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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.100
No One is a Prophet in their Own Land: Josef Masopust and the Strange Trajectory of Czechoslovak Military Football
The foundation in the 1948 of an army football team, which later became famous as the Dukla Prague, was not only the first step to introduce the Soviet methods and style into the Czechoslovak sport, but also an attempt to reshape the allegiancies of Czechoslovak fans. It meant a step towards the further profesionalization of the Czech football as well. Dukla got a good fame in the early 1960's. Paradoxically it became more famous and respected abroad, above all in the capitalist countries, than at home. Even with four American Cups won consecutively and despite accounting for the nucleus of the successful Czechoslovak team in 1962, Dukla could'nt never overcome its bad fame of being "brass hat" and "cloned" team. The paper focuses on the attempt to institutionalize a new football identity that would serve the purposes of the Czechoslovak communist regime. Dealing with the successful but thorny career of Josef Masopust, (European Footballer of the Year in 1962), the paper will take an anthropological and biographical approach to demonstrate that even in the hottest moments of the Cold War, there could be a sympathy for a military football team from East in the West, and open hostility to it in an allegedly "totalitarian" country. The negative reactions towards Dukla, and Josef Masopust in particular, discussed even in the communist media, show how difficult it was for the regime to gain the hearts and minds of its population, and how far the regime was from becoming "totalitarian" or completely sovietized.