UA-52481335-1 IFK Mariehamn - Football Finland

IFK Mariehamn

Full Name: Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna Mariehamn
Nicknames: Grönvitt (greenwhites), Saarelaiset (The islanders)
Founded: 1919
Stadium: Wiklöf Holding Arena (4,000)
Manager: Peter Lundberg
Chairman: Robert Söderdahl
Last season: 1st

Honours:
Titles: 2016
Cup: 2015

Europe:
European Cup: –
Cup Winners Cup: –
UEFA Cup: –
Europa League: Best 1st qualifying round 2013-14 Inter Baku 1-3, 1st qualifying round 2016 vs Odd 1-3
Champions League: –

IFK Mariehamn started last season with many question marks. Their star player Petteri Forssell had left to Poland and their number 1 goalkeeper Otso Virtanen had left to Scotland. Their long standing head coach Pekka Lyyski and he was replaced by a head coaching duo. It looked like they would not be able to build on their Cup win but as it happened, things went even better.

IFK Mariehamn had an exceptional last season as they won the title right under the noses of favourites HJK and SJK. Everything went right for them. They might have had a narrow squad but all the key players stayed fit the whole season. They only missed their top scorer Devor Orgill from a few rounds after he was representing Jamaica.  Their defense was the best in the league with Walter Viitala being one of the best goalkeepers in the league. They were very difficult to beat and with Orgill scoring goals, the tight games turned into a win for them.

For this season the question marks are back again.  Again their number 1 goalkeeper is gone as Viitala left to Viborg in Denmark. Their top two goalscorers Orgill and Assis have both left also. Versatile Thomas Mäkinen left to Italy and Josef Ibrahim to Syrianska in Sweden. Those 5 key players have been replaced with 4 players who so far have not convinced.

Estonian international Anders Vaikla came from IFK Norrköping and has the potential to be a big hit. In the pre-season though, he made some mistakes and will have to improve. Robbin Sellin came from GIF Sundsvall and his experience will be valuable, but again, he did not show much during pre-season. Aapo Mäenpää is a young full back who came from FC Haka and he might make his breakthrough this season if MIFK can keep their defense solid again. The big problem though is their replacement for goal scorer. Lucky Mkosana who came from NY Cosmos has not been performing well. A lot of speed but that is about it.

So all in all, the team looks weaker. They still have one of the best coached teams and the best central defense in Jani Lyyski and Kristian Kojola but you also have to remember that those two are 1 year older and after winning the title. Trying to get to the same level might be really difficult.

Players in: Aapo Mäenpää (Haka), Lucky Mkosana (NY Cosmos, USA), Robbin Sellin (GIF Sundsvall, Sweden), Andreas Vaikla (IFK Norrköping, Sweden)

Players out: Dever Orgill (Wolfsberger, Austria), Josef Ibrahim (Syrianska, Sweden), Walter Viitala (Viborg FF, Denmark), Diego Assis (Thai Honda FC, Thailand), Thomas Mäkinen (AC Renate, Italy)

What to expect from the Champions this year is a lot of under 2.5 goal games. Their defense might not be as good as last year but it is still one of the best. Their goal scoring will be mainly the responsibility of Kangaskolkka and it might be a too big of a task for him.

Pre-Season:
Mariehamn 4-0 Legirus Inter Cup
TPS 1-1 Mariehamn Cup
Mariehamn 4-0 Pallo-Iirot Cup
EIF 0-1 Mariehamn Cup
Mariehamn 1-0 FC Inter Cup
Vålerenga 6-0 Mariehamn friendly
Mariehamn 0-3 HJK Cup
Örebrö 4-1 Mariehamn friendly

Squad:
Goalkeepers:
A. Vaikla EST
M. Nordqvist FIN
J. Sundman FIN
C. Wight SCO

Defenders:
A. Granlund FIN
K. Kojola FIN
P. Sparrdal-Mantilla SWE
P. Hemming FIN
T. Wirtanen FIN
J. Lyyski FIN
A. Mäenpää FIN
B. Friberg Da Cruz SWE

Midfielders:
A. Ekhalie KEN
A. Dafaa KEN
B. Span USA
G. Petrovic SWE
R. Sellin SWE
R. Sid FIN
J. Mattsson FIN

Forwards:
R. Amani FIN
A. Kangaskolkka FIN
L. Mkosana ZIM

Our Prediction: 6th