Fenerbahçe hopes to keep coach Kocaman at club
Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman. AA photoThe Fenerbahçe community tried to convince coach Aykut Kocaman to stay in his post yesterday, just 24 hours after he announced his resignation.
The Istanbul club lost 3-1 at home to minnow Karabükspor on Dec. 22 in the Spor Toto Super League amid supporters’ protests and calls for Kocaman to leave his post.
The Fenerbahçe coach heeded the calls at a post-game press conference.
“I have been in the esteemed post of Fenerbahçe coach for some 2.5 seasons, for us, for the people who have benefited from the prestige of this jersey, this is the top, the summit,” said Kocaman, who is also an ex-Fenerbahçe player. “But frankly, I do not have the power in me to continue. With this game, I’m ending my job at Fenerbahçe. The supporters are right and there is not much to say.”
The Istanbul club currently sits in fourth place in league standings with 27 points in 17 games as the league enters a one-month winter break. The home defeat came one week after Fenerbahçe lost 3-1 to league leader and archrival Galatasaray.
Tiring off pitch struggle
Kocaman had been leading the club in turbulent times, especially since a match-fixing probe centered around the club and its chairman, Aziz Yıldırım, was launched on July 3, 2011.
“We fought against many things,” Kocaman continued. “We did the correct thing at times on the pitch, and at times off the pitch, and we did wrong things. All of those were done in the name of Fenerbahçe.
I leave this honorable duty here and thank everyone.” Despite Kocaman’s decision to resign, the Fenerbahçe board and players have no intention of letting him go. The Fenerbahçe chairman reportedly refused Kocaman’s resignation and criticized fans.
“Which one of those calling for Aykut’s resignation is a true Fenerbahçe fan?” Yıldırım was quoted as saying by Lig TV. “Aykut Kocaman will stay, I cannot accept otherwise. Everybody should give [their] support to convince Aykut.”
Some fans who called for Yıldırım’s resignation were also on the chairman’s radar.
“I want to ask them, I spent one year in prison for this club, what have you done?” he said.
Yıldırım, after spending a year behind bars, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison last July on match-fixing charges. Fellow board members İlhan Ekşioğlu, Şekip Mosturoğlu, Tamer Yelkovan and Cemil Turan were also found guilty of manipulating several games from the 2010-2011 Turkish championship, when Fenerbahçe won the title. The Supreme Court of Appeals decision awaits a verdict.
Players head to coach’s room
Fenerbahçe players also made efforts to convince Kocaman to return to his post. The team gathered at the club’s headquarters and had a meeting with Kocaman after the announcement. In a written statement posted on the club’s website yesterday, a group of players – led by captain Volkan Demirel – took full responsibility of poor performances and asked Kocaman to stay “If there is someone to blame, it is us players,” Volkan said in the statement. “We will take responsibility, stay together and do our best to have a proud Fenerbahçe team on the pitch. Everybody believes in coach Kocaman, we have gone through turbulent times and he has stood up. It is wrong to ask for his resignation, we will be worse if he leaves.”