Club: Venezia (on loan from Genoa)
Why he’s here
Just like fellow nominee Stefan Simic, Zima made the move from Slavia Prague to Genoa at the age of seventeen. Since swapping the Czech Republic for Italy, Zima eventually became the first choice for Il Grifone’s Campionato Primavera side and managed to keep thirteen clean sheets in forty-two appearances. His performances had been noted and despite not making an appearance in Italy’s top flight he was named as part of Genoa’s match day squad on a couple of occasions. And with first team football evidently on the mind of both player and country, he was loaned out to Serie C’s Reggiana where he’d stake his claim in the first half of 2014.
On the international front, the Hradec Kralove born shot stopper finished 2013 by graduating to the Czech under 20s after eighteen months of being the undisputed number one at under 19 level.
The past year has been…
…about becoming a number one.
With the highly rated Mattia Perin the clear first choice and veteran Albano Bizzarri already established as a capable deputy, the path to the number one jersey at Genoa was – temporarily at least – blocked. It was in the interests of everybody that Zima was loaned out somewhere to get experience and when Reggiana showed an interest, the Czech goalkeeper headed off to join them. For the first two months of his time in Reggio Emilia Zima played second fiddle to Niccolo Bellucci before he was given his chance against Como in March. With five games of the season remaining he became first choice and relegated the departing Bellucci to the bench conceding six goals as Reggiana finished twelfth.
During this period, the ex-Slavia youth was called up by Jakub Dovalil to the Czech under 21s and played in an experimental side that lost to Slovakia.
Truthfully it wasn’t a particularly exciting or noteworthy first six months of the year, but there were some signs there that sufficient progress was being made.
In the summer, Zima headed back to Genoa and cast his gaze around elsewhere in order to try and solidify a number one jersey whilst being kept under the watchful eye of his parent club.
And so with the 2014-15 season about to dawn, he left one famed maritime city for another as he headed east to sign for Venezia or a year.
This time, around though there would be no waiting in the wings and biding his time. When Alessandro Dal Canto named his first squad of the season – for a Coppa Italia tie against Taranto – Zima lined up between the sticks, a position he retained when the Arancioneroverdi begun their league campaign at home to Renate.
All in all Zima’s performances were positive, but soon the team began to slip, goals flew in and games were lost. Del Canto paid for this in true Italian fashion and was fired without being given time to see if he could turn things around, replaced by Michele Serena. At this time, cruelly, Zima fractured his finger and lost his place in the first eleven. Since returning from injury, he’s been sat on the substitute’s bench.
In 2014, he got a taste of first-team football, became Venezia’s number one before injury and circumstances took that away from him. Playing in a position that tends to favour experience over youth, we think that it has been a satisfactory year for the shot stopper.
The fractured finger has seen the Czech fall out of favour, with Serena opting to name Stefano Fortunato as his number one. Initially, this decision was made through choice, but an upturn in results and four clean sheets in eight games indicate that this switch is likely to be for the long term.
Unlike other divisions in Italy the Christmas break in the Lega Pro is relatively short and so there isn’t a great deal of time until Venezia’s squad kit up once more and take to the field. This puts Zima at a disadvantage as it doesn’t afford him the chance to change his boss’s opinion during the winter off-season. The likelihood is that Lukas will continue to be a substitute.
Ideally, though, we’d like to see him with the number one on his jersey sooner than later.
Back at the beginning of last year when the initial list was released it was noted that 2013 would be ‘the first time in a while’ that he’d be in the international wilderness. There is an outside chance he could be called up for the under 21 championships as a squad member at best, but such a nomination does appear to be a long way off on the horizon.
photo: Genoa CFC
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 10th January 2015