February 28, 2009: February Round-Up:


A ton of news for you in this month’s roundup: The Formula Division changes name to the Vodafone Division. Goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen joins Manchester City. New club Ravnur FC becomes the 23rd member of the Faroese Football Association. The F.A. pulls of a coup selling their TV rights to sports rights agency Kentaro. And loads of other news. But we begin with a rant:p


Rant

The main issue in Faroese football during the last month has again been the hurting economy at many of the clubs. The global economic crisis has been blamed. But really, that’s just a bad excuse. The truth is rather that Faroese clubs have been spending tons of money on players that were not really worth the amount. – And an amount the clubs couldn’t really afford in the first place.

It’s a bit funny to see many of the clubs now standing in a long row accusing players for having been greedy, and to hear clubs saying that they now want players who play with their heart and not for money only. Well, maybe these clubs have forgotten who started the “salary-party”. It was the clubs chasing the players with a wheelbarrow full of money in the hope of winning an easy title. Isn’t that what’s called hypocrisy?

However, the Football Association has now made stricter rules when it comes to the clubs’ balance sheet. If the bottom line is a red mess, the F.A. now has the option to sanction the club with drop of points or have the club relegated two divisions. And in worst case, a club can be expelled from the tournament altogether.

The news from around – both clubs and players – is that player wages have now been lowered considerably. The question is how long it will last. When the economy recovers in society as a whole, are the clubs going to remain as sensible as they are at the moment or will they lose their sanity again?


Finding new national coach has no hurry

The president of the football association Høgni í Stórustovu has said that they are in no hurry in finding a new national coach and that the friendly international against Iceland on March 22nd will be played under two caretaking coaches. One of those will be current assistant coach Jens Martin Knudsen, the former goalkeeper. The other one has not been named yet.

The F.A. didn’t want to give any clues whatsoever on when the new coach for the national team could be expected to be revealed. Earlier in the month, the F.A. was very close to getting the signature of Colin Calderwood, but he slipped out of their hands at the last moment.

This time the F.A. is keeping their cards a lot closer to its chest, and the president said that nothing would be leaked to the media until they are 100% sure of the signature of a new national coach.


Formula Division becomes Vodafone Division

The top division of the Faroese football league which for 4 years has been called the Formula Division (Formuladeildin) after its sponsor, the IT company Formula.fo, has now changed name to the Vodafone Division (Vodafone deildin), as Formula chose to drop out. The deal with Vodafone is set to run for 3 years. So that’s the new name to get acquainted with: the Vodafone Division.


Transfer window

The transfer window was initially supposed to have closed on February 19, but the F.A. has decided to delay the closing to Thursday, March 12th at midnight.


Ravnur FC official member of the Faroese Football Association

At the F.A.’s general assembly last Saturday, new club Ravnur FC (Raven in English) was officially accepted as a member of the Football Association.

Ravnur is the 23rd member of the association. The club has its domicile in Saltangará, which is more or less the same place as Runavík (the locals will disagree completely with this statement however :-) where NSÍ is from. But Ravnur has no home ground yet, but they expect they will solve that problem soon, by playing on the pitch of a nearby club. Ravnur will play its first season in the 3rd division (4th level). So far, they have about 25-30 active members.


Football Association earns 64 million DKK on TV rights

The Football Association has pulled off a coup by selling the TV rights for the next 4 years for a record 64 million DKK (close to 11 million US Dollars) to the sports rights agency Kentaro. That’s almost 6 times the value of the previous deal with Sportfive. For Faroese football, such an amount of money can make tremendous impact. But only if used wisely, of course.


2009 fixture list

The fixture list for the 2009 Formula oops Vodafone Division has still not been announced, but the 2008 list has now been removed from the Football Association’s website, so we can probably expect to see the new fixture list soon.


Goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen joins Manchester City

Goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen, who has been goalkeeper for the Faroe Islands Under 21’s, last week signed a two and a half year contract with Premier League club Manchester City.

