Avcı draws road map for a new Turkish national team

Avcı draws road map for a new Turkish national team

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Avcı draws road map for a new Turkish national team

AA photo

Newly appointed Turkey coach Abdullah Avcı has rejected suggestions that the national football team has hit rock-bottom, instead outlining plans to focus on grassroots projects to lead the team to future tournaments.

Speaking on private Turkish sports channel NTV Spor on Nov. 19, Avcı said the national team had deep problems.

“We missed the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship but we have never been a team consistently making it to the big tournaments,” he said. “And we will take our steps to become one that consistently competes in those tournaments.”

Turkish national football team attracted huge criticism after it failed to qualify for the European Football Championships, but Avcı refused to be drawn into gloom.

“Some say Turkish football has hit rock-bottom, but I don’t agree with that,” he said. “We have talented players with potential.”

Avcı said grassroots projects would be developed to hone such young talent.

“We are a society with remarkable talent but we have problems in education,” he said. “We will work on teaching the players to play right. Players should learn tactics and systems in youth levels. If we sort our problems about education, we will reap benefits in the long term.”

He added that Turkey should take its place among the powerhouses of the football world.

“Spain, England, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Portugal are the heavyweights of Europe. We are lagging behind them,” he said. “We will plan how to join this group. We will make plans to lay good foundations, learn to play right and eventually become a good tournament team.”

Avcı was brought to the helm on Nov. 17, two days after Turkey lost to Croatia 3-0 on aggregate to miss out on Euro 2012. Experienced coach Guus Hiddink’s contract was terminated immediately and Avcı, who was a successful coach with Istanbul BB, was brought in as gaffer. The 48-year-old spent five years with the Istanbul club and led its transformation from a second-tier league side to a solid top-flight team, which also contested the Ziraat Turkish Cup final last season.

Avcı, however, admitted that the change happened very fast and said he had yet to completely adapt to his new role.

“Yesterday, I watched the [Spor Toto Super League] match between Mersin İdman Yurdu and Trabzonspor and caught myself thinking ‘I hope this ends in a draw and we will win tomorrow,’” he said. “I am just starting to get used to this new atmosphere.”