New Turkey coach calls up fresh faces

New Turkey coach calls up fresh faces

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
New Turkey coach calls up fresh faces

Coach Avcı will participate in his first match as the Turkish national team plays next week against Slovakia. Hürriyet photo

Coach Abdullah Avcı introduced several fresh faces to the Turkish national football team as he announced the squad for next week’s Slovakia match, his first game at the helm.

Turkey will meet Slovakia in the northwestern province of Bursa on Feb. 29 in a friendly game, the first game Avcı will lead the team as the Turkey manager.

The team is consisting of largely young players, showing Avcı’s intention to build a new squad for the national team which will prepare for the 2014 World Cup after missing out on the 2012 European Football Championships.

Toulouse forward Umut Bulut at 28 is the oldest player in the squad to face Slovakia. Beşiktaş forward Mustafa Pektemek is one of the new call-ups in the attacking line, joining Trabzonspor’s Burak Yılmaz, the leading goal scorer in Turkey’s Spor Toto Super League, Rennes striker Mevlüt Erdinç and Hertha Berlin’s Tunay Torun.

Eskişehirspor’s Alper Potuk, Kaiserslautern’s Olcay Şahan, Trabzonspor’s Olcan Adın and Beşiktaş’s Necip Uysal are the fresh midfielders, joining familiar names such as Arda Turan of Atletico Madrid, Werder Bremen’s Mehmet Ekici, Real Madrid’s Nuri Şahin and Valencia midfielder Mehmet Topal. In the defensive line, Galatasaray’s young center back Semih Kaya, Kayserispor defender Hasan Ali Kaldırım and Bursaspor’s Serdar Aziz are among the names that will win their first international caps.

Fenerbahçe wing back Gökhan Gönül, Beşiktaş left back İsmail Köybaşı, Kayserispor’s Eren Güngör and Bayer Leverkusen’s Ömer Toprak are also on the squad.

Goalkeeper Cenk Gönen of Beşiktaş may win his first cap as well.

The former Istanbul BB man has replaced world-famous Guus Hiddink, who had a disappointing stint as Turkey coach.

Hiddink failed to lead the team to the Euro 2012 that will be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland this summer.

Turkey finished its qualifying Group A behind World Cup semifinalist Germany to win a ticket to the playoffs but suffered a heavy 3-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Croatia.