Turkey routs Kosovo in friendly football game

Turkey routs Kosovo in friendly football game

Turkey routs Kosovo in friendly football game

AA Photo

Turkey’s national football team beat Kosovo 6-1 in a friendly game on May 21 in a match that might have been short of import on the field but was of huge significance off it.

Beşiktaş forward Mustafa Pektemek scored twice and his club teammate Olcay Şahan was also on the score sheet in the rout, with the other goals coming from Ahmet İlhan, Bilal Kısa and Alper Potuk for Turkey, who was playing with a team consisting mainly of players with fewer caps.

Albert Bunjaku scored the only goal for Kosovo – the nation’s first.

Despite not being a member of FIFA, Kosovo is granted special permission by world football’s global governing body to play with member national teams in friendly games. International players with Kosovar roots playing for other countries, such as Lorik Cana of Albania and Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland, have long lobbied footballing bodies to allow the country of their heritage to play internationally.

Turkish national team coach Fatih Terim said the game showed their stance vis-à-vis Kosovo’s status in the world of international football.

“We can look at this game in many aspects. One side of it is that we recognize Kosovo as a country, so should UEFA and FIFA,” Terim said. “Our coming here is a message about this.”

Terim added that the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) would cooperate with Kosovo on football education in the country.

The coach said there was not much to talk about in terms of the game, which was mostly important for allowing the trainer to observe the conditions of some players.

Members of the Kosovar crowd also remembered the 301 Turkish miners who died in last week’s Soma disaster with banners.