Turkey coach Şenol Güneş under fire after humiliating defeat
Turkish national football team coach Şenol Güneş is facing fierce criticism and mounting calls for his resignation after his side was thrashed 6-1 by the Netherlands in a World Cup qualification game on Sept. 7.
Davy Klaassen’s opener after 54 seconds set the tone in Amsterdam, with Turkey’s Çağlar Söyüncü sent off before halftime. Guus Til and Donyell Malen scored late goals before Cengiz Ünder pulled one back at the end in Turkey’s worst World Cup qualifying loss since an 8-0 defeat by England in 1984.
The humiliating defeat in Amsterdam came after a series of poor results, as Turkey lost all its three group games at Euro 2020 in June, conceding eight goals and scoring just one, followed by draws at home against minnows Latvia and Montenegro in the World Cup qualifying stage Group G games.
“I’m the only one responsible here. I’m the one who is making the choices. The failure is mine,” Güneş said after the Netherlands match but failed to soothe the uproar.
Many supporters took to social media to call for the 62-year-old coach’s resignation, while many pundits also joined the chorus.
“I don’t believe that Şenol Güneş can carry this talented generation forward,” Uğur Meleke wrote in his column in daily Hürriyet on Sept. 8.
“I also doubt that he believes in [the players]. I think it’s time to make a change by thanking Mr. Güneş, who has written his name in our football history with golden letters, for his services,” he said.
However, Güneş, who led Tukey to a third-place finish in the 2002 World Cup and won back-to-back Süper Lig titles with Beşiktaş in 2016 and 2017, did not sound ready to step down.
“I will decide on what I will do, but if they [the fans] are shouting ‘resign’ when I go out on the field, it is of no use to Turkish football,” he told reporters when asked about his future in the national team.
“There is the institution you work for, you talk to it and make a decision,” he added, sending the ball to the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) court. “The current picture is not a good one. I’m not happy.”
Güneş also fired back at criticism over his salary. The coach is in the second year of a four-year contract for a reported annual wage of 3.2 million euros ($3.8 million), making him one of the best paid national coaches in the world.
“I don’t know why my salary has been a source of discussion for a year, why I have been under attack,” Güneş said.
“You may not like me, but as a coach of the national team, I expect to be respected,” he said.
Following the loss against the Netherlands, and with Norway beating Gibraltar 5-1, Turkey slipped to the third spot in Group G as the Dutch climbed to the top.
Turkey’s next fixture is at home against Norway on Oct. 8, followed by an away game at Latvia three days later.