A veteran with an impressive CV replaced the injured Erika Skarbø in Arna-Bjørnar's goal on Sunday. Reidun Seth is Norway's oldest footballer at the top level.
Reidun Seth is both a European and a World champion, and also has an Olympic medal in her collection. Now the keeper-trainer has to put the gloves on again and mind the goal after Skarbø broke a wrist in the weekend's match against Kolbotn. Seth came in with 20 minutes to go in the match, which Arna-Bjørnar lost 2-1.
On Saturday she will stand in goal against Fløya at Arna Stadium and the indications are that she will be there when the club plays its first match of the autumn season against Amazon Grimstad.
"Poor Reidun, she never gets a chance to retire", said Erika Skarbø sympathetically. "It's going all right. A crisis is a crisis. I am OK for a few matches but I am not a long term solution. We are working on bringing a keeper in for the autumn season", said Reidun Seth.
"With Reidun we know what we have. She knows the players and the game and is good at keeping cool and maintaining communications with the back four. But she is not a top-trained keeper with a future in front of her, so it's important that the rest of the team know her well", said trainer Morten Kalvenes.
44-year-old Reidun Seth began her career with Løv-Ham and Nymark before going to Sweden in 1985. There she played for Trollhättan, GAIS and Öxabeck among others, before returning to Bergen to play for Sandviken (1998) and Arna-Bjørnar (1999-2001). Seth was also the regular keeper on the national team for many years before Bente Nordby took over, and has winners medals from the World Cup in 1995 and the European Cup in 1993, as well as silver from the 1991 World Cup and bronze from the 1996 Olympics. "The only thing I want is a medal from the Norwegian league. It would be fantastic to earn one this year at the age of 44", said the keeper.
After Sunday's match Arna-Bjørnar lies in 5th place in the Toppserien, but is in contact with the top clubs. Many have tipped the club for a medal finish this season.
National team trainer Eli Landsem played in front of Reidun Seth in her time in the national team. She is impressed to see the 44-year-old putting on the gloves once again. "It is not a happy situation for Arna-Bjørnar but it's phenomenal that Reidun is well enough trained to step in. It is really sporting of her", said Landsem to NRK.
Reidun Seth will now set a new record in every match she plays, as she is by a good margin the oldest player ever at top level in Norway - man or woman. "A 44-year-old in the top division is really special. The closest I can remember is Claus Reitmaier at Lillestrøm, who was 41", said NRK's football guru Arne Scheie. The other expert, Olav Traaen can't remember anyone older either. "Reidun is one of the best Norwegian keepers ever, and has had a memorable and long career, which compels respect", said Traaen.
Seth herself is not too pleased to be setting a record every time she takes the field in the Arna-Bjørnar shirt. "I'm not sure it's a record that's that cool to set. We have a very young team, I raise the average age quite a lot", she smiled. The youngest player in the club's Toppserien squad, Åsne Takle Eide, is 28 years younger.
"How is your form before the Fløya match?" - "Hopefully all right. For someone of my age I'm in good form. But everyone on the team is clear that it isn't Erika between the posts. I have continued but things are not as good as in my younger days. There has been a fantastic improvement in women's football since my time".
Arna-Bjørnar has brought in former Sandviken keeper Anita Berg as a reserve for Seth in the coming matches, and they also have Rebecca Hjellegjerde up their sleeve. But Seth is clear that the club must find a new keeper for the autumn season while Erika Skarbø is injured. "We are taking soundings both in Norway and in foreign parts to find a keeper for the autumn. With luck there will only be two matches for me to play", said Seth, who played five matches last year when both Skarbø and replacement keeper Precious Dede were injured. According to Morten Kalvenes it is not likely they will bring Precious Dede back to the club, and he is not ruling out a few matches for Seth. "A replacement for Erika is priority number one in the summer", said Kalvenes. Roy Hilmar Svendsen http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/hordaland/sport_nrk_hordaland/1.7193622
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