Well, in a manner of speaking.
Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK) have a had a busy week, that culminated with the (now traditional) match between the first team and the supporters club (Klopit), who hold the honourary position of 12th man at SJK.
The match was played in a friendly, light-hearted atmosphere, indoors at the excellent Wallsport Areena in Seinäjoki, and although SJK are clearly the stronger team, the inclusion of a few SJK ‘old boys’ playing for Klopit evened things up and added a little frisson. The match ended 5-4 which was suspiciously close, and on investigation, it was discovered that the Klopit ended the game with 15 players on the pitch, a tactical innovation that Klopit ‘head coach’ Lari Paski should be proud of 🙂
This kind of activity only helps to cement the strong bond between the club and the supporters, so a big thank you from the Klopit to everyone at SJK.
In other news, earlier this week SJK announced a partnership agreement with FC Jazz from Pori, which will involve structured loaning of players between the clubs from the youth development through to first team squads. This will give players at both clubs the opportunity to progress and find their level as SJK are in the Veikkausliiga (Premier), FC Jazz are in Ykkonen (1st Division) and SJK ’07, the reserve team, play in Kakkonen )2nd Division.) This will support SJK’s future policy to develop more Finnish players.
It was also announced that Johnny Laaksonen, SJK’s midfield playmaker has been selected to join the Finnish National sqaud that is travelling to the UAE next week to play Sweden in Abu Dhabi and Sudan in Dubai. This is a well deserved reward for Johnny who was voted the Players Player of the Year in the Veikkauliiga 2014.
SJK have also been busy in the transfer market signing Jussi Vasara, attacking midfielder and former captain at FC Honka in the Veikkausliiga, Cameroonian goalscorer Ariel “Tuco” Ngueukam and, announced today that, subject to a couple of contractual matters, Mehmet Hetemaj who is returining to Finland after several years playing in the Italian lower leagues for AlbinoLeffe, Reggina & Monza, he is a tough-tackling, defensive midfielder who has played for the Finnish National team and should fit in nicely alongside Laaksonen at SJK.
If you want to do some homework on the new players, then what better way than a YouTube highlights video;
- Mehmet Hetemaj http://youtu.be/myiUK9_LDPQ
- Jussi Vasara http://youtu.be/YRJPZND0Rdo
- ’Tuco’ http://youtu.be/Ebqf9cKPcKo
The club has promised there will be additional, strong signings later in January, and based on their actions so far this winter, who would doubt them. SJK aims to offer a real challenge to HJK Helsinki in 2015 and give a decent account of themselves in their first Europa League campaign, in which SJK will play their home games in Helsinki, at HJK’s Sonera Stadium – a return trip of 710km, 8 hours, from Keskuskenttä, SJK’s home ground!
If you want to learn more about SJK, listen to my podcast episode 3 where Lari tells me about the history of the club and Finnish football culture.