Etiketler | "Turkish football"

Roaring for Galatasaray: Arda Turan

Galatasaray’s youth programme continues to produce quality young talents. Its latest shining star is Arda Turan. He was a well known player in Turkey, through his involvement at every level of football up to his eventual breakthrough for Galatasaray’s senior team. The talented youngster announced his arrival on the international stage at this summer’s Euro 2008 championships in Austria/Switzerland.(insidefutbol)

In Turkish football Galatasaray have an important role and many look to them to provide some of the talented youngsters that will form the next generation of international players. We could call them the Ajax of Turkey in this respect. Tugay Kerimoðlu and Emre Belözoðlu are the well known players in England that came from the Galatasaray youth setup. Further players of note are Okan Buruk and Bülent Korkmaz.  They all started their professional career at “GS” just like Arda Turan. They have become world stars and now it is his turn.

Arda Turan began at the amateur club of his quarter, “Bayrampasa Altintepsispor” and he didn’t take long to display a high level of technical ability far beyond his tender years. Legendary Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim saw the potential in him, and signed him to the Galatasaray youth team when he was just 12. He played consecutively for four years in the youth teams of “GS” and as part of the so called “Golden Generation” team he won many titles as he progressed.

In Turkey, youth players are often given the job of ball-feeders at official games. Once Arda Turan was feeding the ball back in play to Hagi. When Georghe Hagi arrived as coach at Galatasaray, in 2004-2005, Arda found himself a place in the first team. Even if he could play in friendly games before the season, he couldn’t get so many chances to play throughout the season proper. In the 2005-2006 season he has loaned out to Vestel Manisaspor. Arda didn’t lose faith at being loaned out and simply worked even harder for the time he was at Manisaspor, even though on some occasions he was played at right-back! He improved his skills throughout the season with very good performances, clocking up 15 games and two goals, even making an assist that didn’t go unnoticed against none other than Galatasaray!

When Arda returned to Galatasaray for the next season he proved to coach Eric Gerets that he was a player worthy of being involved in the senior squad. He started in the first eleven in a Champions League qualification game against Mlada Boleslav. In his very first game in European competition, Arda scored twice in an excellent performance and helped Galatasaray to reach the next stage. Arda was fast on the road to being considered as indispensable to the first team.

Arda continued his good European form soon after by picking up the Man of the Match award in his first Champions League game at home to Bordeaux.

A dream came true for the young potential star. Arda was given the chance to become an important part of the first team by coach Gerets and managed to play in all Galatasaray’s games in the group stage of the Champions League, except Liverpool. The reason for him missing the Liverpool game was a so called “moment of madness”. The Turkish youngster was punished by the referee in the group game against Bordeaux after he headbutted the French side’s Pedretti. After this incident Arda garnered much critiscm from the Turkish media, who before had had nothing but praise for the young star. Arda was forced into making a public apology and declared he did not know what had come over him, but that it would not happen again.

Last season at Galatasaray began with high expectations for Arda, especially with the signing of Brazilian Lincoln, who everyone was eager to see him link up with. The pressure didn’t get to him and he continued where he had left off the season before by providing two assists in the first game of the season. During the title winning campaign Arda clocked up 30 league appearances, fourteen assists and seven goals. Perhaps his most important performance for his club came right near the end of the season when the pressure was on in the title race, Arda fired in a hat-trick against rivals Sivasspor in a game that moved his club closer to that Super Lig crown.

Arda’s international career started with the youth national teams where he picked up twenty one caps, scoring eleven goals. However, the reason everyone now knows Arda Turan is all due to his performances in Euro 2008. Even in the qualifying stages he was making a name for himself, playing nine games and providing three assists.

Arda may not have started the first game of Euro 2008 against Portugal, because of Fatih Terim’s gamble of playing Kazim and Mevlut, but he did get a chance against Switzerland, and how he took it! Arda’s fantastic run and shot in the 92nd minute sent Turkey into that last game against the Czech Republic with a real chance of qualifying from the group.

One of Arda’s often overlooked skills is his ability to hold up the ball and wait for his team-mates to join the attack. Some people think the reason he does this is because he lacks pace, but he has often said before that he feels it is important for the team to attack together. Against the Czech Republic and Croatia Arda did this many times and the team were much stronger when they attacked in force.

Whilst Arda has an amazing ability to dribble past opponents, what he perhaps lacks is a powerful shot from outside the box. People who saw his great strike against Switzerland in the Euros would be surprised at this, but in Turkey it is well-known. The goal against Switzerland however did show that this is an area of his game he is working hard at.

To be a world star, a player should win many titles says tennis player Roger Federer. Winning titles is necessary but furthermore, to do this, you need a strong character, which Arda has, too. Arda is a livewire in training, joking with his team-mates and always motivated.

