Inside the life of Pavol Safranko

Pavol Safranko (born 16 November 1994) is a Slovak professional footballer who plays as a forward for Mamelodi Sundowns and the Slovakia national football team.

Pavol Safranko

Pavol Safranko
A picture of Pavol Safranko

Date of birth: 16 November 1994 (age 27)
Place of birth: Stropkov, Slovakia
Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s): Forward

Club information

Current team

Mamelodi Sundowns Number 9

Youth career

2009–2011Tesla Stropkov
2011–2013 Tatran Prešov

Senior career

Years Team Apps (Gls)
2013–2016 Tatran Prešov 56 (17)
2016→ ŽP Šport Podbrezová (loan) 32 (5)
2017 Dunajská Streda 16 (6)
2017–2019 Aalborg 30 (2)
2018–2019→ Dundee United (loan) 33 (12)
2019–2021 Sepsi Sfântu Gheorghe 68 (17)
2021– Mamelodi Sundowns 7 (2)

National team‡

2015–2017 Slovakia U218(3)
2017–2020 Slovakia 10 (0)*

Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:14, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 2 December 2020

Club information:

Tesla Stropkov

Franko began his football career with the small club Tesla Stropkov in Stropkov, eastern Slovakia, whose senior team only competes in the lower regional divisions of the Slovak football league system. He eventually relocated to Tatran Preov, Slovakia’s oldest and largest club in the Preov Region, where he spent two years in the youth levels.

Pavol Safranko full biography
Pavol Safranko full biography

Following his graduation from the academy, he made his competitive debut for Tatran in an II. liga match against Spartak Trnava B in the first round, winning 7–0. He came on as a substitute for Peter Nworah in the 82nd minute. In his debut season of senior football, he appeared in 18 games but only once in the starting lineup. Overall, in his first season in senior football, he made 18 appearances, but made it to the starting line-up only once, again against Spartak Trnava B, on 6 October 2013

Read: Mlungisi Duncan Ndebele biography

ŽP Šport Podbrezová

Franko played 38 games and scored 20 goals in the next one and a half seasons he spent in Preov. Despite being a community of just over 4,000 people, his strong performances earned him a transfer to P port Podbrezová, a top league club. On February 27, 2016, afranko made his Fortuna liga debut in a 1–0 home win over Senica. Unlike his first season at Tatran, afranko was instantly promoted to the starting lineup, despite scoring only one goal against Zempln Michalovce (2–0 win) on April 2, 2016. In the autumn of the 2016–17 Fortuna liga, he scored four goals in 18 games, garnering the attention of DAC Dunajská Streda, a promising club from the top half of the table.

DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda

Franko was transferred to his first international club after only half a year at DAC, where he scored six goals in 17 competitive games. On August 21, 2017, it was reported that he would be joining Aalborg in the Superligaen.

Read: David Sebe biography – wife, age, career

AaB Aalborg

In Aalborg, Safranko was joined by two of his countrymen: Filip Lesniak, a young defensive midfielder who is the grandson of former Slovakia national team coach Ján Kozák, and Jakub Sylvestr, a former international. He was instantly promoted to the starting lineup in his first match, a goalless draw against Aarhus on August 26, 2017. Franko only scored two goals in 28 games while playing largely as a center-forward, and his playing time decreased as the season continued.

Loan at Dundee United

As a result, following the first few weeks of the 2018–19 season, Safranko was loaned to Dundee United of the Scottish Championship. Safranko made an immediate impression upon his arrival in Scotland. He scored the second goal in a 2–1 win against Queen of the South in his debut match, and he scored seven more goals before the end of the calendar year, the most of them in September and October.

Safranko continued to be productive in 2019, scoring 6 more goals (2 in the SFA Cup), several in the final important rounds of the regular season, which saw Dundee United finish second, 6 points behind Ross County, but qualify for the Premiership relegation play-offs.