Turkey keeper Demirel leaves national game due to fans’ jeering
AA photoTurkey’s national football team kept its slim chances of advancing to Euro 2016 by beating Kazakhstan on Nov. 16 in a game marred by coach Fatih Terim’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Volkan Demirel walked out ahead of the qualifier after being abused by Turkish fans during the warm-up.
The veteran plays for Spor Toto Super League club Fenerbahçe but the match was held at the stadium of fierce rival Galatasaray, whose supporters reportedly goaded the keeper.
Volkan Babacan played in goal instead after Demirel left the stadium and Turkey went on to win 3-1, grabbing its first victory of its campaign.
Demirel initially told the fans to be quiet but the abuse continued and he waved at then sarcastically, symbolically removed his gloves and marched off the pitch apparently on the verge of tears.
Report in the media said Demirel then went to national coach Terim and said he would rather not play in the game.
“None of my wife, my children or my family can escape these curses and insults. I’m not in the mood to play in front of those who swear at me so badly. I’d do more harm than good,” he was quoted as saying.
Terim defends player
Demirel could, under existing regulations, face a fine or a suspension for his walkout. But Terim said it was too early to rush to conclusions.
“We will talk about what happened together. Whatever I say will sound irrelevant now,” he said after the game.
“I need to talk to Volkan and other players first. I don’t want to get any false information out there. Volkan was in the changing room and appeared unable to play. He was very upset and left,” Terim said.
Meanwhile, there were violent scuffles outside the stadium as reporters seeking to approach Demirel as he left were beaten by security personnel. Seven people were detained yesterday on accusations of attacking reporters.
With the victory, Turkey sits in fourth spot with four points in Group A, which is led by the Czech Republic.
The Czechs continued their perfect run Nov. 16 with an entertaining 2-1 home win over surprise packet Iceland, while the Netherlands put its campaign on tack in a 6-0 rout of the Latvians.
Guus Hiddink had indicated that he would resign as coach of the Dutch if they slipped up against Latvia after losing two of their first three matches on the road to France.
However, the World Cup semifinalists recorded their second win in four games in Group A by thumping Latvia 6-0 in Amsterdam as the outstanding Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar both scored twice.
Captain Robin van Persie and Jeffrey Bruma were also on target to ensure that Hiddink – only appointed for a second spell in charge of the Oranje in the summer – would not be going anywhere.
The only blotch on an otherwise fine evening for the Netherlands was a knee injury that forced Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind off in the first half. The Czechs lead the group with 12 points, Iceland is second with nine, while the Oranje are third with six.