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mercoledì 28 ottobre 2015

Discovering a protagonist: interview with Magnús Björn Ásgrímsson, Leiknir Fáskrúðsfjörður's chairman

Icelandic and Faroese championships have finally ended but we are going to keep the blog constantly updated till next season restart. Our staff is getting in touch with teams, coaches and players to keep the light on our favourite championships.

Here you are the interview with Magnús Björn Ásgrímsson, Leiknir Fáskrúðsfjörður's chairman, both in english and in italian.

Leiknir F. comes from two consecutive promotions and it could be the next 1.deild revelation. It belongs to a 600 people town in the savage east coast and, in its own small way, replays the Icelandic national team's growth of these years: good training facilities, experienced staff, perseverance, few economic resources, a great talent in "do it yourself".

In his long introduction to the interview Magnús, who's being Leiknir F.'s chairman for almost 19 years, point out that he is doing a no paying job as the big part of jobs in Icelandic football world, except coaches.

Leiknir Fáskrúðsfjörður in 2015 season

1) Last season Leiknir F. was promoted to 2.deild. At the beginning of this season, did you expected to compete for another promotion?
Yes I expected that we really had a chance of fighting for promotion. In a poll among coaches and captains of the teams we were ranked #4 and we had played against some of the teams on the preseason. So – I was optimistic.

2) Which has been Leiknir F. main strenght so far?
Our strength has been among others, we have a good training facility over the wintertime. Full size football hall in 20min drive from our town. And we have been fortunate having good, educated and experienced coaches living here all year round. This means we have been able to practice a lot with high standard compared to other teams in our category, playing lot of preseason games. Leiknir has been called preseason champions – but the two last season we have been able to carry the good performance of the preseason in to more serious games.        

3) Which are your expectations for next season in 1.deild?
Our goal is to stabilize the team in 1. division. But we are not going to do anything dramatic to strengthen the team.  We will give the players who earned the promotion, chance to play on this new level.

4) Which teams do you fear the most for next season?
We don’t fear any teams, but KA, Þór, Keflavík and Grindavík will no doubt be fighting for promotion.

5) Is it difficult to compete in a championship where many teams come from the west coast?
It is not that difficult in other way than it is more expansive. For small club like Leiknir the travelling cost is a very big part of our expense. The sponsors are very important to us

6) When Leiknir Fáskrúðsfjörður has been founded? Which are most common problems and advantages for a football team belonging to a small village?
The club was founded 1940, 75 years ago. to help the kids and young people to have healthy hobbies like sports, dancing, acting etc and to make live merrier.
Today the club is devided into volleyball, gimnastic, swimming and athletics division, plus football division, which is by far the biggest one. 
The football division organizes practices for kids from the age of 5 up to adults.  Now 50 kids at the age 5 – 15 are attending practices, that is a big % - because kids in this agegroup are only about 90 here.  We are in close cooperation with four others clubs to form alliance for youth football; Fjarðabyggð/Leiknir. Those four clubs are also in alliance in the chamionship – that is 1. deild – and form the club Fjarðabyggð or KFF. 

7) How many training do Leiknir F. have during the week? Are you satisfied about your training facilities?
Yes we are.  We can practice and play trial games in the Football Hall in Reyðarfjörður as we wish, just as Fjarðabyggð and the youth teams of Fjarðabyggð/Leiknir. These clubs are from the same municipality, which consists of five small towns; Neskaupstaður, Eskifjörður, Reyðarfjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður.
But here in Fáskrúðsfjörður we have SportCenter with club owned Gym and hall were we play futsal.

8) Has Leiknir F. professional players in its team? How many players come from your youth team?
We are only amateur club, but the last couple of years we have had like 3 foreign players, who have been professional players. This summer 22 players played for the club in the 2. division, 11 of them are raised in Leiknir, 5 players are from other clubs in our cooperate youth team; Fjarðabyggð/Leiknir and the rest, 6 players are from other clubs. Our Icelandic players are very young but they have been developing fast with the club. All but one are born 1992 or later.

9) How does KSI support teams playing in 2.deild and other lower league? 
During the last decade KSÍ has taken steps to support the clubs more in many ways.  For example couple of years ago KSÍ started to take care of all expanse regarding referees, no entry or registration fee is now collected from the clubs.  At last every year the clubs get payment for operating  youth teams.

10) When do you usually begin training for the new season? Where do you train during winter and spring?
We start 1. of November. First we only train like two times a week in the Football Hall, but the players are in CrossFit or lifting weights tree times per week.

11) East Coast has got many important football team such as Fjarðabyggð, Huginn, Höttur, Einherji and you. Is there cooperation or rivalry between you?
You can say it is both cooperation and rivalry, the teams you hate most to lose against is your neighbour club. But we are in good cooperation with Fjarðabyggð first and foremost but also Höttur, regarding youth teams. 

12) Do you dream to play in Urvalsdeild someday?
Don’t we all have our dreams?

13) What do you need to make this dream come true?
We need to develop the club in many ways, we need better structure and stronger sponsors. And, and… 

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