Write your own story

Write your own story

He was born in Kuzguncuk, an old Istanbul neighborhood where the popular soap opera “Perihan Abla” was shot. When he was 10, he started playing football for Kartalspor. He was the striker. They were Istanbul champion in the junior league. They beat Fenerbahçe actually; he scored the goal. One day he fell and broke his arm. When he recovered and rejoined the team, his manager gave him a defense position. He was demoralized; he took off his jersey. He put on a referee shirt, like his father. He was 17.

He was not even full age. He was in a youth project: his family supported him. His father was his coach, he had a good score in the university entrance examination; he registered at Kocaeli University, finishing his undergraduate studies in business management.   

His mother, Vildan, attended a seminar for wives of referees in the 1990s in Kuşadası. Every week there is a match, all the talk is on football. How did she manage? She was like a statue of sacrifice; she was trained for all of this. For years, she packed her husband and her son’s suitcases. She always smiled even if she did not feel like it. Since her life was football, she is in command of all the rules of the game like a professional.

His wife, Gamze, is from Bandırma. They have been married for nine years. They are childhood sweethearts. She is the first person he calls right after a game. When he comes home, they watch together the recorded game he has officiated. She never goes to a match he is adjudicating. Unfortunately, in this country, it has been forgotten than referees are human... As a matter of fact, we owe it to Gamze the peak he has reached today. In training, games, away games, overseas games, he spends 156 days of the year away from home, public holidays, vacations. They do not have any kids now.

He owns an insurance company. He split from his partner two years ago and formed his own agency with his wife but it is his wife who takes care of the business. He does not have time. He never accepts any clients who have any association with any football club – as a principle. He tells them to seek another agency. When you are a real man, this is what happens.

He has a recording device at home and at work. He records all the games in Europe. Every day he watches at least two games. He picks up sample decisions, makes his team watch. He has the widest archive of all.

He speaks English. He is fit; he is keen on his diet. He exercises two hours every day. He goes to bed at 11 p.m. He does not drink alcohol; he does not smoke. He likes going to the movies, plays with his wife and friends. He is respectable, modest, decent and normal. He listens to rock music.

Many think he looks like Tolga Çevik. Fans take his picture thinking he is Tolga. He reads a few hours every evening.    

He is Cüneyt Çakır. His father is Serdar Çakır, both of whom are prides of Turkey.

He was given an honorary doctorate from Mehmet Akif Ersoy University. President Professor Mustafa Saatçı said this at the ceremony: “He is a master in his job. He has carried our country’s name to international platforms. Cüneyt Çakır has written his own story. We are meant to share, support and be proud of his achievements.”

And you, our dear young people. Write your own story. You cannot shape the world with ignorance. There you go, the whole world will watch him tonight. You can only rule the world with educated, knowledgeable, industrious, honest people. If you are one of them.

Take Cüneyt Çakır as your role model, no one else.