Although Turkish football has become a gigantic industry in the last two decades and the clubs have more than enough in their budgets, there is still a lack of talented players at the highest level. An ordinary player in the Turkish Super League is unable to control and pass the ball with sufficient speed and accuracy required at this level.
In addition, due to the Turkish Super League's physical nature, the lack of proper technique is even more apparent and problematic. Unfortunately, the biggest clubs in Turkey do not try to solve this problem by creating good football academies, but importing talented but old players from Europe, who have an incredibly low price/performance ratio. One of the best examples of this issue was on show last Thursday, in the game between Galatasaray and Yeni Malatyaspor. Although the pitch was full of so-called talented players, the quality of football was incredibly low. The long passes were always inaccurate, ball-control was unnatural and stiff, and players could not pass the ball to their teammates without calibrating themselves for three seconds.
Now, since Turkish football is slower than Premier League or La Liga, these issues are not apparent to those who do not watch the game carefully. But those simple mistakes in passing and controlling the ball create a huge difference in terms of the quality of football. Three seconds may not seem crucial to you, but in football losing even a second before passing the ball is the difference between a goal and an offside call. Thus, this is a serious issue and we must return to fundamentals if we want to solve it.
I argue that the best way to increase the number of talented players in Turkish football is to directly invest in youth team coaches. As Fanatik columnist Mehmet Demirkol pointed out perfectly, we cannot expect a coach with a minimum salary to raise players worth millions. We need to make youth coaching a center of interest for talented and aspiring coaches. The academy system should not only be a ladder for young footballers but should also be an opportunity for young coaches to prove themselves and make a difference. Nevertheless, no one would risk their precious years for an unpopular project with a minimum salary; the people who run Turkish football need to prove that they care first.
However, with the current disastrous financial form of Turkish football, I think destiny is forcing Turkey to return to the academy system and start building a new way of football. Super League teams cannot afford absurd paychecks anymore, and what this means is that they will look for talents from their own reserves. We should not miss this chance as the next 10 or 15 years of Turkish football depend on the decisions we will make in these years. Turkey can become the next Belgium with lots of talented players and coaches to train even more. But we need to change the import-oriented mentality first before it is too late to recover.
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