Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Captain's Lodge": Alex De Souza The TV Star

"Captain's Lodge": Alex De Souza The TV Star
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Our Team Captain Alex De Souza has started a weekly show called "Kaptan Köşkü" (can be translated as Captain's Lodge, although "Lodge" is not an exact translation of "Köşk") on Fenerbahçe TV. In this week's episode, which also is the first episode of the show, Captain Alex has been interviewed by Fatih Demirkol about his views on the events of the past few weeks.

Here is the translation:
"(On Champions League games) I have always said that we should focus on every match individually. This is especially important in the Champions League. We have been doing this since the Anderlecht games. We prepared ourselves well for those games, and qualified for the group stages by beating Anderlecht. We showed we were no pushovers against CSKA in an away game. Against Inter, we gave a performance that is hard to duplicate. Everything went well, and everyone did their jobs flawlessly. If it wasn't for a spectacular performance by their goalkeeper, we could have made history that day. Our good form is easy to see, but nothing is over yet. That is why we are concentrating on each game individually. We are preparing for the PSV game. It is going to be a vital game for us. PSV is a strong team. They have some good players. It will be especially hard because it is an away game. If we can come back with a good result from that game, we will gain a significant advantage over the other teams in terms of qualifying to the next stage."

(About the Turkish League) "We made a bad start to the season. We dropped points were we shouldn't have. In some games, we didn't win even though we were the better team. Hence, we are in this position right now. (On a question as to why Fenerbahce performed significantly better in the Champions League games) There are several reasons for that. The way the game is played in Europe is a major factor. There are some unique characteristics of Turkish futbol. For example the referees. The European and the Turkish referees are different from each other, they can make different calls in the same situation. (A polite way to say that the referee quality in Turkey is very low. - Ozgur) Also, we are the favorites in every match we play in Turkey, but this is not the case in Europe. In Europe, we can wait to see how our opponents play, and act accordingly. In Turkey, we cannot do that. We are expected to always pressure the opponent, always be the attacking side. The way the opponents play in Europe is different too. They tend to play their own game in Europe, more focused on scoring and winning. No team in Europe plans to stop you with blows and fouls in Europe. However this is a major tactic against us in Turkey. Also, the thing I don't understand is that in Turkey, when they constantly punch you, kick you, trip you, you don't have the right to go talk to the referee about it. If you go to the referee, you get shown a yellow card, but the player who constantly fouls you can, and mostly do, finish the game without even a yellow card. In Europe, this type of behavior is not allowed, therefore we can play our own game there. I'm not saying these to complain, you (Talking about the interviewer) asked me the difference and I'm explaining it. Some players go out on the pitch to play, and some players go out there to not let them play. They come and foul you, and they may or may not get away with it. What we as Fenerbahce should do is to be able to play despite this type of behavior. Of course, the way the opponents play cannot be the only thing to blame for our position in the league. We did not play well so far, so we lost points."

"(On the issue of Kezman) Kezman is the number 9 of this team, he is the striker. When strikers don't score goals, they are criticized, and a pressure builds upon them. What Kezman needs is to believe in himself. After he scores a couple of goals, he will regain his self belief and when he starts playing with more confidence, he will be his old self again. He keeps missing good opportunities only because of the lack of his self belief. We know how well he plays as a striker and how easily he scores when he plays with confidence. In my opinion, Kezman has the willpower to be his old self again if he starts trusting himself. All the Fenerbahce players believe in him. We as the coaching staff and the players always try to help him win that confidence back. After the Manisaspor game, I talked to him about the red card on the plane. He told me what happened. After I watched the replays, I think the red card was a bit extreme in that position. It is hard for a player to stop himself when he is running to the ball that fast. This confirms my views of the Turkish referees. Kezman got a red card in that position, but there are some players who are out on the pitch to stop the other team's players from playing, not to play themselves, and they don't even get a yellow card for their actions. This is why I say the Turkish referees make different calls than the European referees."

Well, I personally agree with everything he says, except the red card position. I am not sure of what to think about that, but one thing I know is that Kezman definitely deserved a card by stepping on the goalkeepers leg in that position, however red may be a bit too much. Other than that, it was enjoyable to hear Alex's own views directly from himself. But I am sure that his words will cause some controversy in the media, especially the part about the referees. Just wait and see...

(The picture accompanying the article has a small caption in Turkish as you can see. It says "Everyone thinks that "10" is the special number")

(Photo courtesy of futbolekstra.net)

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