MJØNDALEN GOALKEEPER TO JOIN LOCAL RIVALS

In all my years of following football, something I have never witnessed occurred today. Mjøndalen’s star goalkeeper Sosha Makani was sent on loan to Strømsgodset, in order to allow the Iranian some game time at a level higher than the OBOS Ligaen. Makani is looking to assert himself as an option for the Iranian national team in time for their 2018 World Cup campaign.

(Photo: Digital Sports)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Makani will be a Strømsgodset player until 14th August 2017, giving the player just 6 months to establish himself as the Number 1 ‘Keeper there and put in performances worthy of World Cup inclusion. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Since joining Mjøndalen last Summer Makani has established himself as one of the best, if not the best, goalkeeper in the league. Interest from abroad in the form of Swiss side FC Sion was rumoured but Makani looked set to stay put for next season. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The negative aspects of this move seem to far outweigh the positives for Mjøndalen. Makani is under contract with the side, but if his performances for Strømsgodset during the loan period are of a high standard, what is to stop the Eliteserien side from looking to sign the player permanently? In this situation, it would be extremely hard for Makani to say no to Strømsgodset. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The move also begs the question; what are Mjøndalen’s goals for next season? Their business in the transfer market so far has been both ambitious and pleasing. Signings such as Petter Martinsen from Nest-Sotra and Pontus Silfwer from IK Frej represent good upgrades on current members of the squad. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>But with Makani leaving in such strange circumstances, it gives off the vibe that Mjøndalen are happy with simply keeping their status as an OBOS Ligaen side rather than challenging for promotion to the Eliteserien. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The simple fact is that replacing Makani is all but impossible. Mjøndalen had unearthed a gem when they signed the 30 year old from the Iranian league, but the chances of the side finding another goalkeeper both as good and as cheap as Makani are very slim.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>This is the most frustrating aspect of the move for both fans and observers. Mjøndalen have a number of players in their squad with the quality needed to challenge for promotion, but what kind of message does it send to them that they are ready to loan one of their star players to rivals Strømsgodset? >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The Mjøndalen players are a tight knit bunch and will no doubt be supportive of their colleague attempting to achieve his dreams of playing in the World Cup via a short spell at Strømsgodset, but surely deep down they will know that this move severely weakens their side in the short term.>

Fotball 1 Divisjon 2016 07.08.2016 Isachsen stadion Mjøndalen Resultat Mjøndalen keeper Sousha Makani gjorde en god debut Ullensaker / Kisa Foto: Robert Christensen Digitalsport Isachsen stadion, Mjøndalen, Sosha Makani in action against Ullensaker / Kisa Foto: Robert Christensen Digitalsport

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The positive aspect of the move is that if Makani does indeed end up returning to Mjøndalen in August ready to take his place in the side back, he will surely be better for the experience of playing in the Eliteserien. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Good performances for Strømsgodset in this 6 month period will only raise the goalkeepers stock even more and if Mjøndalen did want to sell in the summer, then they could demand a much higher fee than if sold now. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The sale of the brightest sparks in the OBOS Ligaen to teams in the Eliteserien is an inevitability. Just yesterday did Strømsgodset announce the signing of 2016’s OBOS Ligaen Player of the Year, Pontus Engblom. This is something that all OBOS Ligaen fans are both used to and accept, but the way in which Mjøndalen are conducting this move could seem foreign to even the most seasoned of fans. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Speaking about Makani’s move, CEO of Mjøndalen football Kenneth Karlsen said to the official site; >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>“Sosha Makani is an international goalkeeper with big ambitions. His dream is to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In order to retain his place in the national team of Iran, regular games at the top level of Norwegian football is a decisive factor. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Makani has a strong desire to achieve this. We understand Makani’s situation and also for Mjøndalen it is important that the player succeeds on the national level.” >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>This is undoubtedly a selfless act from Mjøndalen, despite the few benefits they get from the deal. Putting the well being of a player before the well being of the club is something that is rarely seen in world football and I am sure something that will be applauded from certain corners. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Mjøndalen now need to act quickly to replace Makani effectively. It will be an almost impossible task but the side have had a good record in the transfer market of late. ><

style=»font-weight: 400;»>Sosha Makani’s contract with Mjøndalen runs until 2018, whether he will honour that deal is another matter entirely, but the temptation to join Strømsgodset permanently after finishing his loan spell may be simply too hard to resist. >