The president of Nõmme Kalju, Kuno Tehva, answered to Delfis readers questions.
Tehva said that Kalju will move in two years to the stadium of Tallinn Technical University. In addition he hopes that some Estonian clubs could reach the Champions League in the next three years. They also plan to work to get the audience to the tribunes. „If we remain in the competition for the medals, then it is realistic that there will be about 500 people average watching our games“ reckoned Tehva. „A few years ago the average was about 450 so I believe that 500 is now easily possible.“ For the derbis we can pull up to 2000 people if we work hard for it. Tehva is satisfied that Kalju could hire Kristen Viikmäe (former Estonian National Team striker). „I’m sure that by the end of the season he will be in the first top of the Champions League scorers,“ said Tehva. With a smile Tehva remembers that a few years ago in the game of Kalju – Tallinn Flora the fans of the visitors hanged the mascot panther of Nõmme Kalju. „Kalju won the game from 0:2 loss to 3:2, so if I had been instead of them I would also have wanted to hang someone,“ said Tehva. „Good that it was just a mascot.“ Tehva also told that so far Kalju has made end meet. „The budget of the club this year is 350 000 euros,“ calculated Tehva. „During the eight years in action Kalju has never been in disprofit and we hope that it stays this way.“ Tehva has big ambitions about organizing exhibition games. Together with the sponsor of the club, Unibet, they hope to organize a tournament where all the other clubs that Unibet sponsors would also take part including FC Valencia etc.
Kuno Tehvas answers to the readers of Delfi:
It is good to see that Kalju goes in the end of the season to play games abroad (e.g. to Portugal). When could we hope or do you think it’s realistic to think that some more well-known clubs (e.g. Sheffield Utd) could also be invited here for the exhibition games?
We have been talking about this opportunity with the head sponsor of Kalju, the Unibet, who supports football in very many countries. We have an idea to organize in Estonia the tournament on Unibet and Nõmme Kalju where all the clubs that are connected to Unibet could take part of from which the most well-known are CF Valencia and FC Liverpool. I believe that this idea can come to life but I can’t promise yet when could these exhibition games or tournament happen exactly.
Would Kalju be interested in hiring Tarmo Kink? It is a well-known fact that he doesn’t get enough playtime in England.
Of course we would like to hire Kink. He is and excellent player and a good friend. But I still believe that Tarmo will also get his chance in England and it is more important for his carrier to succeed there.
When will Nõmme Kalju build itself a football stadium?
Today we have a good will agreement between the city of Tallinn, The Tallinn Technical University (TTÜ) and Nõmmes football club Kalju that the stadium of The Tallinn Technical University, with the address Raja tn. 4a, will be reconstructed. If everything goes according to the plans then they will start to set up to the ground in 2012 and to build the stadium house a year later. The reconstruction project of Nõmme Kalju – TTÜ stadium has had a lot of support and we are very optimistic that it will also be finished.
Do you have any new sponsors? You need money more now than you did before.
Yes, there are some new supporters for Nõmme Kalju but I can’t say that we needed a lot more money than we did the previous year.
How big is the budget of Nõmme Kalju and are you in profit or disprofit? As a bystander one might think that you are in a loss and that makes me worry for how long will the club last. Please be straightforward with your answer not just say that we meet ends and we will last for ever. Thank you!
The budget for the club this year is 350 000 euros. During the eight years in action Kalju has never been in disprofit and we hope that it stays this way.
Do you understand that you owe much of your success to good work with youngsters? You can see it also in case of the bigger clubs like Flora and Levadia. How many are there youth football groups and coaches now in Nõmme?
Yes, we do understand. The work with youngsters is very important in Kalju and we pay much attention to it. Right now there are eleven youth groups for different ages and for boys and for girls in Kalju. There are seven coaches who are systematically training the young people and also a very experienced youth work leader. I believe that the growth of Kalju young footballers is the fastest in Estonia and despite of the youth of the club we have been quite successful. Of course we also have room for development but we do always the best we can.
What do you think about that Aivar Pohlak as the president of The Estonian Football Association takes to his club loans worth of millions without percentage from the budget of Estonian Football Association?
