UA-52481335-1 FC Inter - Football Finland

FC Inter

Full Name: FC Inter Turku
Nicknames: Sinimustat (Black- and Blues)
Founded: 1990
Stadium: Veritas Stadium (9,372)
Manager: Shefki Kuqi
Chairman: Stefan Håkans
Last season: 11th

Honours:
Titles: 1 (Last 2008)
Cup: 1 (Last 2009)
League cup: 1 (Last 2009)

Europe:
European Cup: –
Cup Winners Cup: –
UEFA Cup: –
Europa League: Best 3rd qualifying round 2010-11 Genk 3-8
Champions League: Best 2nd qualifying round 2009-10 Sheriff 0-2

FC Inter Turku had an abysmal last season. They had invested a lot (again) and they finished on 11th position and had to play against their city rivals TPS in the play-out game for the Veikkausliiga. Their long standing manager Job Dragtsma started his final season but he only lasted until spring and resigned after bad results. The assistant coach Jami Wallenius took over but he also lasted until August after Shefki Kuqi became available.

Shefki Kuqi came with a lot of media attention after his turbulent “divorce” from PK-35 Vantaa and  immediately signed more players into the team like Lucas Garcia, Njazi Kuqi and Erfan Zeneli but the results did not change much. They struggled especially against Kuqi´s old team PK-35 Vantaa and failed to over take HIFK and had to play for their Veikkausliiga spot. The team had no balance. They had to face a lot of injuries but the biggest problem was the central midfield where they had not been able to replace Kaan Kairinen who had left to Midtjylland the season before. The starting 11 was constantly changing and it was difficult to put a couple of good results together.

Now Shefki Kuqi has had a solid pre-season. A lot of players have left and a lot of players have come in. The most important signing was the return of former Veikkausliiga top goalscorer Timo Furuholm. Furuholm had spent the last 5,5 seasons playing in Germany. He started with Fortuna Dusseldorf, but it was not until he moved to 3. Bundesliga team Hallescher FC when he really started to bang in goals. Him and Njazi Kuqi will form the biggest goalscoring threat duo in this league.

The biggest headline signings was of course the former Real Madrid and West Ham midfielder Julian Faubert. He might not be up to his old level but he is still a top player for the Veikkausliiga. Another good midfielder who returned was Mika Mäkitalo. After all together 5 seasons with FC Lahti and RoPS, the 31 year old returns to Inter. He will bring a lot of Veikkausliiga experience into this team.

On top of the new players that they have brought, they have new staff members. Italian Fabrizio Piccareta has a good CV after been an assistant coach with Swindon and being a member of the Sunderland coaching staff previously. He will bring in a lot of vision to the way Inter will play this season. As physio they signed Marko Yrjövuori who has previously worked with LA Lakers in the NBA and LA Kings in the NHL. He will make sure that the players stay fit.

Overall FC Inter on paper is a much better team than last season. Their only question mark is their defense. Kosta Manev is an average defender and he will start alongside new signing Adam Henrique. That CB pair is not among the best in the Veikkausliiga and if either gets injured or suspended, it will be worse. Shefki Kuqi though has always believed more on offense than defense and the offense looks really good. With Furuholm and N. Kuqi, they have the young Benjamin Källman who seems to be ready for this season. They are the only team in the Veikkausliiga who have potentially 3 strikers who can all score 10+ goals this season.  If they get the service of course.

Players in: Julian Faubert (Kilmarnock FC, Scotland), Alan Henrique (Umm Salal, Qatar), Timo Furuholm (Hallescher FC, Germany), Jere Koponen (SJK), Niko Markkula (JJK), Elias Mastokangas (KaaPo), Kevin Mombilo (PK-35 Vantaa), Mika Mäkitalo (RoPS).

Players out: Joni Aho (retired), Egzon Belica (Riga FC, Latvia), Solomon Duah (KuPS), Alban Ferati (free agent), Jukka Lehtovaara (retired), David Monsalve (Husqvarna FF, Sweden), Bajram Nebihi (Ubon UMT United, Thailand), Faith Friday Obilor (HJK), Juho Salminen (KaaPo), Pape Habib Sow (free agent), Adama Tamboura (free agent), Kennedy Nwanganga (Dinamo Batumi, Georgia), Erfan Zeneli (SJK).

What you can expect this season from FC Inter is that they will be more organized than last season. Now they have a good balance between Finnish and foreign players and hopefully they can avoid the drama there was last season. During pre-season they were playing with a standard 4-4-2 formation but according to Furuholm (who was elected captain) you can expect surprises on how they will play. The morale inside the team is high and they can definitely challenge for European cup places this season.

Pre-season:
Inter 5-0 EIF Cup
Legirus 0-1 Inter Cup
Inter 2-2 TPS Cup
Inter 5-0 Pallo-Iirot Cup
Mariehamn 1-0 Inter Cup
Inter 2-0 VPS Cup
SJK 3-2 Inter Cup
Ermis (CYP) 1-0 Inter friendly
EIF 1-2 Inter Friendly

Squad:
Goalkeepers:
J. Koponen FIN
H. Moisander FIN

Defenders:
A. Henrique BRA
A. Hoskonen FIN
P. Kanakoudis GRE
K. Manev FIN
N. Markkula FIN

Midfielders:
J. Faubert FRA/MAR
L. Garcia ARG
K. Kauppi FIN
H. Lehtonen FIN
E. Mastokangas FIN
K. Mombilo FIN
M. Mäkitalo FIN
P. Njoku NGA
A. Nyman FIN
O. Qvick fiN

Forwards:
A. Ademi FIN
T. Furuholm FIN
G. Gnabouyou FRA
N. Kuqi FIN
B. Källman FIN

Our prediction: 4th