2014 Estonian Football League Preview

Last year Kristal, but who will be thrown in the air at end of 2014? (Postimees/Scanpix)
2/28/2014 4:48 PM
Category: Features

After claiming the Super Cup on Tuesday, FC Flora will be hoping to shake up the duopoly of FC Levadia and Nõmme Kalju, which have claimed the top two places in the nation's highest football league, the Premium Liiga, in previous seasons.

Besides the three, Sillamäe Kalev has enough confidence to continue in the top group, while Paide, Tallinn Infonet and Narva all should finish below European qualification (top three), but safe from relegation.

A more interesting battle should develop at the foot of the table, with a number of teams struggling financially.

The season kicks off on March 1.

Meet the teams:

Tallinn FC Levadia
Coach: Marko Kristal
Stadium: Maarjamäe Stadium (500), Kadriorg Stadium (5,000)
Budget: 660,000 euros
Transfers: Rimo Hunt (out), Vladislav Ivanov (in), Heiko Tamm (in), Omar El Husseini (in), Arsenij Bujnickij (in)
Word on the street: Hunt's transfer to Kazakhstan, and his 22 goals last season, will leave a huge gap in its attack. Ivanov and Bujnickij are both strikers, but will they help Levadia to retain the title? If two national team veterans in Dmitri Kruglov and Aleksandr Dmitrjev leave, the team could also be unbalanced in other areas of the pitch.

Nõmme JK Kalju
Coach: Igor Prins
Stadium: Kadriorg Stadium (5,000 seats)
Budget: 930,000 euros
Transfers: Reginald Mbu Alidor (in), Mikk Reintam (in), Martin Vunk (in), Fabio Seravalli Prates (in), Novo Papaz (in), Yankuba Ceesay (out), Eino Puri (out), Marco Bianchi (out), Sergei Terehhov (retired), Vladimir Voskoboinikov (poised to leave)
Word on the street: Similar to Levadia, Kalju could lose its 2013 top-scorer, but unlike Levadia, Kalju has decided on a rejuvenation on a far larger scale, with at least 11 first-team players leaving. Reintam and Vunk will be useful additions.

JK Sillamäe Kalev
Coach: Sergei Ratnikov
Stadium: Kalev Stadium in Sillamäe (2,000)
Budget: 420,000 euros
Transfers: Jaroslav Kvassov (in), Stanislav Murihhin (in), Maksim Paponov (in), Igor Tšeminava (in), Martin Vunk (out), Marius Cinikas (out), Kassim Aidara (out)
Word on the street: People laughed when Sillamäe expressed title hopes a year ago. Fewer people laughed at the end of the season when Sillamäe had forced far richer FC Flora to fourth. Yet midfield engine Vunk has left, and it is unclear how the team will fare without him.

Tallinn FC Flora
Coach: Norbert Hurt
Stadium: A. Le Coq Arena (9,692)
Budget: 1,150,000 euros
Transfers: Zakaria Beglarišvili (returned after a year's hiatus), Taavi Rähn (in), Raio Piiroja (in), Sander van de Streek (out), Karl Palatu (out)
Word on the street: Flora looks to be on the right side of a perpetual circle of raising youngsters until they are good enough, then cashing in and beginning from scratch. Hardly anyone left the club, and the return of Beglarišvili, who was the club's top scorer in 2012, has already borne fruit — his goal won the Super Cup for Flora on Tuesday. Piiroja has been registered in the Flora team, but is out with an injury until July.

Paide Linnameeskond
Coach: Meelis Rooba
Stadium: Paide City Stadium (268)
Budget: 160,000
Transfers: Joel Indermitte (in), Karl Palatu (in), Teet Allas (retired), Urmas Rooba (retired), Mihhail Lavrentjev (out)
Word on the street: Paide out-did themselves last season, finishing a very respectable fifth. 13 new players have arrived and 12 have left, and the integration of the new players will be the key question this season. Paide will not challenge the above teams, but a mid-table finish is expected.

Tallinn FC Infonet
Coach: Aleksandr Puštov
Stadium: Sportland Arena (500)
Budget: 300,000 euros
Transfers: Tanel Melts (in), Marten Saarlas (in), Kassim Aidara (in), Dmitri Kovtunovitš (out, loan agreement expired)
Word on the street: Last season's mid-table finish is likely to be repeated if a suitable midfielder is found.

