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Premium Liiga 2015 guide: Nõmme Kalju

Angelo PalmeriComment

CLICK TO ENLARGE CLUB CARD - jersey numbers as per friendly games/website

Story and facts in brief

Originally founded in 1923 it was re-established in 1997. The club turn in history was when entrepreneur Kuno Tehva decided to take over and set a new strategy to reach Premium Liiga in few years and win the title. It was 2002 and it took exactly 10 years for Tehva to realize his dream and bring the national title to Nõmme (2012), one of the most green districts of Tallinn in the city belt bringing to Pärnu. The dream went further as the club managed to reach the Europa League play-offs in 2013 after playing four games in the Champions League preliminary (HJK Helsinki and Viktoria Plzen their opponents). The club has set the trend on marketing applied to football with appealing campaigns.

'The Pink Panthers' (Roosad Pantrid Facebook page)

'The Pink Panthers' (Roosad Pantrid Facebook page)

Due to policy restricting the import of foreigners (read more here) Kalju are now looking inwards at the academy.

Their nickname is ‘The Pink Panthers’ (‘Roosad Pantrid’) as they used to play with pink Lotto jerseys in the same fashion as Sicilian club US Palermo. It is also the fans group name who have formed a non-league club (Roosad Pantrid) and won the Rahvaliiga (non-league) title in 2014.  

Transfers (full stories here)

ARRIVALS
Vladimir Voskoboinikov (EST - FWD, end of loan to Qingdao Hainiu, CHN)
Siim-Sten Palm (EST - GK, Paide Linnameeskond)
Artjom Dmitrijev (EST - MF, FC Infonet)
Ats Purje (EST - LW, KuPS, FIN)
Erki Junolainen (EST - AMF, FC Flora)
Joel Lindpere (EST - LW/AMF, free agent)

DEPARTURES
Mihkel Ainsalu (EST - CMF, FC Flora)
Richard Aland (EST - GK, FC Flora)
Damiano Quintieri (ITA -FWD, free agent)
Martin Vunk (EST - CMF, Persija Jakarta, IDN)
Fabio Prates (BRA - CMF, free agent)
Felipe Nunes (BRA - FWD, free agent)
Tihhon Śiśov (EST - RB, Sillamäe Kalev)
Janar Toomet (EST - RW, Sillamäe Kalev)
Jarmo Ahjupera (EST - FW, free agent)
Robert Kirss (EST - FW, on loan to Pärnu Linnameeskond)

Coach: Sergei Terehhov (new)

Registered players on Premium Liiga official website

Double Team

Hidetoshi Wakui is about to start his 5th season at Kalju, the clubs he's been the longest

Hidetoshi Wakui is about to start his 5th season at Kalju, the clubs he's been the longest

Realistic target for 2014

Let’s be honest, when the coach change was announced at the end of the 2014 season, very few of us believed Sergei Terehhov would have the experience to take on the coaching role.

Obviously, a lot is to be proved however, the pre-season has shown that ‘Terja’ is willing to change the way Kalju play and bring a nicer version of  build-up.

In theory, forget balls kicked long to the flanks or the target striker (returning Vladimir Voskoboinikov or the ‘evergreen’ Tarmo Neemelo), Kalju will try to build a network of passes before accelerating suddenly in the last twenty meters.
The sudden jerks shall be provided by the star-signing, Ats Purje and the returning Kimbaloula. Wakui will be mastering in between behind the target striker while a couple of defensive midfielders (Reginald-A.Dmitrjev) shall provide adequate protection. Alo Bärengrub and/or Jorge Rodrigues will guide the defence. Karl Mööl will have to wait for his debut as right full-back until the the start of season. An injury picked up against FC Lahti will keep the young international out for about a month. In his place, Henrik Pürg can have confident performances. On the left flank, Ken Kallaste is confirmed until there is a chance to go abroad. If he goes abroad, then Kalju might have to think whether Nicolas Galpin will be enough to fill the hole, as the Frenchman hasn’t impressed much since last season spent with the double. The left full-back role might be Kalju’s achilles heel.

Former Flora Erki Junolainen and former Paide Martin Ustaal (playing rights belonging to Levadia though) shall be close to signing a contract and be valid additions in the middle of the park.

Nõmme Kalju have always to be counted for the title fight, especially considering also the other traditional opponents (Levadia and Flora) have issues to address. The 4th place last season screams for redemption. Kalju are challenging the podium with renewed enthusiasm and will likely access Europa League via the Estonian cup route.

He had already an impact last season (here awarded as MOTM by public TV) can confirm further: Henrik Pürg (sport.err.ee)

He had already an impact last season (here awarded as MOTM by public TV) can confirm further: Henrik Pürg (sport.err.ee)

Rising stars

Definitely Henrik Pürg can step up further this season, either as a central defender or as a full back. Magnus Pehrsson (Estonian national team coach) is keeping an eye on him. Artjom Dmitrjev is 26 and with some experience abroad (Lithuania and Belgium), after a low-profile season at FC Infonet, he’s looking for redemption at Kalju and could be a huge asset in the title race as he can adapt in different roles apart being a striker.

We indicated him last year, however a good share of bad luck and health problems have prevented Andre Järva from having his say. We give a little stake this time too because if Italian Serie A side, Atalanta BFC, wanted you for a trial, it means that you must be having something. Forza Andre!

Ats_Purje.jpg

Added value
Obviously Ats Purje (above picture by jkkalju.ee, left). Can score, can assist and in general can give Kalju something more up front. If fit, Kalju's key-signing can leave the footprint on season 2015.