INTERNATIONAL CUP 2014
by Michael McCormick
Since their disappointing 2008 International Cup campaign, the Finland Icebreakers have gone back to the training track and established themselves as an up and coming threat in the AFL Europe competition. They will compete in the International Cup in 2014 with a renewed ferocity towards the game.
Captain of the Finnish national team and Chairman of the board, 28-year-old Mika Kupila, believes that his team has the ability to improve upon their previous International Cup results.
“I’d love to see a couple of good wins and tough fights with stronger teams,” Kupila stated. “Our team has a lot of potential and if we can play on our own level, I’m sure we can cause an upset here and there.”
The local competition was shortened to allow for a focus on the Icebreakers’ bid to claim some upset victories.
“We play 9v9 here in Finland so going full field will require some extra sessions,” Kupila explained. “We’ll have training in July to focus on key points with transitioning to the big field,”
The pool of talent runs deep in FInland, but Kupila remains confident that senior players such as Fredrik Romar, Ville Saarinen and Kaj Karlsson will prove their worth and be amongst the Cup’s best players.
As with the other European teams attending the Melbourne based competition, Finland has struggled with their fundraising efforts.
“The players themselves will mostly fund the trip,” Kupila revealed. “We will however be getting some assistance with accommodation in Melbourne and are, at the moment, in talks to hopefully get flights sorted out as well.”
Being a long time Carlton Blues supporter, the Icebreakers’ captain is looking forward to the opportunity to watch a game live and hopefully witness a win.
“Being in Melbourne, I hope to catch one of their games and I wouldn’t mind meeting the guys either,” Kupila remarked.
As far as his own team’s chances of winning, Kupila admits that it will be a tough march to the finals, but the focus remains on improving on 2008’s efforts.
“Competitiveness is key, if we can match them, we can beat them.”
Stay tuned during the week for more updates on their progress.