Narva JK Trans
Coach: Valeri Bondarenko
Stadium: Kreenholm (3,000)
Budget: 350,000 euros
Transfers: Sergei Lepmets (in), Albert Taar (out), Ilja Šesterkov (out)
Word on the street: Another team to see an unusually large number of changes, with eight players leaving. A number of negotiations are ongoing, but most of the empty places will be filled by youth players. Any improvement on last season's seventh place could be considered a good achievement.

JK Tallinn Kalev
Coach: Tarmo Rüütli
Stadium: Kalev Keskstaadion (12,000)
Budget: 35,000 – 40,000 euros
Transfers: Anton Issakov (in), Tauno Tekko (in), Daniel Vazquez Evuy (out), Ats Sillaste (out)
Word on the street: Having cut the budget five-fold, the aim, according to head coach Rüütli, formerly of the national team, is to simply avoid relegation. If rumors are to be believed, Rüütli will leave the team for a better-paid foreign coaching job, leaving Kalev in an even worse situation. The team begins the season with 14 new faces, with 10 having left.

Tartu JK Tammeka
Coach: Indrek Koser
Stadium: Tamme Stadium (1,600)
Budget: Unavailable
Transfers: Reio Laabus (in), Heiko Tamm (out), Tauno Tekko (out).
Word on the street: Tammeka are happy just to be here, a month ago the club was heading for collapse. But a deal between the Football Association, owners and the team's youth set-up, led by club captain Kristjan Tiirik, means that a new club was formed, with the same name, although the JK in the middle now means Jalgpallikool (Football School), not Jalgpalliklubi (Football Club). The team will have the colors, badge and most of the same players.

Jõhvi FC Lokomotiv
Coach: Viktor Nesterenko
Stadium: Jõhvi City Stadium (500)
Budget: Unavailable
Transfers: Deniss Kulikov (in), Vitali Kutuzov (in)
Word on the street: Despite finishing second, Lokomotiv received automatic promotion from the first league, as Levadia II is ineligible. Whatever happens, and with so many clubs struggling at the foot of the table, anything can happen, Lokomotiv will be happy just to take part, having played in the fifth tier in 1999 and the third tier of Estonian league football just two seasons ago.

The name field cannot be empty
No more than 50 characters
Comment field cannot be empty
No more than 50 characters
Comment field cannot be empty
No more than 1024 characters

Message forwarded to the editor

This Ip-address has limited access

See also

There are no comments yet. Be the first!

Reply to comment

Reply to comment

Laadi juurde ({{take2}})
The name field cannot be empty
No more than 50 characters
Comment field cannot be empty
No more than 1024 characters
Add new comment
  • foto
    Gallery: Tartu students mark 97th anniversary of Estonian-language university

    While the University of Tartu in its earliest form was established in 1632, Estonian did not become the official language of instruction until Dec. 1, 1919. Today, the anniversary of the Estonian-language university is celebrated annually with a number of traditional events, the most visible of which is a torchlight procession through town involving dozens of student organizations and hundreds of students and alumni.

  • foto
    Gallery: Tartu students mark 97th anniversary of Estonian-language university

    While the University of Tartu in its earliest form was established in 1632, Estonian did not become the official language of instruction until Dec. 1, 1919. Today, the anniversary of the Estonian-language university is celebrated annually with a number of traditional events, the most visible of which is a torchlight procession through town involving dozens of student organizations and hundreds of students and alumni.

  • foto
    Supposed tourism farm turned country home: Ilves’ Ermamaa builds farm with EU support, never puts it to intended use

    Former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ company received €190,392 in 2006 to turn the family’s country home of Ärma into a tourism farm. Then owned by his ex-wife, it negotiated new conditions in 2012: Even if the farm was never put to its intended use, the company would have to pay back just 10% of the grant.

  • foto
    Feature: Is Germany Estonia’s new benchmark?

    With the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, Estonia will have to look for a new great partner in Europe. Some have indicated that it could be Germany — yet just at the time it could become more important to Estonia, Europe's economic powerhouse is facing events that may well lead to a much more Russia-friendly course, writes historian Jeroen Bult.

  • foto
    Experts: President Ilves put Estonia on the map

    With president-elect Kersti Kaljulaid’s oath of office at 3:00 p.m. today Monday, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ remarkable decade as Estonia’s head of state will end. ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera Nädal” weekly review asked social scientists and policy experts what would remain of Ilves’ presidency.

