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Czech Republic acclaims Lafata and Vrba

Published: Sunday 29 March 2015, 20.34CET
David Lafata has ended Petr Čech's six-year reign as the Czech Republic's player of the year, with national-team boss Pavel Vrba acclaimed for the fifth time in succession.
Czech Republic acclaims Lafata and Vrba
David Lafata has been named Czech player of the year for 2014 ©Getty Images

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Published: Sunday 29 March 2015, 20.34CET

Czech Republic acclaims Lafata and Vrba

David Lafata has ended Petr Čech's six-year reign as the Czech Republic's player of the year, with national-team boss Pavel Vrba acclaimed for the fifth time in succession.

AC Sparta Praha forward David Lafata has been voted the Czech Republic's footballer of the year for 2014, ending a run of six straight wins for goalkeeper Petr Čech in the nation's most important footballing poll. However, Pavel Vrba's reign as the country's best coach continued into a fifth successive year.

"I am not a great fan of individual prizes as football is a team sport, but when I saw the list of previous winners I realised what a great honour this is for me," said 33-year-old Czech international Lafata, who is the first player to take the accolade while plying his trade in the domestic league since FK Drnovice forward Radek Drulák got the most votes in 1995.

Vrba, meanwhile, was glad to receive his award for the first time since becoming Czech Republic national-team coach in late 2013. "There is a tremendous difference between club and international coaching," said the 51-year-old, who needs two more wins to equal Karel Brückner's record of seven coach of the year gongs. "At club level, I got the prize for about 50 games played under constant pressure. I did not feel I was a favourite this time."

Full-back Pavel Kadeřábek finished second behind club-mate Lafata in the players poll and Arsenal FC midfielder Tomáš Rosický was third. FC Viktoria Plzeň defender Jan Baránek was voted young player of the year, while Sparta's international secretary and former UEFA official Rudolf Baťa was inducted into the nation's footballing hall of fame.

Last updated: 29/03/15 20.53CET

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