With his comments after the Euros he showed that he has the potential to be a world star. For example, he scored the first penalty against Croatia, and when a journalist asked him about taking the first penalty he said: “It was an important opportunity not to miss, because you can not play all the time in the semi-final. You can not know what the future brings, maybe that is my last competition. It was a big risk but I’ve taken it and raised my hand when my boss asked who is going to take the first penalty.” That is Arda, never afraid to shy away from taking responsibility and feeling, importantly, that not to take responsibility is to miss out.

The youngster’s biggest dream was to play with Hakan Sukur, a dream he realised, and whilst Arda says he hopes to play more times alongside this legend of the Turkish game, that seems impossible now he has departed Galatasaray.

After the Euros ended there were many transfer rumours about this potential star. In my opinion he should make the move to a big European team in another league to continue his personal development. The national team would surely feel the benefit of that. Also if Arda left then perhaps the next star can emerge from the Galatasaray youth factory.

At the time of writing however a move for Arda looks out of the question. Galatasaray president Adnan Polat stated that none of the team’s stars will move before the Turkish giants have won a European Cup. So for this next year it seems certain that Arda will stay a Galatasaray player and that is something the fans will not compain about!

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Euro 2008: Nihat – Turkey’s Main Threat

By far the most successful Turkish player to play outside his homeland is Nihat Kahveci. He didn’t achieve this feat easily but his path to success could not have been planned better. He got where he is today step by step. (insidefutbol)

Nihat was born on 23rd November 1979 in İstanbul. He started his career at Beşiktaş in the youth team.When John Benjamin Toshack was manager of Beşiktaş, he brought Nihat into the senior side, having been convinced of his potential by the youth team coach in the 1997/1998 season.

Nihat became the favourite player of Beşiktaş fans very quickly, with his pacey action packed performances on the right wing. In the 1998 Turkish Cup final, Nihat scored the winning goal to defeat bitter rivals Galatasaray and bring he cup back to Beşiktaş . In six successful years at the club he played 144 games and scored 65 goals for the Black Eagles. In 2000 he was first picked for the national side.

Nihat took his chance to move abroad in 2002 to link up with old manager John Benjamin Toshack at Real Sociedad for a fee of  €5 million. This was to prove a milestone in his career.

At Real Sociedad he blended very well with Darko Kovacevic and both helped the club to second place in La Liga, which was a huge achievement for the club and one of its best seasons for years.

In his second season with Sociedad, the duo took the team to the last 16 in the Champions League for the first time. Real Sociedad were Nihat’s first team in La Liga, and he scored more than 50 goals in four seasons, equalling the record Ronaldo had set of being one of a select few foreign players to achieve do this.

Villareal signed him at the start of the 2006/2007 season on a free transfer. He started his career at Villareal with high expectations but in the middle of the season a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the campaign.

After his second big knee injury he return to action with explosive performances and scored 18 goals in La Liga this season. This put him as Villarreal’s leading goalscorer and fourth overall in the Spanish goal charts. Of course this performance opened the doors of the national team.

Nihat has been involved with the national side since 2000 when he was first picked and he has already been involved in some key achievements. Turkey’s biggest successes in the 2002 World Cup and 2003 Confederations Cup both featured an in-form Nihat. With those experiences and the high performance in La Liga he became is a key player for Turkey in the Euros.

Nihat has already played a huge part in getting Turkey to Austria/Switzerland. He scored the winning goals in both games against Norway and Bosnia, which Turkey needed to win to ensure progression.

He hasn’t got any real weakness except his heading ability, because of his lack of height, but this is understandable. It also helps him with a key strength that he does possess. As everbody knows short players are faster than the tall players and that makes him dangerous when Turkey counter-attack.

In his early career he was a right winger at Beşiktaş and that helped him develop his dribbling ability high and Nihat can beat opponents with ease. Added to pace and dribbling ability is the ability to shoot hard from long distance. He can also score from free-kicks like he did in Turkey’s last friendly game against Uruguay.

The skills he possesses make him dangerous all over the pitch, and I believe opposing sides will need to watch him carefully, otherwise in a second he can be in a goalscoring position. At 28 years-old Nihat is probably at the peak of his career, the Euros are his time to show exactly what he can do. He is going to be the most dangerous player in the Turkish team, and Fatih Terim considers him as his “right-hand man” on the pitch.

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Super Lig Coach of the Season: Bülent Uygun

The manager of Sivasspor, who started his sporting career as a wrestler, now seems set to wrestle Anatolioan football to the top of the Turkish game. (insidefutbol)

Until the age of 14, Bulent Uygun was a wrestler. This was mainly because of his father who was a wrestling coach. One day Uygun went to watch his friends playing football as they usually did, but on this particular day one of the teams was missing a player. The coach of this team managed to persuade Uygun to take this boy’s place. After the game, the coach called his father and said: “If you push him to be a football player, he is going to be star.” Uygun’s father heeded the coach’s advice and the youngster’s wrestling career was over. What many don’t know is that Uygun still feels emotional about this change of career. He was a successful wrestler and felt he could have achieved great things in the ring.

