TOO GOOD FOR SECOND DIVISION?
This year saw Raufoss, KFUM Oslo, Bryne and Hødd suffer relegation from the OBOS Ligaen. In truth, it does seem as though the right clubs ended up going down as their performances across the entire season were largely below par, but there are many players contracted to these sides who could quite easily be playing OBOS league football or even higher next season .
In this piece, I will take a look at the players from these four relegated sides whom I believe to be capable of playing at a higher level.
Raufoss did not have much to cheer for this year. The team is celebrating after scoring the 1-1 equalizer against Mjøndalen (Foto: Digitalsport).
Raufoss had an extremely disappointing debut in the OBOS Ligaen despite many tipping them to be dark horses for a playoff spot. Their brilliant attacking football last season in the 2.Divisjon captured the attention of many pundits, but it was their lack of defensive nous this season that let them down. Despite this, there were a handful of standout performers for the side and certainly some players capable of continuing their career in the OBOS Ligaen.
Nicolai Fremstad, Raufoss (Photo: Digital Sports)
Nicolai Fosso Fremstad –
Despite playing just 9 times last season, Fremstad showed that he definitely has the ability to play in Norway’s second tier at least. At just 18 years old, he already has 7 Norwegian U’18 caps to his name. Playing mostly on the wing, Fremstad showed in his few starts that he has all the attributes needed to continue playing at OBOS-Liga level. A move seems unlikely, however, as he is still under contract with the side until 2017. One to keep an eye on though, as he should get his breakthrough season in the 2.Divisjon next season.
Anton Henningsson, Raufoss (Photo: Digital Sports)
Anton Henningsson –
A strange year for Swedish forward Henningsson, who scored 3 & assisted 3 goals in 16 appearances this year. A bad ankle injury in the key part of the season meant Anton missed many crucial games and it could easily be said that if Raufoss had had him fit, they may well have picked up a few more points throughout the season. At well over 6ft, Henningsson is built like a traditional target man, but was played out wide for most of the season. In my opinion, Anton could do a lot of damage as a traditional centre forward, he has the strength and positional ability needed to comfortably score a lot of goals as an out & out striker. His goal in the final game of the season against KFUM Oslo was Berbatov-esque and it is that exact style of play that should see a few OBOS clubs sniffing around him this Winter.
KFUMs debut-season in the OBOS-liga, they only lasted for one season. (Foto: Digitalsport)
KFUM were never expected to stay up this season, but surprised many with their early season form. The stand out performance has to be the 5-0 win against high flying Levanger but some poor late season form from the side saw them fall into the bottom four, and truthfully, they never looked like surviving. These are the players that caught my eye this season.
Christoffer Dahl, YMCA (Photo Digital Sport)
Christoffer Dahl –
At 32 years of age, Dahl was clearly the stand out player for KFUM this year, making many observers’ teams of the year (including my own). Dahl is a classy midfielder with an eye for goal, he contributed directly to 9 goals last season for KFUM. It would be hard to prise Dahl away from KFUM due to family and other commitments, but the former Lyn- and Hønefoss-player easily has the ability to play OBOS Ligaen football for the next few years.
Robin Rasch, YMCA (Photo: Digitlasport)
– Rasch is a player that has grown on me the past two years. Despite suffering the ignominy of back to back relegations, Rasch has been a stand out performer in both the Follo & KFUM sides. Like Dahl, Rasch is a classy midfielder, he is arguably one of the best passers in the league and is a decent free kick taker. At 22 years old. Robin has a lot to offer many OBOS Ligaen sides. I have heard he is a very ambitious footballer, so it would not surprise me to see him playing OBOS Ligaen football once more next season.
Bryne Fitim Kastrati (v), Ante Knezoviv (m), Bajram Ajeti (h) sit on the grass after the match against Fredrikstad and relegation that followed. (Photo: Digital Sports)
For the first time in well over 30 years. Bryne suffered relegation to Norway’s 3rd tier. It did not come as a surprise to many, after 2 years of internal chaos at the club. The managerial merry go round this year did not help matters at all with Gaute Larsen, Alf Ingve Berntsen and Ole Hjelmhaug all having a go at the job. Hjelmhaug, who took over for the final 3rd of the season, did pick up some important results but his side were relegated on the last day as other results went against them. Bryne have many exciting youngsters in their side including Erling Braut Haland, Adrian Berntsen & Einar Tunheim Lye, but these are the players who I believe are currently ready to compete at a higher level.
