From the young to the old: The second Synot Liga spotlight falls upon the veteran who is currently topping the goal scoring charts, Libor Dosek.
With nine goals in eleven games the 36 year-old has, so far, found the back of the net more times than the league’s perennial top scorer David Lafata. But in recent weeks the veteran’s form has dipped somewhat.
Is this a return to the norm for the Slovacko striker?
Who is Libor Dosek?
Even with Dosek’s prolificacy waning in recent weeks, the forward has already ensured he’ll reach his average haul in a season of nine goals and a handful of assists.
Admittedly, that record might not be outstanding when it is held up to the exploits of David Lafata and other more prolific strikers, but it represents a solid and predictable return – something which has served his recent club of Slovacko extremely well. .
Libor Dosek style of play is that of an old-fashioned, if slightly outdated, target-man of a number nine. In this current day in which mobility and versatility is favoured you would imagine he would suffer; but with a malleable and energetic midfield in support, Dosek has looked as good as he ever has.
But that doesn’t exactly count for much, even if he rapid-fire ascension to the top of the scoring charts has seen him discussed as a potential option for Pavel Vrba and the Czech National Team.
A native of Brno, his first opportunity at first-team football came when he was loaned to the forerunner to Slovacko, Synot Stare Mesto, in the 1997-98 season. Aged just nineteen he was a consistent presence for the second division club and weighed in with nine goals in twenty-seven appearances as Slovensky chrabry finished in fourth place. The following campaign brought saw him find the back of the net three times and his options in Brno looked thin and he soon headed off for the village outfit of Chmel Blsany in 1999.
Playing in the Gambrinus Liga, Chmel Blsany will always be remembered as a club that was catapulted above and beyond their natural glass ceiling and the fact that they even competed in a handful of European fixtures can be considered as a minor miracle. But whilst the small club prospered it is fair to say that Dosek didn’t. But, even with a goal to game ratio that never caught the eye, his performances did see him force his way into the u21 squad around the turn of the millenium.
A couple of brief cameos couple with his strong support play domestically saw him named in the U21 squad that were runners-up in the u21 European Championships in 2000 and then, later that year,in the u23 Olympic squad that would flounder in Australia.
Despite representing the Czech Republic in youth competitions Dosek never made the grade to the senior ranks. Upon returning to Brno he once again treaded water, never looking like anything spectacular in front of goal before he headed north to Liberec in 2004 where goals were again hard to come by.
After one appearance the following season Dosek left Slovan and made the move to Sparta Prague. In the capital he was partnered with Miroslav Matusovic and the duo promptly misfired in an underperforming Sparta side that ended up finishing a disappointing fifth.
2006-07 proved to be more productive however as Dosek hit over ten goals for only the second time of his career. But, after flying too close to the sun, Dosek returned back to normality and, rather predictably, he began to see less and less playing time
A move to Teplice failed to see an upturn in form and after two unproductive seasons at Na Stinadlech he returned to Moravia, rejoining Slovacko to little fanfare.
As alluded to in the opening gambit Libor Dosek’s strengths have been on display this season when he has been the focal point for the Slovacko attack. With Lubous Kalouda, Milan Kerbr and Jaroslav Divis attempting to rush beyond him, Dosek’s literal strength has been on show, holding up the ball for these midfield runners.
Given his height, a shade under 6ft 6, you would expect that the majority of the forward’s goals come from aerial routes. Whilst this is true to some degree, that old cliche about a tall striker having ‘good feet’ is applicable in Dosek’s case. Even with the years passing by, a fair number of his goals this term have come as a direct result of some nimble footwork in a congested penalty area.
The obvious criticism is his inability to consistently perform at a high level. He has only reached double figures four times in seventeen years, a statistic which simply is not good enough. When looked at in detail it is evident that those seasons only came around when Dosek was the focal point of a forward line which gives credence to the opinion that his link up play can be lacking.
There is not a future so to speak of given that he is closer to forty than thirty, but the Synot Liga has a history of overseeing the development of some evergreen veterans.
It is clear that he works well in Svatopluk Habanec’s system so as long as he keeps his coach’s trust then there is no reason as to why Dosek cannot keep scoring and performing relatively well at this level. With an industrious and creative cast in support, there will always be chances – it’s just a question if he’ll put them away or not.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 23rd October 2014