Young Bulent Uygun’s football career began at Sakaryaspor in the junior team when he was 14. Whilst at Sakaryaspor Uygun was capped 32 times for various Turkish national youth teams. When the youngster realised that his playing time with Sakaryaspor was limited, he transferred to Ankara Şekerspor, when he was 17. After one year at Ankara, he moved on again to Kocaelispor in 1989. This is the club at which he truly begun to shine.

Uygun became the conductor of Kocaelispor’s successful orchestra between 1989 and 1993. In the 1992/1993 season, when Kocaelispor played very good football and finished the year at the top of the table he scored seven goals. When he learnt that Fenerbahce wanted to buy him at the end of the season, he didn’t give 100% and his performances tailed off, the reason for this is that Uygun was desperate not to be injured and put his transfer at risk,-he made this confession years later. Partly through this Kocaelispor lost the chance to be champions for that season and finished the table in 4th position.

After he transferred to Fenerbahce with his speed, dribbling ability and cool finishing in front of goal, he scored 22 goals for that season and became the top scorer in the Super Lig. He was the first top scorer to be anything other than a striker. During this season he also became well known for an unusual goal celebration, the salute of a soldier.

Uygun’s career at Fenerbahce ended in the middle of the 1996/1997 season when then president Ali Sen decided he wasn’t able to reproduce his form of old for the side. In later years Ali Sen would admit that this decision was the worst mistake of his period in office.

Bulent returned to perhaps his first love Kocaelispor; however fate was not kind to him and hopes of recapturing the form of his earlier spell at the club were quickly ended with a broken leg picked up in his very first game.

Afterwards he was never the same player for Kocaelispor and continued his career as a journeyman player, playing successively for Çanakkale Dardanelspor, Trabzonspor, Göztepe, Zonguldakspor, Kilimli Belediyespor and Anadolu Üsküdar 1908. In his last season he played at Sivasspor, where he finished his career as a professional football player in 2004.

After his playing career ended he started to work at Sivasspor as Executive Manager, a role he performed for 3½ years. In 2007 he took the control of the team as Technical Director-Manager in the 12th week of the season and immediately enjoyed success with victory against Besiktas. He finished his first season with Sivasspor in 7th place, quite an achievement considering he took control of the team when they were rooted to the bottom of the Super Lig.

The following season saw Sivasspor begin with a series of impressive home performances. After the first period of the league Sivasspor were amazingly at the top of the table. After this success everybody started to believe that Sivasspor could even win the title.

Despite this progress Uygun constantly changed his opinion as to whether the side could win the title from game to game. He himself seemed shocked by their performances and continual victories. The side though suffered a wake-up call when they lined up against Fenerbahce at home. A good performance from the visitors saw Sivasspor crushed 4-1. Until this game Sivasspor had been unbeatable at home and everybody believed that at least they could take one point from the game. But Bülent Uygun appeared to get his tactics wrong, failing to motivate the side and failing to deflect the focus from his side by making many many statements before the game to the press.

However in the coming weeks Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas all dropped points. Once again Sivasspor could win the title, this despite losses at home to Fenerbahce and Beskitas (the visit of Galatasaray is to come).

The achievement of in keeping Sivasspor in the title race despite injuries to key players like Pini Balili lies with Bülent Uygun’s tactical knowledge. In the Turkish 4-4-2 magazine he says that to improve his management skills he slept in front of the door of Fatih Terim to talk about his experiences with the national team, Galatasaray, Fiorentina and Milan. Uygun further said that he adopted many of the training programs that he saw Terim use. He also talked with the Basketball manager Aydın Örs to learn about zonal marking, and driving a man behind the defence, and he says that he is not addicted to any tactical arrangement like 4-4-2, and always changes his tactics in every game to outwit the opposing team. But I have to say that he really failed in this regard against Fenerbahce because they didn’t play like they had played before and as a result didn’t get success.

Bülent Uygun’s success has really been based on waiting for the opposing team to make a mistake, and then counter-attacking with pace. It is a tribute to this hot property in Turkish management that Sivasspor are in the title race with just two games to go! If they can somehow manage to take the Super Lig championship it will be a very big success for Anatolian football, and of course Bülent Uygun.

