Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
At about 8pm on Tuesday evening the clouds began to turn a dark shade of grey, the wind picked up in unfamiliar fashion and the realisation that the Turkish national side had just lost to Azerbaijan began to sink it.
Turkey’s hopes/dreams/expectations of reaching the Euro 2012 finals may have taken a rather substantial blow in a matter of four days.
Nothing compared to the blow that Guus Hiddink’s reputation has taken in his newly adopted country.
‘Go on then – sack him’ blasted Erman Toroglu while Ahmet Cakar stated ‘We are going back to the 80’s’ - in reference to the years in which Turkey were merely a small national side who’d pick up the odd point here and there without ever qualifying for major tournaments.
Anybody who witnessed the 1-0 defeat in Azerbaijan would find it hard to disagree. On what Jose Mourinho would describe as a ‘cabbage patch’ of a pitch, Turkey had the majority of the possession in the first half but failed to display any sort of quality.
Hamit Altintop went close when his thunderous strike hit the top of the crossbar before the Bayern midfielder then linked up with Semih to force a good save from Agayev in the Azerbaijan goal.
It was one way traffic...albeit slow moving. Gokhan Gonul then proceeded to waste a good chance to get the opener Turkey’s ‘domination’ deserved but rather softly attempted to loft his shot into the net.
Then it came. A corner, two dummies and a side footed shot. Azerbaijan went 1-0 up. Turkish heads sank and Hiddink’s half time talk consisted of the words – ‘what do I say’, ‘paid 30 times more’ and ‘fix it’
The Dutchman threw caution to the wind by throwing on Nihat and Sercan Yildirim in the second half but the score remained the same.
Many are calling for a radical overhaul, the reality is, Hiddink will stay. Why? Because he has an extremely lucrative contract and has only played four competitive games. While Turkey’s hopes are now slim, they are not over, although whether TFF president Mahmut Ozgener agrees is another matter.
One thing that is glaringly obvious is the fact that this is clearly not a squad picked by the Dutchman. It smells of Fatih Terim, looks like Oguz Cetin, but has Hiddink at the front.
In other words, Hiddink has merely taken over the unsuccessful side left by Fatih Terim. More of a disappointment on his behalf rather than that of Terim.Hiddinks lack of ‘interest’ in his new job has cost him, and not gone unnoticed.
Old Guus has reportedly watched just seven different teams in the Super Lig. While spending most of his time away from Turkey is hardly the Brian Clough approach to coaching, it does explain why the likes of Ozan Ipek, Volkan Sen and Mehmet Topal have so far been overlooked. How he could have done with Volkan or Arda Turan this past week.
Arda has spent the last few days recovering from surgery on his groin. The Galatasaray winger has been given the all clear to start training sooner than expected and also provided us all with a ‘ah they are human after all’ moment during a TV interview when he came to the brink of tears.
Understandably so when he has idiots highlighting ‘having sex’ as the main reason for his time on the sidelines.
The Turkish media have hit an all time level of lunacy but yours truly is still very much sane – and very much looking forward to the return of league football might I add.
It’s practice week for Fenerbahce and Galatasaray who will meet each in 10 days or so. Fener travel to Konyaspor while Cimbom welcome Ankaragucu.
An easy three points for the pair of them ahead of Derby day then – just like the easy three points against Azerbaijan....oops!
It surprises me that Gus is being accused of not watching enough games. When he was in charge of Australia he brought in a lot of young, unknown players that he was criticised for at first but they seemed to work
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