The 31-year-old joins from Israeli top-flight side Hapoel Haifa FC and will be the first Slovakian to feature in the ISL. Sylvestr became the club’s seventh and final foreign import for the 2020/21 ISL campaign.
A center-forward capable of playing across the line in the attacking third, Sylvestr will add a necessary attacking impetus to the two-time ISL champions.
The former Slovakian international will be taking over the attacking reins for the ISL side from last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis, who will now ply his trade for Owen Coyle's Jamshedpur FC.
“I am really excited about signing for CFC and coming to India for the first time. This is quite a new adventure for me – new continent, new family, new way of life living in the bubble and playing football. I am really looking forward to being with the team in Goa very soon. I will put my best foot forward to help the team succeed,” said Sylvestr on joining ISL side Chennaiyin FC.
The seasoned forward has appeared for close to a dozen clubs across five nations and we trace his eventful journey to the ISL.
Born in central Slovakia's Banská Bystrica, Jakub Sylvestr began his youth career at Jupie Podlavice at the age of 8. He spent seven years at Podlavice from 1997 to 2004 before moving to Dukla Banská Bystrica.
Sylvestr was snapped up by Slovakia's most successful club Slovan Bratislava in 2005 and his impressive performances for the youth setup paved way for his promotion to the senior team in 2007. He was loaned out to Petražalka in 2009, where he enjoyed a fruitful spell scoring 7 times in 14 appearances.
Sylvestr scored his first hat-trick against Tatran Prešov on 4th April 2009. His stay with the 'Belasí' ended in 2010 when Dinamo Zagreb came calling. He left Tehelné pole after scoring 13 goals in 77 matches and winning the Slovakian League and Slovakian Cup titles.
He was also a regular fixture of Slovakia's U-19 and U-20 sides during this time, scoring 2 goals in 11 appearances and 7 goals in 14 appearances for the U-19s and U-20s sides respectively.
Sylvestr joined Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb in 2010 and won both the Croatian top-flight title and cup competitions. He played alongside Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric and Sime Vrsaljko at Zagreb. Sylvestr could only manage two goals in 32 appearances for the Modri and left for Germany in 2012.
After representing Slovakia at the youth level, Sylvestr earned a call-up to the national team and made his senior international debut in 2010 against North Macedonia in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier.
Sylvestr was roped in by German second division outfit Erzgebirge Aue in 2012. He had his most productive campaign in the 2013-14 season, netting 15 en route to becoming the 2. Bundesliga’s top scorer. Slyvestr's prolific performances earned him a move to Bavaria based 1. FC Nürnberg and he departed the Erzgebirgsstadion with 23 goals in 66 matches.
Sylvestr scored 10 goals in his 42 appearances across three years at Nuremberg. He was sent out on a short loan to SC Paderborn in 2016, where he failed to find the net in 4 appearances.
Short stint at Denmark and move to Israel
Sylvestr had a brief stay at Danish Superliga side Aalborg BK. On 19 February 2017, Sylvestr scored in his league debut for the club. In his second match, he scored a hat-trick and was voted February's Danish Super League Player of the Month. He left Denmark in December 2017 in a move to Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem.
That was followed by stints at Bnei Yahuda, F.C. Ashdod and Hapoel Haifa. Sylvestr scored 20 goals in 49 starts at the four clubs, spread over two-and-a-half seasons in the Israeli top flight. He also won the 2018-19 Israel State Cup with Bnei Yahuda.
ISL outfit Chennaiyin FC officially confirmed their acquisition of Sylvestr on October 20th. The Slovak has penned a year long deal and will sport the number 12 shirt at CFC in the 2020-21 ISL season.Published 23 Oct 2020, 18:15 IST