Marius Lode, Bryne (Photo: Digital Sports)
– Lode was rightly punished last season for taking a banned substance, but after his almost year long exile, his comeback coincided with a brilliant run of form from Bryne. Lode showed signs last season that he was developing into a brilliant CB but this year he confirmed that he is ready to compete at a higher level. In the 11 games he played in, Bryne conceded just 15 goals (A big improvement on the figures beforehand) and Lode’s pace and reading of the game really helped his side as they almost survived the drop. There were rumours that Lode was being looked at by a number of clubs, including a Tippeligaen side, but i think one more year at OBOS level will do him good. Lode still needs to show he can perform to a high level over an entire season and so leaving Bryne could be for the good of his career.
Bajram Ajeti, Bryne. Ajeti with his old club Asker (Photo: Digital Sports).
Bajram Ajeti –
It speaks volumes that the two players I have picked as stand out performers for Bryne have only played in the second half of the season, the team’s performance as a whole improved when the likes of Lode, Ajeti, Helle and even Kastrati started playing well. Bajram Ajeti has a bit of a poor reputation around Norway it seems, but his on field performances last season showed that he is more than good enough to play at a higher level that the 2.Divisjon. His goal scoring record since 2014 has been exceptional, with 37 goals in 61 games. Ajeti really reminded me of Craig Bellamy when he was playing for Bryne this year, his tenacity on the pitch and aggression is almost unrivalled in the division and frankly it was nice to see a player with a real hunger for the game. Despite his reputation, his on field heroics this year means that he is more than worth the gamble for almost any OBOS club. Latest reports says Ajeti this week has been one of the stand-out players at Lillestrøm, were he could be given the chance to prove himself good enough for Tippeliga-level in 2017.
Hødd were relegated after the final whistle in the last game of the season. (Foto: Digitalsport)
Hødd were surprisingly relegated this season having totally under performed throughout the season. New coach at the start of the season, Hans-Erik Eriksen was given barely enough time to set up his office before he was turfed out in favour of former assistant Steinar Lein. The gamble did not pay off and the side were relegated after some frankly awful late season form. Despite this, there were still a few stand out performers in the side, with Joakim Wrele already being signed up by Levanger and Christoffer Aasbak also being close to a move to the Nord-Trøndelag side.
Fredrik Sjølstad, Hødd (Photo: Digital Sports)
– Fredrik was signed from HamKam as a direct replacement for Molde bound Fredrik Aursnes. Previously, he had Become a fixture in the HamKam side in both the OBOS League & 2.Divisjon with his performances impressing many. A lot of the time this season, he flew well under the radar, but his quality on the ball was obvious. Fredrik is a player Who could seamlessly fit intomany OBOS sides, Whether it be in a 4-3-3, 4-4-2 or even a 3-5-2. His capabilities as a defensive midfielder as well as a more creative outlet in the middle mean he could fit in nicely to many systems. I would love to see what he could do that a better OBOS side, but with a contract until 2018, it on Apr well be unlikely anyone would pay up.
Robin Shroot, Hødd
– I am sure there is no doubt in most people’s’ minds that Robin Shroot could be the best striker in the OBOS Ligaen on his day. When in form and full of confidence, Shroot can score in game after game after game, as demonstrated in the second half of this season. To have ended up scoring 12 goals in 30 games after a frankly awful beginning to the season is exceptional. A true poacher, Shroot’s finishing ability is clearly one of the best in the division, but it is his ability to play a bit deeper too that sets him apart from most OBOS strikers. I would personally love to see Robin back in the OBOS Ligaen, he has shown that he can do it at this level and if a club is ready to gamble on him, then they could quite well have acquired a 20 goal a season striker.