Showing posts with label Sergei Eremenko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sergei Eremenko. Show all posts

Monday, July 27, 2015

Jaro fans reunite Serge Atakayi with long-lost family

Lost among the transfer rumours, corruption scandals and kit launches last week was a truly heartwarming story that proves that there is still plenty of compassion in football, in this case coming from the fans of one club in the Finnish Veikkausliiga.

Jaro, who are based in the Western town of Jakobstad (in Swedish, or Pietarsaari in Finnish), have had a rather inconsistent season so far, unable to put together any sort of run - but the undoubted highlights have been the emergence of two sixteen year old prospects. Sergei Eremenko, son of coach Alexei is one, while the record-breaker of the pair is Serge Atakayi - who has become both the youngest ever goalscorer in Veikkausliiga and the youngest player to get sent off...

Jaro's two future diamonds, Eremenko and Atakayi (right) - photo Jyrki Johannes Tervo

Serge was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1999, and came to Finland in 2010 (aged 11) to take part in the internationally renowned Helsinki Cup tournament. With the opportunity of a lifetime, to escape an unstable country, Serge took the life-changing decision to claim political asylum in the country, leaving his family behind. He hasn't seen them since.

No fan wants to see a key player unhappy and without a crucial support network. But Jaro fans are a different breed. They raised funds amongst themselves and the local community to fund a trip for Serge to visit his family in DR Congo at the end of the season on a scholarship, meaning he won't have any problems returning to the place he's called home for five years, while he's represented various Finland junior teams.

Serge on international duty

They surprised Serge at the end of a training session last Wednesday, marching onto the pitch to present him with the relevant paperwork.

Jaro's media man Viktor Enbacka told me "This is what FF Jaro is all about. Everyone wants to help somehow, by volunteering or doing things like this." Club captain Jonas Emet said "We don't have the biggest group of fans, but they all have a big heart".

Meanwhile, Serge said on Instagram "Thank you Jaro fans, for the gift you have given me today. I'm so glad that I don't know how to thank you all, I will never forget you".


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Tulos: Cup draws, interviews and Japan

Been a fairly slow few weeks in the Finnish football world since the last update. Part of the joy of a summer league perhaps... Anyway, here is a little recap.

Sexypöxyt celebrate their 30th anniversary this year

The Suomen Cup fourth round draw took place on Monday, pitching some potentially very interesting ties. TamU-K will host IFK Mariehamn, PEPO play KuPS and Sexypöxyt will play Gnistan. Meanwhile, our partner club Atletico Malmi defeated NuPS to reach the fourth round for the first time, they will play the winner of JanPa and Jomela IK. I'm still waiting to hear on the availability of Malmi replica jerseys.

I've spoken to Dani Hatakka of KuPS and Richie Dorman of SJK, who were both very interesting and pretty open about life in Veikkausliiga. Dani spoke about his scoring prowess for the Finland U21 side, while Richie was grateful to Finnish football for the chance to become a professional, having spent time at Blackburn as a youngster. Sent a few emails for further interviews, hopefully will have some more soon.

HJK's attempts at world domination continue with rapid speed - they announced the signings of Japanese international forward Mike Havanaar and Swedish goalkeeper Daniel Örlund, who join fellow Japanese Atom Tanaka and former Nottingham Forest midfielder Guy Moussi. HJK CEO Aki Riihilahti spoke to MTV3 about the club's ambitions - while admitting that they had sold more Atom shirts in a week than any other player sold in the whole of 2014, while over forty thousand people watched highlights of the win over RoPS, while the usual figure is in the hundreds.
Jari Litmanen's 44th birthday passed by on February 20th with the usual fanfare and ticker tape. He keeps his usual low profile, making personal appearances in pubs etc.

MYPA appear to have folded in their present form, the club administrators have applied for bankruptcy. While it's likely that the various junior clubs will continue in some form, it's a shame that over-spending and poor financial management have enabled to club to wither. Watch this space for future news.

The latest Eremenko talent, sixteen-year-old Sergei, scored twice for Jaro in their Liigacup defeat to SJK. He has already spent time training with Internazionale's youth set-up, while those ITK lot reckon he could potentially be as good as brothers Roman and Alexei.

Anyway that's it for now - I'm trying to push the ETS Facebook page a bit more these days, so make sure you like that for some more slow-time updates. Twitter is so flimsy and instant...