Turkey parts ways with coach Hiddink

Turkey parts ways with coach Hiddink

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey parts ways with coach Hiddink

Guus Hiddink’s spell as Turkish national team coach came to an end yesterday, a day after he failed in his bid to carry to the European Football Championships.

The Turkish Football Federation announced it had reached a mutual agreement with the 65-year-old Dutch coach to end the contract that was due to expire next summer.

“We thank Guus Hiddink for services rendered during his term and wish him a healthy and happy life,” the federation said.

Turkey managed to hold Croatia to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of the Euro 2012 playoffs on Nov. 15, but Croatia claimed a place in the final tournament 3-0 on aggregate.

After the match, Hiddink indicated he was likely to stand down.

“I think this is my last match with this team, there is a high probability of that,” Hiddink said.

Turkish media reported that Hiddink had bid farewell to the players in Zagreb and did not return to Istanbul with the team.

It was not immediately announced who was expected to replace Hiddink, but Istanbul BB coach Abdullah Avcı is considered to be a top contender for the post.

Hiddink, who was brought to helm last year following Fatih Terim’s resignation, is one of the most successful coaches and one of the true journeymen in world football.

Apart from leading PSV, Valencia, Real Madrid and Chelsea to successful periods, Hiddink also enjoyed major achievements at national teams such as Russia, South Korea and Australia.

With Turkey, however, he saw his side lose to Croatia and fail to make it to the top competition in Europe.

However, the Dutchman criticized the Turkish football scene, while leaving the post.

“All national teams representing a country, starting with the Under-14 side up to the senior level, depend on how the clubs are organised and how seriously they take the education of young players from the age of 10,” Dutchman Hiddink told reporters after the Croatia match.

“In countries like Germany and Holland, this system is highly developed and the results are obvious.

“Holland is a small country but the national team is always in the big tournaments, with the solitary exception of the 2002 World Cup, because young players are getting a lot of chances to play for their clubs and are well educated.

“On the other hand, only one or two players from Turkey’s Under-19 and Under-21 sides have come through to senior level and while in those countries it’s a reliable process, in Turkey it’s an exception.

“Turkey has a lot of potential but will only take part in big tournaments more frequently if the system is organized in a better way, because the foundation must lie in the clubs and be 100 percent efficient.”

Having reached the Euro 2008 semifinals as the tournament’s underdogs after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Croatia, the Turks first got a rude awakening when they failed to reach last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

They finished third in their qualifying group, behind eventual World Cup winners Spain and Bosnia, and things did not get much better in Euro 2012 qualifying as the painful transition continued to bite.

The Turks only sealed a runners-up finish in Group A and a playoff berth after winners Germany, who had already sealed their passage to next year’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine, beat third-placed Belgium in their final match.

Hiddink, who repeatedly came under fire from the Turkish media for the team’s patchy performances, pointed out that rebuilding the side and qualifying for Euro 2012 at the same time was always going to be a tall order.

“When I started this project with the previous (Turkish Football Federation) presidency, we set out the target to get the team younger and build it for the near future,” he said.

“If that could go along with Euro qualification even better, but it was a big demand because it was a transition time and I have no regrets.

“We finished second in our qualifying group and injected fresh blood into the team. With the changes made and the youngsters added to the squad Turkey can go on with this team for a longer period.

“They represented themselves very well in the return leg against Croatia, their commitment was outstanding.”

Copmpiled from AP and Reuters reports by the Daily News staff