Trabzonspor to ‘play for Türkiye’ in Conference League

Trabzonspor to ‘play for Türkiye’ in Conference League

Trabzonspor to ‘play for Türkiye’ in Conference League

Trabzonspor hosts Basel in a UEFA Conference League playoff match on Feb. 16 in a game that will be used to help relief efforts for the survivors of Feb. 6’s devastating earthquakes.

The Black Sea side made the game’s tickets available to all fans, turning the game into a aid campaign.

A memorial ticket was also being sold for those who will not be able to attend the match, with all proceeds of the game to go to earthquake survivors via Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

Many Turkish clubs, including Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, have called on their supporters to buy the memorial tickets and join the aid campaign.

Trabzonspor President Ahmet Ağaoğlu said the match “does not belong only to Trabzonspor.”

“I do not consider this as a Trabzonspor game, it will be a game for Türkiye,” he said.

Ağaoğlu added that almost all Süper Lig club presidents and Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chair Mehmet Büyükekşi will attend the match.

“Unfortunately, the color of football is black,” he said.

“The sensitivity shown by the football fans across the country is perhaps the most beautiful reflection of this unity that we need more than anything else.”

The Trabzonspor chairman noted that playing will also be a mental challenge.

“Mentally, none of us are good,” he said.

“What we see and experience is not easy to handle, but I talk to our coach all the time, and our coach is trying to motivate the players. I hope that we advance in the playoffs, but if you ask me, the goal of the match against Basel has been reached.”

Trabzonspor players will be wearing a special black team jersey and the fans have been urged to also wear black.

There will be no cheering during the game, Trabzonspor officials said.

Also on Feb. 16, Barcelona hosts Manchester United in a match-up which has twice graced the Champions League final but this time has the relative ignominy of taking place in the Europa League playoff round.

The Catalans crashed out of Europe’s premier competition at the first hurdle, while Manchester United finished runners up in their Europa League group, leading their paths to cross.

Despite the tie’s diminished stature, both fallen giants are on the rise and among the teams in the best form across the continent.

Barcelona and Manchester United are both building under exciting coaches in Erik ten Hag and Xavi Hernandez and aiming to return to Europe’s elite imminently.

The teams last met in 2019 when United’s harsh decline in the barren decade after Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign was in full swing and Barcelona’s deep slide was about to begin.

Five-time Champions League winner Barca won the quarterfinal clash 4-0 on aggregate, but the only player from its starting line-ups then likely to face United at Camp Nou is goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.