One of only two teams along with HB Tórshavn never to have played outside the top division in the Faroe Islands, KÍ Klaksvík's proud run is under threat as they find themselves struggling in the relegation zone this term.
Positioned ninth out of ten teams and four points from safety, KÍ were at least able to climb off the bottom after securing their first victory of the season on Sunday, a 2-0 away triumph over AB Bóltfelag. "That was such an incredible relief," said veteran defender Jan Andreasen, who made his debut for the side in 1988. "The only thing people have been saying for a long time has been: 'When are you going to win?' This is just really sweet."
Their 17 league titles notwithstanding, few have been surprised to see KÍ in the lower reaches this season. Financial concerns have forced the club to cut expenses and they have been fielding a mostly local lineup, featuring a large number of younger players and a smattering of veterans, such as 36-year-old Andreasen and 38-year-old goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen. There are no foreign players on the books this year and KÍ were even forced to release Rógvi Jacobsen at the end of last season, unable to afford the wages of the country's record international scorer.
KÍ chairman Tummas Lervig never hid that he expected a troublesome season and, before the championship began, he stated: "If we stay in the division, we'll be satisfied – every victory will be welcome." Those words of warning seemed unnecessarily bleak when the club kicked off with a 1-1 draw at respected outfit NSÍ Runavík, despite fielding an outfield unit with an average age of 20. KÍ then drew 2-2 at home against Vikingur, now second in the standings, but the situation quickly deteriorated after that until the first glimmer of hope arrived at the weekend.
With 14 matches still to play, the club intend to strengthen their squad when the transfer window springs open at the start of the three-week summer break, which begins after Thursday's instalment of games. "There's no question of us just sitting with our arms folded when the transfer window opens on 26 June," explained Frídin Ziskason, the chairman of KÍ Ltd, the company that runs first-team affairs.
KÍ's next outing is at home against eight-placed ÍF Fuglafjørður on Wednesday, in what could be a decisive moment for the club. Win and they would climb to within a point of safety, whereas defeat would leave them seven points adrift and perhaps heading towards a first ever relegation.
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