With barely a couple of weeks of preparation, the clashes at the end of year tournament, they represent a weak indicator of the form status of the Premium Liiga clubs. At the same time, we will try to draw some conclusions and impressions through the eyes of our correspondent from the Kalev indoor hall, Deni Delev.
Obviously, these games are far from the real football. ‘It is far from a real game,’ says Deni who followed the second day of the tournament ‘we’re also far from a training standard. They were changing the teams every 3-4 minutes as it happens in ice-hockey’ therefore the ‘hockey-football nickname.
There’s also chance for spectacular goals. ‘Levadia’s keeper, Pikker, managed to score from his own box even if it was by chance,’ recounts Deni amused.
CLUB BY CLUB
How Deni rate each club seen? Our Makedonian reporter starts with Kalju who presented a team packed with youngsters and rested the veterans. ‘The most known players were strikers Robert Kirss and Andre Järva,’ Kalju’s aim was to avoid players getting injured. It is still fresh the memory of Ken Kallaste picking up an injury in 2013 tournament. Deni was not particularly impressed with the display, even though the result of this tournament it is not really telling about the upcoming season. Kalju, from the statistical point of view, collected 5 points in 9 games (each team plays the other only once) by winning just one.
Levadia instead had a solid display clinching the third place (just 3 points behind winner Flora) and offering Rimo Hunt as a returning topscorer: 9 goals. ‘Also Levadia had mostly youngsters,’ observes Deni who obviously rates an hypothetical return of the 2013 topscorer as high value for the defending champions. However, Marko Kristal stressed his main concern is the central defence ‘full of holes’.
Flora were the ones to field many first-team players and this certainly helped in winning the tournament for the second year running. ‘Sakari looks decent,’ concludes Deni talking about the Finnish striker signed by Flora soon after Christmas ‘robust attacker that might be what Flora needs.’ In Norbert Hurt’s words, Flora’s team is completed.
The protagonist of the transfer market, FC Infonet, gave also a positive impression to our reporter: ‘they played quite well too, at least the games I saw and even though they rested Ivanov yesterday, it looks like they will play both him and Manucho up front,’ Pushtov is certainly working at a new formation, 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2. In his opinion, the team is 90% done.
He cannot spend the same words for Sillamäe, which actually was weakened by Infonet itself. ‘They indeed look drastically downsized,’ says Deni confirming Frantsev’s words that they are obviously looking for a striker to replace Evgeni Kabaev and probably some other additions. They were already testing the duo from Tammeka (Suurpere and Paju) and a 34-year-old Russian midfielder.
Narva Trans were a positive surprise as they collected 16 points and placed themselves 5th. ‘ They were there to fight mainly,’ adds Deni ‘in those games I watched they were very aggressive.’ If they manage to translate that to the upcoming season, a game against Trans might represent again an hassle for top clubs.
What about Tammeka? It seems the Tartuvians will have to defy odds once and again. ‘They will struggle if they don't add anything to their squad as once and again they mainly featured anonymous footballers for this tournament,’ concludes Deni.
With Lokomotiv Jõhvi quitting, newly promoted Pärnu Linnameeskond were invited to the top-league tournament. ‘Pärnu looked lively but they will need some time to get accustomed to PL,’ previews our reporter. Kalev were at the swan’s song with the top-flight sides and ‘they were playing actually surprisingly well,’ reveals Deni adding that it is probably a bunch of young Estonians with the desire to get transfer to a bigger club. Their desire did not save them from the 9th place though.
Here is a list of possible transfers as for what seen at the tournament.
The following players are testing at the clubs or they just played at the tournament. If they will be offered a contract, the clubs will opt to sign them in January. In our transfer market special article you can find all the movements up to now.
Valentin Reshetnjov (Petrozavodsk Karelia, RUS)
Martin Ustaal (Levadia)
Artjom Dmitrijev (FC Infonet)
Janek Remmelgas (comes from futsal and beach soccer)
Stefan Järv (Levadia)
Marion Adusoo (JK Visadus)
Meelis Peitre (Kalev Tallinn)
Ats Sillaste (JK Visadus)
Lauri Välja (MC Tallinn)
Oleksandr Volchkov (Levadia)
Geir-Kristian Suurpere (Tammeka)
Andre Paju (Tammeka)
Juri Solntsev (Dinamo St.Petersburg, RUS)
Aleksander Ivanjushin (Lokomotiv Jõhvi)
Marek Kaljumäe (Levadia)
Kevin Kaivoja (Lokomotiv Jõhvi)
Kevin Ingermann (-)
Janno Saks (Kiviõli Orbis)
Kristian Moks (Võru JK)
Rauno Tutk (-)
Rando Leokin (Keila JK)
Raido Leokin (Keila JK)
Ander Paabut (Vändra Vaprus)
Magnus Villota (Pärnu JK)
Hevar Aas (Pärnu Metropol)
Greger Könninge (Vändra Vaprus)
Martin Allik (-)
Maario Laansoo (-)