Turkish football starts search for new savior

Turkish football starts search for new savior

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish football starts search for new savior

Turkey coach Guus Hiddink sits on the bench ahead of a EURO 2012 playoff match against Croatia in Istanbul. REUTERS photo

Pundits join in supporters’ call for the resigination of Turkish national team coach Guus Hiddink following a 3-0 defeat against Croatia. Three names are on target, with Istanbul BB’s Abdullah Avcı being the top candidate.

The Turkish football community is once again in search for a new national team coach in the wake of a devastating home defeat against Croatia.

Turkey lost 3-0 in Istanbul in a first leg clash in the 2012 European Championships playoffs, prompting protests from supporters and pundits.

Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel was jeered in the latter stages of the game and there were chants calling for coach Guus Hiddink’s resignation.

“It was almost decided in the second minute because it is a very experienced Croatia team and they play in the strongest leagues in Europe,” Hiddink said in a post-match TV interview.

“We outplayed them for a while but the second goal on the counter attack before halftime made it very difficult to overcome them,” he added. “It’s almost decided now but maybe we will start some new players and they will play for honor.”

Pundits joined in calls for Hiddink’s resignation, who arrived in Turkey after the national team failed to make it to the 2010 World Cup. Only a miracle in the second leg on Nov. 15 might put Turkey in the EURO 2012 tournament, while Hiddink’s term at the helm is practically over. An emergency meeting by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) board immediately after the Croatia match fueled replacement rumors.

However, parting ways with Hiddink will not be easy for the TFF due to his contract clauses, according to Mehmet Aslan, daily Hürriyet’s sports editor.

“Those who call on the TFF to sack Hiddink are not aware of the fact that the federation is in dire straits,” Aslan wrote in his column yesterday. “If Hiddink is fired without consent, the TFF will go under a huge financial burden according to Hiddink’s contract. The amount is 25 million euros.”

Three names have already been mentioned in media reports for possible candidates in the post-Hiddink era. All three names are currently coaching Spor Toto Super League teams, with Istanbul BB coach Abdullah Avcı being the top candidate. Other possible names are Trabzonspor coach Şenol Güneş and Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam.

“To me, Abdullah Avcı is the Turkish national football team’s coach as of today,” said İbrahim Seten, sports editor of daily Vatan, Radikal reported yesterday. “If a coach with the experience and quality of Guus Hiddink failed to succeed here, the problem is not with the coach but with the system. We need a new system and Avcı is the name to establish that.”

Mehmet Demirkol, of sports daily Fanatik, proposed that the national team coach should also be the coach of a Super League team. “I don’t believe that being a national team coach is a full-time job,” Demirkol told Radikal. “One of the successful coaches in Spor Toto Super League should be in charge of the national team and coach both clubs at the same time. My candidates are Abdullah Avcı and Şenol Güneş.”

According to Mert Aydın, sports channel NTV Spor commentator, the priority of the new coach should be reorganizing the youth system in Turkish football. “Bringing in different coaches just leads to temporary solutions, we do not need to dress the wound, we have to undergo serious treatment,” he said. “This requires youth team coaches to be on long-term contracts and we should create a system where assistants replace head coaches.”

Aydın said without a major overhaul of the current player-raising system in Turkey, Avcı will face the risk of being just another expendable coach.