I don’t take up a standpoint at this question. In my opinion the law says that legal persons can’t take or give loans without percentage.
Do you think that the managing board of The Estonian Football Association needs new people?
If there are people who could bring new breathing to the Estonian football world then why not.
When could an Estonian football club reach at least the first group stage of The Champions League?
Levadia was not far from it when Igor Prins was coaching them. One could believe that this miracle might happen in the next three years. Maybe even with Kalju…
Before this season, there were a lot of foreigners with a questionable past that came through Kalju and a lot of them didn’t justify themselves. How did they get to Kalju, how much did you know about their former past and what have you learned from it?
I don’t really agree with the statement that these players were suspicious. There are players with different qualities and different past in sport field who can show themselves from different sides in different situations. I believe that many from these foreign players that you are talking about are/were in a very good form for the Estonian Champions League. For example Tiago Sala got after leaving from Estonia a contract in Brasilia “with his suspicious past” in a big club called Corinthians where are also Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo etc… Bruno Gomes is in Katar and makes quite good money there, Mitsuyama is back in Kalju. The question was not so much about the players but about the agent with a „suspicious past“ who represented the footballers and because of whom we gave up using the services of these players. One must understand that the footballers don’t grow on trees and we can make our choices considering the opportunities we have and the players we can get. Kalju has had to make something good out of nothing over the years and in my opinion we have succeeded in doing that well. Kalju is not an expensive hobby of a rich man. We don’t have a man like Abramovich who could just give free hands to the trainers to buy players. We must deal with lesser circumstances and of course there is a bigger risk because of this that some players may not justify themselves. For the moment we have learned to trust our coaches who complete the team and take the responsibility for choosing the players. I believe that in Kalju today the amount of foreign players and our quality is fit.
Who is the higher-paid player in Kalju and in which range are his salaries?
There is no such phenomenon as a higher-paid player in Kalju. The salaries of the more experienced players are more or less the same and they’re not very big. Football players do not make very much money in Estonia. They will make a lot of money when they go to bigger foreign clubs, if they do get there. So I hereby disconfirm the myth of the great salaries.
Is the income of the players come fixed in the contracts or does it also depend on the results (bonuses for the wins)?
In Kalju we have the result compensation already in the contract payment. If we have the first place and become the champions of Estonia, the players will also be rewarded.
Do you think that FC Flora has an advantage in a way because it is connected with the Estonian Football Association?
I think it has
Why doesn’t Nõmme Kalju train its own youngsters but hires players all the time from elsewhere? Why do you close the children groups all the time? Why don’t you hire proper coaches, I mean that some of the coaches don’t even have papers to train the children?
Kalju does train its youngsters and it is very important to us. Kalju has been working as a club for only eight years and only two and a half of them have been as a professional club so it really has not been possible for us to raise them from the beginning until they are able to help in the clubs first team. Our oldest and most perspective group of youngsters consists of people who have been born in 1996 and this team of boys is one of the best in their age group considering they got the second place in last years Estonian championships. I’m sure that from there will come also the after growth for Kaljus first team. The fact that we have to hire from elsewhere is unavoidable if we want to stay in the competition in the Estonian Champions League because we just don’t have players with the requested quality and skill level from our own. Talking about the coaches, Kalju has three A-licensed (highest category) and several other good specialists with a lower category. Igor Prins and Sergei Terehhov are in the process of getting UEFA PRO license. There are also coaches with a good perspective who go to trainings and are making their theory exams. Kalju is very interested in having their coaches with certifications. We have not closed children groups. In some cases we have joined some groups, which is a perfectly normal process in football.
In the beginning of the season the name Tihhon Šišov came through the teams list. Why didn’t he join Kalju?
We haven’t closed this option yet. Šišov has been training in Kalju since last December. He is waiting for a solution for the problem he had with his last club from FIFA and if he gets a positive response then he can come on the field wearing Kaljus shirt already this season.
I would use the opportunity and ask the same question about Andrei Stepanov.
The first choice for Stepanov in Estonia was Kalju, were he worked with us the whole pre-season with an agreement that if he doesn’t get a contract in a foreign club then he will join us. Right now he is very close to a contract with a club FC Gomel in Belorussia.
