Coach Fatih Terim under fire as Turkey fails again
An unhappy Fatih Terim gestures during the turgid Euro 2016 qualifying match against Latvia on Oct. 13.Turkey coach Fatih Terim and Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chief Yıldırım Demirören are facing pressure to quit as the country’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 appear increasingly remote, even though qualifying has only just begun.
Turkey picked up its first point of the qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw in Latvia on Oct. 13, but it was not enough to take the team off the foot of Group A. After losing its opening two games, Turkey hit its stride when Bilal Kısa fired his side in front early in the second half, but Valerijs Sabala’s equalizer from the spot left both sides without a win in the section.
Also in Group A, Iceland stunned group favorite the Netherlands 2-0 and the Czech Republic got a comfortable 4-2 victory at Kazakhstan, meaning both teams now sit atop the section with perfect records and nine points.
The Netherlands sits in third spot with three points.
Turkey now has a mountain to climb if it is to qualify for Euro 2016 and will have to rely on the results of its rivals’ games, while also facing an under-pressure Dutch side that has a reduced margin of error itself.
“I believe we deserved to win tonight,” Terim told a post-match press conference. “We had something like 10 good chances and they were only able to score with a penalty. I can’t remember them creating anything in the first half, and the situation didn’t change much after the break, but that can happen in football. Latvia were extremely happy with the draw and that tells its own story. On the other hand, we are not satisfied at all.”
Having missed the last three major tournaments, the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, coach Terim and Demirören are in the public’s crosshairs.
“Terim cannot say he is new to the team, he has sole responsibility for the situation,” sports pundit Mehmet Demirkol said yesterday on NTVSpor. “How is it possible to have four different goalkeepers in four games? Coach Terim could not determine what the problem is. That is unacceptable for someone who has been involved with the national tam for a decade.”
According to former Galatasaray and international striker Ümit Karan, the problem lies in the way the country’s football is run.
“The limitation on foreign players is a dynamite in Turkish football,” Karan wrote Oct. 14 in daily Türkiye. “Local players sign five-year contracts and get paid whether they perform well or not. That is why they do not take training seriously. Remove the foreign player quota and see how the Turkish players work hard to earn that money.”
Turkish clubs in the top flight are allowed to sign and field six foreign players.
“If you want success in the national team, you must first fix football in the country. I hope that [TFF
chief] Demirören has understood that he is not fit for the job and he will do what is needed to be done,” Karan also wrote.
“We will have to wait for a new generation of players to come ... Maybe we will be ready for Euro 2020,” he added.