Following the departure of Lithuanian Nerijus Valskis, who finished as the Golden Boot winner for Chennaiyin FC last season, the team needed someone who could fill his massive boots. With the signing of 31-year-old Slovakian forward Jakub Sylvestr, the club will hope they don't feel Valskis' absence this season.
Jakub Sylvestr joined the club on a free transfer from Hapoel Haifa in the Israel top flight, but just who is Sylvestr and how has his journey to the Chennai side been like?
#1. Early days in Slovakia
Jakub Sylvestr broke into professional football with Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, officially joining the club 2005. He enjoyed success early in the four years that he spent at the club. With Slovan Bratislava, Jakub Sylvestr won the Slovakian League and multiple cup titles, establishing himself as a promising young centre-forward.
#2. Joining Dinamo Zagreb and Slyvestr's nomadic journey
In 2010, Sylvestr joined Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, enjoying a successful two-year spell at the club. He won the Croatian League and the Croatian Football Cup, scoring important goals along the way.
The German second division then beckoned, and Sylvestr joined Erzgebirge Aue, with the view of helping the team gain promotion to the Bundesliga.
From the team's perspective, however, the season was a disappointing one as Aue finished a lowly 14th in the table. But for Sylvestr, it was a great season on a personal level. He finished the season tied as the league's highest scorer alongside Turkey's Mahir Saglik with 15 goals.
Spells at FC Nuremberg (2014-16) and SC Paderborn (2016) followed before Sylvestr joined Aalborg BK briefly in Denmark.
#3 - Success in Israel and move to India
Sylvestr then moved to Israel in 2018 and enjoyed a mini-resurrection in his career in terms of personal form. He spent two and a half seasons in the top flight, winning the 2018-19 State Cup with Bnei Yahuda.
Most recently, he played for Hapoel Haifa during the 2019-20 season. Sylvestr signed for Chennaiyin FC on a free transfer and will hope to replicate the form he showed in Israel as the ISL look to challenge for the title once again.
It is worth noting that Jakub Sylvestr has also made six appearances for the Slovakian national team, indicating the calibre pf the player and the class he possesses. It is only a matter of time now before we find out what he can bring to Chennaiyin FC.Published 19 Nov 2020, 15:49 IST