International week is here again, it’s that time when the flu viruses and calf strains suddenly appear. It’s amazing how frequently top players will be held back by club doctors, or a sudden bout of flu appears and the player cannot join up with their international team mates. It’s a fully understandable scenario on both sides of the coin, but its hit a whole new comedy high here in the Czech Republic. The excellent Czech journalist Michal Petrák bought this to my attention this morning.
Sparta Prague had announced that Vaclav Kadlec (virus), Tomas Pekhart (virus) and Manuel Pamic (knee) would not be available for International duty. Fair enough you might think, but Sparta played a friendly match yesterday with Zenit St Petersberg – and all 3 players featured! Sparta, of course have a massive double-header with Liverpool coming up in The Europa League. So to lose 3 important players for a week would disrupt their preparations, but this plan is straight out of Scooby Doo.
To try to avoid getting caught, Sparta gave the players a different shirt to wear so they wouldn’t be recognized by the attending media. Which might sound like a good idea, but when you give Pekhart (a 6ft 3 white Czech) a shirt which belongs to a black player, you are destined to get found out. Epic fail. The Czech U21 player Tomas Pekhart, was sporting the shirt of Martin Abena, the Cameroonian defensive midfielder!
You couldn’t have scripted this whole episode, a complete mess from beginning to end. Sparta’s official stance was that the three players in question had made a full unexpected recovery over the last few days. And due to the unexpected recovery of the players, they didn’t have the correct shirts.
Funny how the players made to the friendly but not the kit? To read the fully story (in Czech) click here.