla until 1976, winning three Czechoslovak championships and three national cups with the club, and in 1967 he was named the player of the year. He represented Czechoslovakia in a number of international matches, and his team brought a silver medal from the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. After leaving Dukla in 1976 he worked as an army recruiter. After 1989 he ran a grocery store in Prague. He currently lives with his wife at a cottage in Křivsoudov and is training a football youth there.