Obviously, City boss Mark Huges sees great potential in Nielsen, because when Hughes became manager at Blackburn in the summer of 2007, his first signing there was Gunnar Nielsen. Later, Hughes moved on to Manchester City, and with him followed Blackburn’s goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock. And now they wanted Nielsen to join them again. And don’t expect Hughes to be in the charity business, so when he wants Nielsen in his fold again – maybe recommended by goalkeeping coach Hitchcock – it can only be because they clearly believe in the Faroese keeper. - A tremendous vote of confidence.

When Hughes had signed Nielsen (for Blackburn) in 2007, Hughes said: "He is a very raw talent who hasn't had a great deal of football at any kind of level. However, in the short time that he was here, he impressed us. The raw material is there, he's a big guy with good physique and looks a natural athlete and a good shape for a goalkeeper."

When Gunnar Nielsen became 22 and too old to play for the U21 team, Faroe Islands coach Jógvan Martin Olsen immediately drafted him into the Faroese senior team last October, where he was reserve goalkeeper in the matches against Austria and Lithuania.

It would only be natural to let Gunnar Nielsen get at least one half in the friendly match against Iceland in March. It would be a perfect match to test Nielsen’s level.

At Manchester City, Nielsen will have fierce competition for the spot in the goal. First choice (for now:-) is Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. In addition, there are England U21 keeper Joe Hart and the Dane Kasper Schmeichel, son of legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.


Jónas Tór Næs no Norwegian contract

In last month’s roundup, we wrote that Faroese international Jónas Tór Næs was having a second spell in a trial at Norwegian 1st division club Notodden FK, but he has not been offered a contract, however.

But Notodden still described Næs as an exciting player, but the economic resources didn’t allow a contract to be signed this time around, the club said. But Notodden didn’t rule out that they might get in touch with Næs again some other time.


Rógvi Holm extends Aberdeen contract

19 year old Rógvi Holm (originally from AB Argir), who joined Aberdeen in September last year, has just signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club to the summer of 2010. So far, Holm has been playing for the reserves. But Aberdeen seems to have great faith in him. You can read an interview with the youngster in the Evening Express here.

Aberdeen also have a couple of other Faroese guys in their fold; midfielder Hallur Hansson and striker Gilli Sørensen. Both are 16 years old and came from HB Tórshavn, but Hansson is originally from VB Vágur and Sørensen from TB Tvøroyri.


Samuelsen and Johnsson ready for Faroe Islands return

EB/Streymur ball wizard Hans Pauli Samuelsen, who has been in a self-imposed exile from the Faroese national team for about a year, has told that he is available for selection again.

Another man with a similar message is Julian Johnsson who retired from the international stage in 2006 after 62 caps and 4 goals for the Faroe Islands. A serious knee injury in 2005, which he didn’t fully recover from, helped make that decision then.

But now he is fully fit again and is playing for FC Svendborg in the Danish 2nd division (3 tier). And more importantly, he’s available for selection for the Faroe Islands again, he says.

But he has now become 34, and it must be considered unlikely that a new Faroe Islands coach is going to pick Johnsson.

You can read about Julian Johnssons retirement in 2006 here


French fearing Faroes?

The French national coach Raymond Domenech has urged the French F.A. to start the French league a week earlier than planned because France is playing against the Faroe Islands on August 12. That would allow the French players to get some needed match fitness.

So is Domenech really afraid of the Faroe Islands? Nah, probably not. He’s just being super professional.



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Club news
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07 Vestur

There hasn´t been much news coming from 07 Vestur since their promotion, but we have managed to dig something up for you this time.

We have earlier reported that the contract with Andrzej Stretowicz from Poland was not extended (he has now joined Dolcan Zabki in his native country), and now we have learned that Jovan Radinovic Panic from Serbia is not continuing either. Panic originally came to HB Tórshavn a few games into the 2006 season and was a regular on the creative midfield in HB’s title winning team that year. Panic has now joined FK PKB Padinska Skela in Serbia.

Between them, Stretowic and Panic scored 29 goals for 07 Vestur last season. In total, 07 Vestur scored an impressive 114 goals in 27 matches!

