SC Cambuur Leeuwarden: A sharp up-turn needed
Can you be a surprise package three seasons in a row? Cambuur are looking to answer that question, as they have defied many expectations in the last two terms. After excellent work by Dwight Lodeweges in season one, letting the team settle in at Eredivisie level, it was Henk de Jong who turned the club from the Frisian capital into a more possession based side.
Even though they were in contention for a top half spot until the last few matchrounds last season, 2015 has not been smooth sailing for the team in blue and yellow. SC Cambuur have hardly picked up points outside of its own stadium and only the teams that were relegated won fewer points this calendar year. A sharp up-turn is needed and with the loss of two vital cogs in centre back Lucas Bijker and holding midfielder Mohamed El-Makrini a smooth campaign is far from a certainty.
With the signing of Marvin Peersman, Kai Heerings, Jergé Hoefdraad and Sjoerd Overgoor there is new blood with experience available to bolster the defensive side of things. Manchester City loanee Jack Byrne is highly rated within the youth system of the Blues and could well make an impact. But the two most exciting players SC Cambuur have acquired are still very much a doubt in terms of how they will progress. Czech midfielder Dominik Masek has been signed on a free from Hamburger SV and used to be one of the biggest talents in his country. The creative midfielder has just turned 20 and will be looking to prove himself in a league that should suit his qualities. Even more exciting is the prospect of Valmir Berisha. The Swedish striker (19) once was the next best thing in Swedish football and joined AS Roma when he was 17, but 18 months later a lack of progress has seen the youngster leave the Giallorossi. The striker has signed a one year deal at SC Cambuur as he felt the trajectory that they have in mind with him is the right one. With local assist king Furdjel Narsingh and the club’s joint top goalscorer at Eredivisie level Bartholomew Ogbeche still at the club, a blend of the old and the new should be able to keep the Leeuwarders up for another season.
Player to watch: Valmir Berisha
It might take a while before it’s actually possible to watch the talent that once was ‘the new Ibrahimovic’ in the Eredivisie. Valmir Berisha, born in Kosovo, raised in Sweden and of Albanian decent, comes with a promising reputation. The technically gifted striker ,not short of composure and power, seems the complete deal, but in order to get him up to speed to Dutch football and the playing style of the team it seems Cambuur might take it slow with him in the first few months. The emphasis here in both cases is on ‘might’. Because at BeNeFoot, we’re expecting him to make quick strides. If he can get his head straight and if he is nurtured properly, Berisha – who only turned 19 this summer – can explode onto the scene in Leeuwarden, as many Swedish strikers did before him.
BeNeFoot prediction: 14th