Sunday, January 06, 2008

Match Day: Fortis Turkiye Cup

Match Day: Fortis Turkiye Cup
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce is in snowy, cold Kayseri today as they try to work toward ending one of the longest cup droughts in club history. The Fortis Turkiye Cup resumes today with Fenerbahce taking on Kayserispor at Ataturk Stadium.

The Fortis Turkiye Cup, formerly known as the Turkiye Cup and the Federation Cup, has been an on-going tournament in Turkish futbol since 1962. Fener rivals Besiktas are the current holders of the championship, having defeated Kayseri Erciyesspor last season. Fenerbahce's failure to finish in the top two last year only exacerbated the Canaries' drought. Despite their overall success, Fener has not captured the Cup title since the 1982-1983 season. They came close in 2005 and 2006, finishing second to Galatasaray and Besiktas, respectively. Since the Cup began in 1962, Fenerbahce has won the Fortis Turkiye Cup only four times, putting them behind Galatasaray, Besiktas, and Trabzonspor.

As Fenerbahce wraps up their Antalyan mid-season camp, many questions hover over the team as the January transfer window is underway. The future of Fener stars Mateja Kezman, Stephen Appiah, Tumer Metin, and Mehmet Aurelio has been questioned, while Zico has publicly eluded to some new faces (such as Ronaldo) coming to Kadikoy during the season's second half as well. Additionally, original first team goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge is nearly ready to return to the team's lineup for the season's second half, challenging rising star Volkan Demirel for the starting spot.

Fenerbahce will enter Sunday's game as the second place team in the Turkcell Super Lig, tied with Sivasspor with 37 points. Kayserispor is not far behind, sitting in fifth place with 26 points, but eight points behind fourth place Besiktas. Both teams will not only look to continue their Fortis Turkiye Cup run, but get their squads prepared for the stretch run of the Turkcell Super Lig.

Kickoff of Fenerbahce vs. Kayserispor in the Fortis Turkiye Cup is set for 19:00 (12:00 Noon EST in the U.S.) on Sunday in Kayseri. B├╝nyamin Gezer has been announced as the referee for today's match by the Turkish Futbol Federation.

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