Slice of Cheese

Zebras Win Sklenar Sweepstakes

Hobart Zebras have made the biggest move of the off season to date, announcing the signing of reigning NPL TAS Golden Boot winner and Players MVP Winner, Jakub Sklenar for the 2018 season. After months of speculation as to his future, Sklenar has now committed to the Zebras and he will provide a major boost to their title hopes.

The Czech hot-shot will make the move to Zebras from bitter rivals Olympia, crossing over after a campaign in which he scored 28 goals in 19 league games as well as 9 in 4 Lakoseljac Cup outings as he routinely tore defences apart.

The signing of Sklenar represents a major coup for the Zebras who now possess the top two goal scorers in the league in the 2017 season in their squad. Sklenar will form a formidable strike partnership with Mathew Sanders, who has also committed his future to the club, offering Zebras the most potent strike force in the league.

Zebras president Nick DiGiovanni was delighted to have secured Sklenar’s signature and said it addressed a major need within the squad.

“We’re very glad he chose to play at Zebras. Having Matty Sanders and Jakub together will make for an interesting season in 2018, throw in Huigsloot and I think the other clubs will have a bit of fun trying to mark all 3 of them.”

“Last year we were defensively very good, and we looked at where we failed and it was our goal scoring that let us down, with Matty scoring most the goals so we thought we probably needed another striker in there to improve.”

DiGiovanni announcing the prized signature- Solstice Photography

DiGiovanni had been in contact with Sklenar since the end of the season trying to lure him across, as had a host of clubs with interest from Queensland, New South Wales and local NPL TAS sides South Hobart and Kingborough. Ultimately it was the offer to run the Zebras SAP Program that proved the sweetener to get the deal across the line and secure his services according to Sklenar.

“I’ve been lucky to have been offered the chance to to run the SAP Program which is a passion of mine, I want to coach the younger kids and so that was probably the main factor as to why I chose Zebras. I’m 27 and very passionate about being a soccer coach, it’s what I would like to do in the future so I think it’s time to start coaching on some level and gaining new experience.”

He said he held no ill will towards Olympia and thanked them for giving him the opportunity.

“It was a tough decision, we had a successful season at Olympia winning the Lakoseljac Cup and I am thankful for the opportunity that Olympia gave me to play in Tasmania in the NPL. I just decided it was time to move on and take up a new challenge.” 

Sklenar will link up with the squad next week as their pre-season training begins. Coach Gabriel Markaj flies into the state on Thursday night to begin his new role and begin devising a system to accommodate the new star striker at his disposal. The arrival of Sklenar presents intriguing possibilities and whether Markaj plays a formation that allows for 2 strikers or has Sanders dropping into a slightly deeper role remains to be seen.

Sklenar was named the 2017 Players MVP- Solstice Photography