Kategorisi 0-Özel Dosyalar, 1-Futbol, English articles, Spor Toto Süper Lig, Türkiyeden FutbolYorum (0)

Proud Feldkamp Forced Out of Galatasaray

Since Özhan Canaydın became the chairman of Turkish giants Galatasaray, he developed a habit of quickly blaming his coaches for any failure and fired them immediately.  This habit has continued to this day and veteran 73 year-old German coach Karl Heinz Feldkamp is the latest victim. (insidefutbol)

Even before Feldkamp officially signed with Galatasaray the Turkish football media began to criticise him because of his age and made repeated insinuations about his health. When he was the manager of Beşiktaş, the German left the team in the middle of the season because of heart problems. How could Galatasaray trust the old man’s health enough to hire him as their manager? That was the first criticisim the coach had to deal with. He had, unbelievably, also worked for just for 1 ½  seasons in the last 17 years, it was understandable the media also asked questions about whether he had lost his ability to coach a team.

So, from the very first moment he took his place in the dugout Feldkamp’s reign was beset by criticism. In his first game as manager Galatasaray won 4-0 at their Ali Sami Yen stadium. With this outstanding result the team brimmed with confidence and proceeded to go unbeaten until they met rivals Fenerbahce.

In the first period of the season Galatasaray lost just one game, and sat proudly on top of the Super Lig table. Everything looked fine when you looked at the statistics from the league, but in the UEFA Cup the team was going badly. Galatasaray is a team,which is accustomed to being the most successful Turkish team in Europe and the results gained in the early stages against weak teams did not satisfy the president, his administiration, or the fans.

With the winter break the transfer window opened and Feldkamp felt there was a desperate need for a defensive midfielder to be bought after the injury of Swedish national team captain Tobias Linderoth, in addition to an experienced goalkeeper. Defender Emre Güngör and midfielder Ahmed Barusso were the only players that arrived and this was despite the coach insisting at least four more should join the squad.

Without enough players arriving Feldkamp tried all of the remaining options available to him in many different positions. Despite this he couldn’t manage to find a formula to make the side stronger. For instance, as everybody knows Servet Çetin is a player who is strong and ambitious, but not technical. Due to the lack of an incoming defensive midfielder Servet was tried in this position, despite not being suited to it as he is a defender. Feldkamp also changed the positions of other players many times. He tried stiker Hasan Şaş, midfielders Ahmed Barusso and Barış Özbek as a right backs, forward Shabani Nonda as a playmaker and even Emre Güngör as a defensive midfielder, as he searched for new options. One time he made Serkan Çalık, a young talented forward, play as a sweeper for the last few minutes of a Turkish Cup Game against Fenerbahçe. All of this experimentation would be acceptable only in friendly games and in pre-season, not in the middle of a campaign to win the title.

After moving players from their natural and preferred positions it was understandable that many were not just upset, but even angry. When Adnan Polat had won the presidential elections in March (he was previously the vice-president and played a key role in bringing Feldkamp to Galatasaray) he arranged a one to one meeting with the players. What he heard was predictable. The players were unhappy they had been forced to play in unfamiliar positions. They felt it was unfair they should be criticised when they played poorly in a totally new position. The squad even went as far as saying Feldkamp was not managing the team well, and only without him could they be champions.

After this meeting Adnan Polat and Feldkamp held talks. In the conversation between them, Adnan Polat gave Kalli some advice about how to manage the team, but “Kalli” (Feldkamp’s nickname in Turkey) is not a coach that takes kindly to being told how to do his job. For him it was a sign the players had lost all confidence in him and after this meeting Feldkamp announced he was resigning. Feldkamp’s assistant left, too.

It is clear to me that Feldkamp was forced out, because Adnan Polat knew that by speaking directly to the players and then advising such a proud manager as Feldkamp how to do his job, he would react in only one way: to resign.

The situation is even stranger when the man who has just become president of Galatasaray, a man who trusts Feldkamp and was key to his appointment in the first place, forces him to leave the club almost as soon as he sits in the president’s chair. Adnan Polat had also said he wanted Feldkamp to take the position of Football Advisor to the Board when he finally stopped coaching.

All this shows that the new president doesn’t really have a plan for the future. This was further confirmed by the fact that so many managers, each with differing ideas on how to play the game, were contacted about taking over. For now the Turkish press believe that Dutchman Louis van Gaal may be next in line for the job.

The players contributed directly to the removal of Karl Heinz Feldkamp, and that is not a healthy sign for any club. However, the one positive is that now the players have no excuses left and those who did not enjoy life under Feldkamp can take pleasure in their football without him. Perhaps the relief felt by some after Feldkamp’s departure could provide the motivation to win both the Turkish Cup and, importantly, Super Lig. But if they could do this, the position, the effect of a manager will surely have to be questioned. Because if any team can be successful like this, why do they need a manager?

Kategorisi 0-Özel Dosyalar, 1-Futbol, English articles, Galatasaray, Spor Toto Süper Lig, Türkiyeden FutbolYorum (0)

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