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.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.