Finland, a country known for its thousand lakes but one might wonder if they ever will get known for its thousands of Albanian football players instead. Or well, sometimes it feels like it. While some play in the highest division known as the Veikkausliiga there are others fighting in Ykkönen, the second tier.
Meet Ekenäs IF’s Albanian duo. Fisnik Gerxhaliu and Mergim Bushi. One is born in Kosovo, the other one in Finland. One is making his third season with the team while the other one has just signed for them.
Having played in Ekenäs since 2013 striker Fisnik Gerxhaliu (the guy on the left) was one of the key players in the team last year. Born in Vushtrri, Kosovo, his 16 goals helped them advance to Ykkönen and he was the first player in Ekenäs to score this season as well. Before the season began Gerxhaliu was accompanied by another Albanian as Ekenäs decided to sign the energetic and versatile Mergim Bushi. Unlike his fellow team-mate Bushi was born in Finland but has his roots in South-East Kosovo.
Ekenäs may not be the richest team in Finland, on the contrary actually as they have the poorest economy but the underdogs wants to prove everyone wrong. Gerxhaliu helped his team return to Ykkönen, last time they played there was over 60 years ago and now they are aiming for the top.
From the third tier to the second, next stop: Veikkausliiga!