At the time I was writing this piece, Turkey were preparing for a crucial Kazakhstan game in the EURO 2016 qualifiers. Strangely, the team started the qualifiers with high expectations and set the goal of first place or at least second place in the group while the reality was completely different. Truth is, even a weak team like Kazakhstan is a serious threat for Turkey at the moment and if the team fails to get three points, Turkey will probably watch EURO 2016 at home. However, after a "sensational" win against another weak opponent, Bulgaria, somehow the media, again, forgot the awful performance of the team and started to beat the drums of war. In order to save Fatih Terim and his football perception, the media, the Turkish Football Federation and club executives will do anything, because they know that their investments rely on it. Nevertheless, eventually the rubber will meet the road and it will be so sad and so late for Terim to admit his faults.
Of course, as the first game against Kazakhstan shows, Turkey is still the favorite in this game. But the rest of the qualifiers are not so bright unfortunately. The Czech Republic and Iceland are both compact and dynamic teams, and despite the fact Turkey play an easily preventable fast, counter-attacking game, Turkey is far worse than both of them physically and strategically. The Netherlands, on the other hand, are completely out of form and are being managed by an "expired" coach in Guus Hiddink. The Dutch rely on their "star" players, but in the first five games their magical players were not able to get them up to even second place. Nonetheless, they are still more powerful than Turkey given Terim also relies on his team's "talented" players. Lastly, the other weak member of the group, Latvia even pose a serious threat for Turkey, as we saw in the first game.
However, Turkey's clear victory against Bulgaria should not be a benchmark for future games. The Bulgarians collected only five points among mostly mediocre teams like Croatia, Italy, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta and managed to only just beat Azerbaijan. Thus, their situation is worse than Turkey's and they should not be taken as a serious test. Added to that, after six games in the qualifiers, all the players will be on vacation soon, therefore concentration levels were minimal in the friendly game. But Kazakh players will probably be more enthusiastic against Turkey and, given Terim's insufficient plans to open defensive opponents, they might have a chance.
"Do not do philosophy Şenol Güneş"
Yes, you heard it right, this is the title of a piece written by Milliyet columnist Ercan Güven, who is a fervent supporter of Fenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım. Güven simply said "you better watch out" to Şenol Güneş, while decrying Güneş's stand against old football in Turkey, he wrote:
"Does Şenol hoca not have any faults? Of course he has, and his ‘interest in philosophy' comes first, especially after the games where he was ‘the victim.' Güneş is famous for his analyses, in which he often connects obvious refereeing mistakes with the system and then the main organizations of Turkish football, and eventually makes people forget the obvious refereeing faults. His protests may be derived from the fact that he could not manage the teams that he believes are ‘privileged.' Nonetheless, he is now on the privileged side and he might stop this kind of talk."
Ironically, this piece reminded me the U.S. espionage act in World War I; "No war talk!" Attorney General Gregory, says: "Obey the law, keep your mouth shut." As you can see, Ercan Güven and his dinosaur friends are in a battle right now and they even dare to publicly threaten one of the most distinguished coaches in Turkey. They are like the 90's coalition governments of Turkey; they take even the most naive form of questioning as a hostile act against their kingdom. Just look at the absurdity of this piece, it argues: " Do not do philosophy." Simply, they do not want anyone to take Turkish football one step forward. Thus, as I have said a thousand times, if we are going to build a new country, we have to change the most popular sport in Turkey. We must decide, are we going to do philosophy or let the type of people like Fatih Terim and Ercan Güven rule football.