Mika Lönnström is more than looking forward to his newest challenge in football after being appointed Director of Sport at Finnish football club HIFK Fotboll last week.
The 43-year-old has returned to Finland after spending six years abroad, during which he coached first team football in Thailand, Maldives, Tanzania and Slovakia.
Before joining HIFK, he was Head Coach at ŠTK Fluminense Šamorín in the Slovakian First Division (2. Liga).
And while his new role may not involve coaching the first team, Lönnström feels this is the right time and right club to take on this new position.
“I am very motivated and excited about my new challenge at HIFK Fotboll,” said Lönnström. “I have been accepted into a club that has a strong spirit and a strong desire for success.
“Since joining HIFK I have noticed yet again how important it is that those in the club share the same values and have a common goal.
“My job is to support all of this and try to help HIFK Fotboll grow and develop as a club and that through a strong belief we will achieve a common dream.”
One of Lönnström’s key objectives as Director of Sport will be player recruitment for the first team. The Finnish First Division (Ykkönen) kicks off at the end of next month but Lönnström feels the team is near ready for the new campaign.
“The first team squad is almost complete but we are expecting to bring in a few more players,” he said.
“What we also want to do is bring in more young players into the first team. We want this club to become a stepping stone for young players to develop and hopefully move abroad.
“I want to bring ideas and concepts to the club that I have learned during my time working abroad.
"I’m only just getting to know people at the club but I already have a very good impression and feeling about working here.
“We all want to create a very strong identity and sense of belonging at HIFK Fotboll.”