In the autumn, Daniel Cerny was the most prolific goalscorer in the Czech Republic. Playing in Viktoria Plzen’s Juniroska Liga side, the centre-forward netted twenty times in nineteen games.
Twenty goals, nineteen games – that is ridiculous, no matter the level.
Seeking first-team football, the striker joined Viktoria Zizkov for the start of 2015. With a brilliant goals-to-games ratio and the ability to make an impact in the second division, this head was turned.
To preface, it must be incredibly hard to be part of Viktoria Plzen’s youth structure. Despite having some of the best facilities in the country, the fact is that the path to the senior squad is blocked by a glut of well-paid, experienced footballers. To make things worse, anybody who shows the slightest bit of talent at an early age elsewhere in the league gets snapped up and brought to Plzen (see Ales Mateju and Jan Suchan, for example).
Therefore, Cerny’s move to Viktoria Zizkov was a welcome one. Away from Plzen, with the lure of first-team football and guided by Jindrich Trpisovsky, I hoped that he would have the chance to shine. The first few signs were promising: He made his debut shortly after joining the Prague club and his first goal for Zizkov came a week later.
But, that was about as good as it got.
News stories emerged on an almost weekly basis about Zizkov’s lack of finances. Players were not paid, strike action was threatened, and it seemed to be only a matter of time until the local council kicked them out of their traditional home in the heart of Prague 3. Yet despite all this, Zizkov managed to play some of the best football in the Czech second division. With Radek Voltr firing on all cylinders and midfielders Igor Sukennik and Zdenek Folprecht chipping with their fair share, goals were not an issue.
Zizkov’s financial implosion and subsequent relegation quickly dismissed the notion that Cerny might be able to stay on and capitalise on the departures of Voltr (Slavia), Folprecht (Liberec), and Sukennik (Hradec Kralove).
Still under contract at Plzen, Cerny return to West Bohemia and was once again sent out on loan. After spending time with FNL new-boys Slavoj Vysehrad in the summer, he instead opted to move south and signed for Trinec.
After a stop-start pre-season, Cerny spent his first few weeks in Silesia regaining match fitness with Trinec’s Juniorska Liga squad, where he once again showed his prowess at that level. He would make his debut at the Stadion Rudolfa Labaje against Ceske Budejovice in mid-August before he was given his first (ever) start the following week against Znojmo. He responded well enough, opening the scoring after twenty-five minutes, but was otherwise powerless as Trinec fell to the runaway league leaders 5-2. A fruitless display as a lone striker in the Cup saw him restored to the role of substitute a week later.
To cap off what has been an up-and-down year, the forward has been absent since the beginning of October.
Whenever he has been fielding in the Juniorska Liga he has shown that he is beyond that level, but he has never really been able to make the step up to the senior ranks. The chance at breaking into the Viktoria Plzen squad is long gone and if things do not start to happen soon then he may well be stuck in the lower divisions.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 9th January 2016