I can still remember the exact moment I was swept off my feet by Tomas Pekhart. Not physically mind you, and not in some weird obsessive love way, but in the football way. It doesn’t always take much, a deft move around a defender, a clever dummy to allow a teammate to score, an appreciation of the little things in what we purists like to call ‘the beautiful game’.
I’m not too pretentious see, but like a wine connoisseur raises his nose at the regular, ‘popular’ choice, I like to find those hidden gems. Sometimes, it is in the depths of the Czech Gambrinus League, that you can find that perfect, smooth, talent. Plus, I love to see goals scored, Tomas Pekhart loves scoring them. It was destiny.
It was a crisp, late afternoon in Prague, with the sun slowly setting, a slight chill crept up on the city. I headed to the match with two friends, excited to finally be experiencing live football again after a winter hiatus. Slightly uncomfortable to be seeing an AC Sparta Prague match, and to support them as well though. This, the team that eliminated my beloved Lech Poznan from Champions League qualification, and gave Liverpool a right kicking during their Europa League tie. It all had a Romeo and Juliet overtone floating above it all…or something. We tucked in to some very reasonably priced beers and found our seats at midfield. During the warm-ups, I only noticed a few of the Prague players. No inclination of the bursting talent that was ready to unfold before my eyes. Enter the 5′ minute of the match. Enter, Tomas Pekhart.
Sparta had been dominating possession in the early minutes, and all of us in the stadium were expecting an early goal. Perhaps not as early as it came. A mix up in the Brno defense allowed Tomas to ghost in behind the central defender, with the far defender keeping a sloppy line, ensuring Pekhart was onside. He took a single touch on the ball in stride, took one look at the advancing goalkeeper, and from a tight angle at the side of the box, played a cheeky chip just over and in to the near post. Well that’s me done then, I was happy, ecstatic. I would have had no problem standing in my seat applauding Pekhart for the remaining 85 minutes if it had been prudent. Tomas scored one more, but came off in the second half without having completed his hat-trick. No matter.
I scoured the internet for more information about this 21-year old goal-scoring machine as soon as I got home. Spurs fans should be proud to know that Tomas graced their books for two years, playing in the Academy side as well as making reserve appearances. Injury kept him from living up to his sports peak, and he returned back to the Czech Republic, to play football regularly again. An impressive goal-scoring record at nearly every age level for his country, including the record for most goals for the U-21 squad, Pekhart has won his first cap for his country at senior level also. With good size, speed and technique, Tomas wouldn’t have any trouble joining up with teams in some of the bigger leagues in the continent.
Should his career keep advancing as it is, Pekhart could easily become the next Jan Koller for his country, a cog in the machine that the Czech’s have been missing for a few years now. This will definitely be a player you will hear about in the next 5 years.