Former Estonia midfielder Martin Reim is back at FC Flora having taken up his first ever coaching role and has already set his sights on swift success.
Reim was at Flora for a total of 16 years in two stints before calling time on his playing career in December 2008. A veteran of 157 international appearances, he is the second most capped European footballer behind Latvia's Vitālijs Astafjevs. Now he is set for life in the dugout after assuming the Flora reins at the end of 2009 having seen the club limp to fourth place in the Meistriliiga.
Out of the public eye since retiring, Reim hinted that he is looking forward to returning to the forefront of the game. "I have my own football school in Tallinn, where I have been working with children," he said, "but, of course, I know that working in the academy and in the club are absolutely different."
Although his only experience of coaching was as an assistant to Janno Kivisild in the latter part of his Flora career, Reim is clear that club president Aivar Pohlak's offer was too good to turn down. He said: "How can I say no to an opportunity to return to my home club and to such an honorary position? The players listen to me." Reim added that he has already made strides in improving the atmosphere within the side, which was "not perfect" upon his arrival.
There is also no attempt to play down the inevitably lofty expectations at the club. "In any situation, with any players, Flora must fight for first place," he added. This goal will not be changed despite the loss of several players – Tõnis Vanna, Martin Vunk and Vjatšeslav Zahovaiko – to clubs abroad.
"We have signed contracts with two players from Georgia, but I also count on talented youth players. I will give them a chance and hope experienced players help them." A football man, and a Flora man, Reim can not wait to get going. "I like to be part of football," he continued. "I was overseeing work of different coaches and now have a chance to show my own knowledge and skills. If I succeed, then popularity will also come."
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