  • foto
    Interview with Junior Achievement mentor: On Estonia's student companies

    In a written interview given to ERR News, veteran Junior Achievement student mentor Madis Vodja, a Tallinn native who was most recently mentor to Junior Achievement Estonia's 2016 winning student company Spoony, provided insight into what Junior Achievement is, what the program's mentors do, how Estonian student companies can compete for national and European titles as well as a bit of advice for aspiring student or small business-owners in Estonia.

  • foto
    Estonia's six Paralympians in Rio

    The 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, which also mark the 15th Summer Paralympic Games and the first to be hosted in South America, are drawing to a close on Sunday night after over a week and a half of competition. Estonia was represented in Rio by a six-athlete team which headed to the Games with a number of titles and medals, including Paralympic gold, already under its collective belt.

  • foto
    Interview with Marina Kaljurand: On taxes, corruption, the justice system and refugee policy

    Presidential hopeful Marina Kaljurand told ERR's online news portal in a written interview that she is a liberal in worldview, who supports lower taxes on employment and bigger investments in higher education, is in favor of the state borrowing only if absolutely necessary and with great caution, and does not consider Estonia's current refugee policy to be remotely shameful.

  • foto
    Estonia’s information society development from a privacy and data protection perspective

    Today Estonia has the most technologically advanced government system the world has seen. Even though the small Baltic state yields a population of only 1.3 million, it is known for its e-government system that has everyone applying to be an e-resident of Estonia, even the Japanese Prime Minister.

  • foto
    Original Estonian flag delivered to new permanent home at national museum

    Previously only removed from storage for public display on rare special occasions, the original blue, black and white Estonian flag, consecrated on June 4, 1884 as the flag of the Estonian Students' Society (EÜS), was ceremonially delivered to the new Estonian National Museum (ERM) building on Thursday, where it will be put on permanent display as part of an exhibit on the founding and formation of the Estonian identity and state.

  • foto
    Pealtnägija: Common-sense approach to offering specialized medical treatment could save millions

    ETV’s investigative magazine “Pealtnägija” reported on Wednesday that while there is a gaping hole in the Health Insurance Fund’s finances, millions could be saved by avoiding that specialist medical procedures are performed more often than necessary.

  • foto
    Reflections of an “Esto”: Estonia in 1975 and 2016

    Anne Sarapik, the New York City-born daughter of two war-era Estonian refugees and mother of four Estonian-American children born during the final years of Estonia’s occupation by the USSR, visited her family’s homeland this summer after a long absence, discovering a vastly different Estonia than she remembered from her first visit in 1975.

  • foto
    Margus Laidre: The utopia of peace and the flowers of evil

    Do you believe that if you close your eyes, evil ceases to exist? Although terrorism and war scar our world, many believe that we are nevertheless living in the most peaceful time we’ve known. Historian and diplomat Margus Laidre demonstrates in his essay that this may prove to be a dangerous illusion.

  • foto
    Eight former prime ministers talk about Estonia’s 25 years of regained independence

    A quarter of a century has passed since Estonia regained its independence. On the occasion, ERR interviewed all of the country’s eight former prime ministers: Edgar Savisaar, Tiit Vähi, Mart Laar, Andres Tarand, Mart Siiman, Siim Kallas, Juhan Parts, and Andrus Ansip.

  • foto
    From hobby brewer to brewmaster in Estonia's flourishing craft beer scene

    Not yet even out of his late 20s, up-and-coming Estonian brewer Peeter Kolk made the jump from brewing for fun and for friends to making a serious go of contributing to the country’s ever more popular craft beer scene with the establishment of his own Kolk Brewery in Uuemõisa, just outside of the western coastal town of Haapsalu in Lääne County, in early 2016.

  • foto
    An old publication's new tricks: How an Estonian-American newspaper is compiled from Tallinn

    Over half a century before the arrival of the Internet and social media, it was an Estonian-language newspaper published in Manhattan, the Vaba Eesti Sõna, or "Free Estonian Word," founded in 1949, which kept the Estonian-American diaspora connected and up to date on news from both home and the Soviet-occupied homeland. Nearly 70 years later, the paper's official editorial office remains located on the third floor of the New York Estonian House, but in modern e-Estonia style, editor-in-chief Kärt Ulman has been putting the weekly paper together from her home in Tallinn for three years.