However, 07 Vestur have acquired some new men for their squad. From Brazil they have a Ricardo. He has already made his impact with a couple of goals against B68 in a friendly earlier in the week. Ricardo is one of two Brazilians in the team now, as they also have Alexandre Da Silva Braga who has been there for a few years now.

In midfield they have a new player in Milan Pejcic from Serbia. Last season he played for NSÍ Runavík. – A decent player, but not a fabulous one. But 07 Vestur probably needs a midfielder like Pejic who is not as offensive minded as the others mentioned.

07 Vestur also have also brought in another former acquaintance from NSÍ in Nigerian forward Ikechukwu Onyema, usually only called Ike. He originally joined NSÍ in 2004. After a few years away from the Faroes, he joined AB Argir late last season, but didn’t make much of an impact there. (In-between he has amongst other places been in Albania).

From HB Tórshavn, 07 Vestur have also gotten defender Torkil Kollsker, but he doesn´t have much top flight experience.

Update: On Sunday March 1st we were told that 07 Vestur have decided to part with Nigerian forward Ike (Ikechukwu Onyema) as he doesn't bring the qualities Vestur is looking for.

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AB Argir

AB have signed a contract with the Ivorian defender Tehe Aristide who had been on trial with them for a few weeks.

A week ago, AB also signed 20-year-old Welshman Liam Killa who plays in midfield. Killa has played for Wales’ U15, U16 and U19 national team. He has been at Cardiff City for the past year and has earlier been 7 years at Swansea City. In 2006 and 2007 he played for Icelandic side Haukar Hafnarfjørður, who became last in the 1st divison (2nd tier) in 2006 and were relegated to the 3rd tier, but now they are back in the 2nd tier.

With this “killa-signing”, AB is becoming a team of very mixed nationalities with two Ivorian, a Welshman, an Argentinian, and one or two Danes in addition to the Faroese players.

AB have also brought in 28 year old goalkeeper Danny Rasmussen from HB to compete with Heðin Stenberg for the place between the sticks. Danny played a couple of matches for HB’s 1st team in 2004, but has otherwise mostly been reserve or played as an outfield player in other divisions. Originally, he is from AB, however.

Update: A few hours after this round-up was completed, the news broke that AB Argir are after all not going to hold on to the Argentinean defender Leonel Peña, whom they signed last November. Reportedly, he has not lived up to AB’s expectations.

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B36 Tórshavn

About two weeks into February, B36’s coach Heðin Askham resigned from his post. The plan was that he should be at the helm this season also, but reportedly B36 have been behind in paying his wages for last season. Askham expected things concerning his wages to be sorted out eventually, however, but his decision to resign remains in force.

With the new season fast approaching, B36 couldn’t afford to spend much time looking for a new coach. – And they didn’t, because just a day after, B36 announced that they had appointed Mikkjal Thomassen and Milan Cimburovic as new coaches. Thomassen, who was a 1st choice on the Faroe Islands midfield, played for EB/Streymur last season, but just recently decided to retire. Before joining EB/Streymur last season, Thomassen played in B36’s midfield for a number of years. Cimburovic was youth coach at B36 last season. – A job he will continue with as well. The Serb has been in the Faroe Islands for more than 10 years, where he has spent most of his time in Suðuroy (the southern most island) where he has been coaching the senior teams of Royn, Sumba and TB. In 1999 he was also coach for NSÍ Runavík for a short spell before he was sacked.

Because of the hurting financial situation at B36, they also had to let go of their Brazlilian darling, left back Alex dos Santos who has gone to champions EB/Streymur. Santos is a very offensive minded left back and a joy for the crowd to watch when he’s moving forward, but maybe he is not quite the incredible defender as the B36 faithful see him as. Santos is almost a replica of his more famous compatriot Roberto Carlos. Santos also has a fierce left foot. However, he didn’t score a single league goal in 2008.

