Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Now is the Time...

Now is the Time...
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

So, the big day is upon us. Fenerbahce returns to the Champions League, and in a group that could easily go either way. At first glance, it is hard to tell if the group that Fener is in with CSKA Moscow, PSV Eindhoven, and of course, Internazionale (Inter) F.C is hard or not.

Nevertheless, the critiques have been made, articles have been written, and now, it's time for our boys to play some futbol. Tomorrow (or today, depending on where in the world you are) Fenerbahce will be playing a home game in Kadikoy against the "strongest" team in our group. "Strongest" is in quotation marks, because the available Inter roster is without 7 major players. Also, Inter made a weak start to the season, although they won their game last weekend. Even if they had made the perfect start, missing 7 players is a huge problem for any team, even Inter. Mancini has declared in honesty that "he is having a hard time coming up with the first eleven for Fenerbahce game" and I can understand him. I cannot imagine Fener playing without 7 important players.

Yet, Fener has to be careful. Inter is still Inter, it doesn't matter if they lack 5 players or 15 players, Internazionale is still one of the biggest clubs in the world. It just means that the players who normally wait their turn as subs will have the chance to prove themselves, and make no mistake, just like the Gaziantepspor game we played this year, the subs will be at least as tough as the first team players. In our case, the first eleven of the Gaziantepspor game was made up of entirely substitute players, and we all remember what happened. We do not want to be in Gaziantep's shoes tomorrow.

Hopefully, Fener will make us all proud and pull themselves off from the downward road they have been on for the past few weeks. I trust my team, and contrary to the popular opinion these days, I trust my manager. After all, Zico has a very strong report card in European games, with only 3 defeats in 14 matches. Hopefully, the tradition will continue, and Fenerbahce will be celebrating the 3 points when they hear the final whistle against Inter. Come on boys, make us proud!

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