  • foto
    ‘That Dutchman’: Why Peter Kentie’s brand proposal for Estonia should be taken very seriously

    What Estonia has in common with the Dutch city of Eindhoven, why Kentie was the right man to create its new brand, and what will happen if those in charge aren’t kept from bungling it: Here is the long story of “Just estonishing”.

  • foto
    What can Western governments do to counteract radicalization?

    You can’t kill a thought with a bullet. You can only defeat it with a stronger thought. As attacks continue, and the unrelenting effort and billions invested in the global war on terrorism haven’t brought results, the question arises what individual governments can do to curb the emergence of radical Islamism.

  • foto
    Interview: Pavlo Klimkin says Russia at war with both Ukraine and EU

    What got Ukraine where it is today? Who is responsible for the mistakes of the past 25 years? What’s the oligarchs’ role in politics? ETV+ talked to Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin. Here is the full-length video interview in English.

  • foto
    Feature: The world's scariest dress rehearsal

    On Sunday NATO member forces rehearsed for the final staged battle of the 2016 Sabre Strike exercise. The demonstration is to take place today in the Estonian Defence Forces' central training area close to Tapa in Lääne-Viru County. As artillery, anti-tank units, infantry, and air support unloaded their guns, Nicholas Marsh stood on "TV Hill" and watched in awe.

  • foto
    Trust your neighbor, pay less? The future of electricity production in Estonia

    Historically, Estonia has exported electricity. The country’s policy to guarantee production capacity at 110% of its peak consumption as well as the remnants of its formerly state-run production system have made this possible. But the market and its conditions are changing.

  • foto
    Varnja: The people and potential on the shores of Lake Peipus

    In a village of just 250 residents on the western, Estonian shore of the fifth-largest lake in Europe, known as Peipus ('Peipsi järv') in Estonian and Chudskoe in Russian, a mix of old blood and new — Russian-speakers and Estonians, Old Believers and newcomers — live and work side by side. Despite any differences, however, Varnja's residents have at least one thing in common: their belief in the village's potential.

  • foto
    Timmermans: EU needs to show it can deliver

    First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans was a panelist at the 10th Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn that ended on Sunday. In an interview with ERR's Neeme Raud, he said that the EU needed to show that it was making progress, and to explain more, so people could see its value.

  • foto
    Young immigrants' dream to marry European girls harder and harder to realize

    ”Marry a beautiful European girl. I'm planning to do that as well,” Mohammed, a 25-year-old asylum seeker, says to his closest friend as they are drinking tea in the restaurant of one of the hotels turned refugee reception centers in Athens.

  • foto
    May 9: Europe Day for some, Victory Day for others

    While the European Union celebrates Europe Day on May 9, in Russia it is Victory Day. This collision of holidays affects Tallinn, where pro-Putin activists of the group Nochnoy Dozor have called for a march through the city center.

  • foto
    Estonia’s great private schools debate: to fund or not to fund

    A recently submitted letter of appeal co-signed by 75 leading figures of Estonian academia, culture and society in support of the country’s private schools has sparked a fierce new round of debates regarding a stalled bill proposing an amendment to an unconstitutional law which would release local governments from being required to fund the operational costs of private schools.

  • foto
    Estonians host five-day cultural festival in the heart of Manhattan

    The New York Estonian community recently hosted its annual Estonian Cultural Days in NYC (“Eesti Kultuuripäevad New Yorgis”), a multi-day affair with concerts, theater performances, lectures, and other events spanning five days from March 23-27 and featuring Estonians from both the local diaspora and abroad.

  • foto
    National Language Day celebrated by Estonian youth around the world

    Despite differences in number of students, fluency, budget, distance, and other constraints, Estonian Schools as well as kindergartens, children’s hobby groups, and other youth organizations around the world have made a point to celebrate Estonia's national language, whether on National Language Day or all year round.

  • foto
    Small islands get €640,000 to develop priority services

    Starting today, funds can be applied for that will support projects to improve services for the inhabitants of Estonia’s small islands. The program includes 13 islands and total funds amounting to €640,000.

  • foto
    Eri Klas' funeral service

    Composer and musician Eri Klas' funeral service took place in Estonia Concert Hall on Wednesday. Anyone who wanted to attend was welcome.