Another defender lost for B36 this season is Odmar Færø who has signed a contract with Brøndby in Denmark until the Danish league finishes in the summer. He’ll be training and playing for the U21 team, though – not the seniors. The 19 year old had a trial at Danish club AC Horsens last autumn and although he wasn’t signed then, Horsen’s coach Kent Nielsen obviously liked him, because Nielsen, who meanwhile has become coach at league leaders Brøndby, now wanted to sign the player. Færø also had two impressive displays for B36 against exactly Brøndby in the UEFA cup last summer.

Odmar Færø has lived in Scotland for the majority of his life as his father moved to Scotland to work as dentist when Færø was 3. In Scotland he has played for West Hill Boys, Dyce and Keith. Færø joined B36 midway through the 2007 season.

Færø’s father and grand father, who both are also called Odmar Færø, have both played for B36’s 1st team.

But it’s not just outgoing traffic from B36 as they have acquired VB/Sumba central defender Mortan úr Hørg who last season was voted as their player of the year by the club. He is the brother of Mortan úr Hørg who plays for HB Tórshavn.

At the moment, two players from abroad, goalkeeper Andreas from Denmark and outfield player Thomas from Austria, are on a trial at B36.

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B68 Toftir

From B68 there is no news this time.

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EB/Streymur

As mentioned in the B36 section, champions EB/Streymur have signed Brazilian left back Alex dos Santos from B36. Sounds like a terrifying counterattack EB/Streymur will have in the coming season. From Santos at left back to Hans Pauli Samuelsen in midfield to forward Arnbjørn Hansen to the back of the net will take about 7 seconds!

Also another defender has joined from B36. His name is Bárður Joensen, but he hasn’t played much 1st team football in the last couple of seasons.

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HB Tórshavn

Christian Mouritsen, who rejoined HB last summer after 3 years at Manchester City’s youth academy, has just gone to Spain where he is attending The Glenn Hoddle Football Academy for 25 days, with an option to prolong the stay, if things go well.

The academy works as a showroom where scouts from all over are keeping their watchful eyes on a possible bargain. One of the 4 coaches is the former England coach Glenn Hoddle.

Christian Mouritsen, who has only played 18 minutes for HB in the Formula Division since his return last summer, is determined to sign a contract overseas again. But should it not happen this time around, he’ll return to the Faroese league and play there for a while – until he gets another opportunity somewhere…

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ÍF Fuglafjørður

It has earlier been reported that influential defender Bartal Eliasen would not play for ÍF this season as he had moved to Denmark, but the news is now that Eliasen is coming back and will be ready to turn out for ÍF again in 2009.

And finally Rógvi Jacobsen’s future has been decided, as he has signed a two year contract with ÍF.

As reported previously, KÍ had to release the striker from his contract because they suddenly found out that they couldn’t afford to pay his wages because of economic problems at the club.

Jacobsen is the record goal scorer for the Faroe Islands with 10 goals. His main force is his aerial strength, and together with Bartal Eliasen who is equally as strong with the head, the duo could become a brutal force in front of goal in connection with corners and other set pieces. If ÍF are trailing when the clock has reached 80 minutes, then we can be sure that the ÍF-team will be kicking high balls forward, aiming for the heads of Eliasen and Jacobsen…

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KÍ Klaksvík

As mentioned right above, KÍ has had to release striker Rógvi Jacobsen, who has joined ÍF Fuglafjørður.

KÍ’s goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen, who is also KÍ’s coach this year in tandem with Alexandar Djordjevic, has announced that he will continue his international career to the end of this season. But then he’ll retire from the national team. The question is then if he will retire as 1st choice goalkeeper or if he will have become reserve for Gunnar Nielsen, who is knocking heavily on the door.

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NSÍ Runavík

From NSÍ there is no news this time.

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Víkingur

And from Víkingur, the same story. I.E. no story :-)

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And today, 28th of March, it’s just 5 weeks until the league kicks off …On April 5th! But see you on the next round up at the end of March :-) However, we'll probably have a short match report from the friendly international against Iceland on March 22nd.

Ps.: If you´re interested in results from the pre-season friendly matches, then go to the frontpage of the Faroese section and look for the link on the right hand side named “Pre-season Friendlies 2009”. I believe all the results are there (although I can´t guarantee that I haven´t missed one).



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