When will the new webpage be launched?
The new webpage is really in the making right now and if everything goes well then it will be ready by April. Of course it depends more on our good partners The Dreamcom who are is developing the home page as a sponsorship.
Do you see in the boys’ team who were born in 1996 a potential after growth for the first team? How high are Kaljus hopes on these youngsters?
Kalju sees a very big potential in the boys team born in the 1996. We hope very much that we will have additional forces from this successful team both to the top football in Kalju and also to National teams.
Does Nõmme Kalju have a specialist who coordinates the youth work?
Yes, we do. Kaljus youth work is coordinated by the footballer Rainis Maasing who grew up from the legendary Lions and who we value for his knowledge highly. Rainis joined Kalju last year and we can already see his contribution quite clearly.
Don’t you think that Aivar Pohlaks money transferring from the Estonian Association of Football to FC Flora is a dishonest game. Does the Estonian Association of Football that gets hundreds of millions of kroons UEFAs money support also independent clubs such as Levadia, Kalju, Sillamäe etc.?
I’m not the right person to answer to this question. Kalju supports and advocates the principles of a fair play and acts from this viewpoint. I can’t say anything about The Estonian Football Associations support to Levadia and Sillamäe but Pohlak has given a verbal promise that the association will support the building of our new stadium.
Have you forgiven the hanging up of the panther to the fans of Flora at Kalju-Flora game?
Because Kalju subordinated Flora in this game from 0:2 to 3:2 then I would have also wanted to hang up someone if I had been in their shoes. I’m glad it was just a panther. So no hard feelings at all ☺
Have you improved relationships with the LWB hooligans?
I understand that you refer to the fan group of Kalju „Laagri Wild Boys“ (LWB). I have seen and experienced quite a few things in my life. So I don’t believe that this group can be called hooligans. Anyway our relationships with them are normal.
Why did you run down Stereo lounge last year?
Stereo was closed because of business reasons in connection to the long-term building works in Vabaduse väljak (Square) that interfered with our daily business.
How many people does the Hiiu Stadium hold? When will the additional tribunes be installed?
There have been about 2000 people in the Hiiu stadium from which most were unfortunately forced to stand up. We are applying for the money for the additional tribunes from the owner of the stadium the city of Tallinn and also The Estonian Association of Football who could support in this common and important question. If we get money for it then we will also install the additional tribunes so that the people of Tallinn and Nõmme could enjoy football more conveniently.
Don’t you think that hiring Kristen Viikmäe was a mistake?
Even if I had had this kind of thought in somewhere dark and deep inside then after the second round meeting with FC Viljandi all my doubts were gone. Viikmäe scored the first goal for Kalju this season and I’m sure that by the end of the season he will be in the top of the Champion League scorers. I’m very proud that he joined Kalju and I believe that his contribution to our success will be very big this season.
How many people are you expecting to have as an audience in average?
We are not afraid to set up daring goals and I believe that if Kalju will be able to show beautiful games and Igor Prins will stay in the competition for the medals with the team then 500 to have as an average audience is quite accessible achievement considering also that Kalju is pretty active in marketing. This number is much bigger than our competitors and we will have to work hard for it. A few years ago our average was 450 so I believe that 500 is really achievable.
When will the new foreigners arrive?
There have been more departures than arriving’s this year.
Don’t you think that Kaljus bench is too weak to win the champions title?
So far no bench has broken under the weight of Kalju. We hope that this will also not happen on our way to the champions’ title.
A few years ago you had some disagreements with Pohlak (President of FA). How are your relationships with him now?
I think that because our disagreements with him have never been on personal grounds then my relationship with Mr. Pohlak should still be satisfying. I admit that our visions in certain questions concerning football have not been the same but this doesn’t mean that both sides don’t respect each other. We both have our path to go and I don’t think I can say which one of them is more right. Our purpose is the same – to cultivate football in Estonia.
Last but not least I would like to thank everybody for interesting questions and we wait you to Hiiu stadium to cheer for Kalju.
Kuno Tehva, President of FC Nõmme Kalju for Delfi.ee