Newly-promoted Kalju eager to aim for new highs

In 2008 Estonian football saw the emerge of a new top-flight club – after winning the promotion play-off from Esiliiga Nõmme Kalju has established itself as a reckonable force, shaken the Meistriliiga (Premiership League) ranks and is ready to fight for glory also in TrioBet Baltic League. During many years Estonian football has had four top clubs – FC Flora, FC Levadia, FC TVMK and Narva Trans. This year Nõmme Kalju has set this under serious threat.

As a newcomer who still played in the fourth strongest division just four years ago FC Kalju started its Meistriliiga-season with a strong marketing campaign both on and off the pitch. Besides using advertising boards in the city to attract spectators to their home games, creating a well-equipped fan club and choosing the popular Pink Panther as their mascot, the club was also active in the sporting side.

Kalju loaned former TVMK player Ingemar Teever from Swedish side Östers IF, strengthened their midfield with long-time international player Liivo Leetma and caught the headlines by signing Brazilians Felipe Nunes, Alan Arruda and Salvador Jesus Vasques. Many other well-known players joined the club as well.
In addition, the head coach of Kalju, hot-tempered Brazilian Fredo Getulio Aurelio stated openly that the new club has come to stay and to win.

The club’s ambitious president, an entertainment and marketing businessman Kuno Tehva expressed great willingness to work hard for success. And when you add the benefits of a small and cozy home ground of Hiiu stadium one’s expectations were as high as they could be.

In the beginning of the season Kalju blasted one bomb after another. In the first round they made a 1:1 away draw with title-contenders FC Flora, then recorded a 3:0 victory over fellow newcomers Sillamäe Kalev, shocked FC TVMK by a 1:0 away win and flew past Pärnu Vaprus 3:1.
Then Kalju suffered a 1:2 away defeat from mid-table club Tartu Maag Tammeka, but stole the attention again by an amazing 2:2 away draw against title-holders FC Levadia. After a 1:1 draw with Narva Trans and a goalless match against Viljandi Tulevik, Kalju ended the first set of games with a 2:1 triumph against FC Tallinna Kalev. All this saw a newcomer go from success to success with impressive draws and victories against top teams and very high attendances at their home games.

After 26 rounds Kalju is lying fifth in Meistriliiga with only 2 points behind Narva Trans and 9 points short TVMK. “I am extremely happy with our season,” says Kalju’s president Kuno Tehva. “If we end our season 3rd or 4th it would be a big plus, but we are already looking to the future.”

In any case Nõmme Kalju will be a part of TrioBet Baltic League next season. Tehva sees it a great challenge for the club. “We want to make another step forward next season and be a club who competes for top spots both in Estonia and in the Baltics. Of course, everything depends on our budget, but we are working on it. We are enthusiastic and eager to develop our club, we have a great will to aim for high results,” Tehva explains. Kalju’s president is optimistic about the TrioBet Baltic League’s next season. “I think that the new system looks very positive. It should encourage all the teams to always play their best eleven and make the competition interesting for everybody.”

Did you know?
Nõmme is a district of Tallinn with a population of 35 043. Building of Nõmme at the southern border of the city was started in the end of the last century. At first it developed as an independent city, in 1940 it was linked to Tallinn. Up to today the prevailing type of building is single family houses, which are located on sandy areas covered with pine groves. Because of the low density of buildings it is also known as the Nõmme forest city. There are almost no industrial enterprises. Even though the district has some problems, it is still one of the most prestigious ones in Tallinn. (www.tallinn.ee)

Profile – Nõmme Kalju
Established: 1923, re-established 1997 Stadium: Hiiu (artificial turf, capacity 500) President: Kuno Tehva Head coach: Fredo Getulio Aurelio Captain: Rene Kaas
Colours: white, black, pink Fan club: the Pink Panthers Famous players: Maksim Smirnov (39 games and 2 goals for Estonia), Liivo Leetma (36), Indro Olumets (32/2), Aleksander Saharov (25/1), Ingemar Teever (24/4). Notable: JK Kalju has its own newspaper called Jalgpallisõnumid. It is distributed together with the newspaper of Nõmme district and has a circulation of 20 000. Home page: www.jkkalju.ee

By Mihkel Uiboleht, Tallinn 2008

JAGA

JÄRGMISED MÄNGUD

PREMIUM LIIGA

Võistkond Mänge Võite Viike Kaotusi Väravad Punkte
1 Tallinna FCI Levadia Tallinna FCI Levadia 30 19 9 2 56:15 66
2 Tallinna FC Flora Tallinna FC Flora 30 19 9 2 62:18 66
3 Paide Linnameeskond Paide Linnameeskond 30 10 12 8 36:26 42
4 Nõmme Kalju FC Nõmme Kalju FC 30 11 9 10 40:32 42
5 Pärnu JK Vaprus Pärnu JK Vaprus 30 11 9 10 37:40 42
6 JK Tallinna Kalev JK Tallinna Kalev 30 10 10 10 32:36 40
7 FC Kuressaare FC Kuressaare 30 9 6 15 32:55 33
8 JK Narva Trans JK Narva Trans 30 10 2 18 26:51 32
9 Tartu JK Tammeka Tartu JK Tammeka 30 4 12 14 28:50 24
10 Harju JK Laagri Harju JK Laagri 30 5 6 19 23:49 21

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