Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ali Bilgin Seals the Victory for Fenerbahce

Watch a highlight clip of Ali Bilgin's stoppage time goal that sealed the victory for Fenerbahce.

Roberto Carlos Shows His Speed

Fenerbahce star Roberto Carlos shows that you're only as young as you feel. Carlos beats all defenders in a foot race against Ankaragucu.

Turkcell Super Lig Weekend Scores

Turkcell Super Lig Weekend Scores
By Nathan L. Redd

Friday, September 28
Fenerbahce 2 - 0 Ankaragucu

Saturday, September 29
Galatasaray 2 - 1 Besiktas
Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor 2 - 0 Caykur Rizespor

Sunday, September 30
Denizlispor 2 - 0 Kayserispor
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor 4 - 1 Vestel Manisaspor
Gaziantepspor 1 - 0 Ankaraspor
Genclerbirligi 3 - 1 Kasimpasa
Sivasspor 3 - 2 Bursaspor
Trabzonspor 1 - 0 Konyaspor

Friday, September 28, 2007

Zico: We Deserved the Win Today

Zico: We Deserved the Win Today
Translated and Edited by Ozgur R. Nazilli

After the game, manager Zico held a press conference: "We deserved the win today. However, missing so many scoring opportunities saddens us. Today, the goal difference should have been much bigger. My players want to score a lot of goals, and this leads them to missing too many opportunities. When a player misses one or two scoring chances, he starts to panic and this leads him to miss even more opportunities."

About the game on Tuesday against CSKA Moscow: "We will continue to do our best on the pitch. We know that our opponents on Tuesday are a force to be reckoned with when they are playing at home. But we have shown what we are capable of against Inter. We will go out there and play our own game."

Zico also commented on the much awaited return of the Ghana Team Captain Appiah: "Appiah is trying to regain his strength, however he is not there yet. Right now, when he tries to use the leg that was operated on, we see that it is still not at full capacity. After he regains his full strength, he will get his chance to play. Tümer and Serdar are also injured from their knees. When the player recovers from a knee injury, it is imperative for them to play. I am saying this based on personal experience. Knee injuries are a special breed. You have to start using it as soon as your knee recovers."

Today was also the 40th anniversary of the first time Zico went on football field for training, at Flamengo. He was given a plaque to commemorate that, and was celebrated by the players, the staff and the board.

In the week, Zico had met with UEFA President Platini, and he commented on that too: "I was very happy to see Platini. We have been friends for years with him. Even though we always played against one another, it is a good feeling to continue this friendship with Platini."

(photo courtesy of

898... 899... 900! Fenerbahce 2 - 0 Ankaragucu

898... 899... 900! Fenerbahce 2 - 0 Ankaragucu
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

It's finally here. After 3 draws, Fenerbahce has won it's 900th game in the history of the league.

In the game that just ended a few minutes ago, Fenerbahce fans have finally been able to watch a good performance from the team in the Turkish League this season. Although for the majority of the game the score was 1-0, Ali Bilgin adding the second one in the final minutes of the game, Fenerbahce had the upper hand all along, to the extent that Volkan would be fine even without a shower after the game. At some point, Fenerbahce had taken 9 corners against 0 by Ankaragucu. The match reflected the statistics too. Most of the game was played in Ankaragucu's half, and Ankaragucu had a hard time threatening Fenerbahce's goal.

Fenerbahce started off well, and the players were pressing everywhere on the pitch. Actually, the whole 90 minutes was played under the control of Fenerbahce players, and even though the score was only 2-0, Fenerbahce missed five or six very easy opportunities. Also, Fenerbahce did not have the best of times with the referee's decisions, especially after he decided against awarding a penalty in 3 separate penalty positions, 2 of them being very obvious. A defender hand-balled in the penalty area to stop Alex's attack, Kezman was fouled by another Ankaragucu player in the penalty area, and finally Carlos was fouled with one foot in the area, but the last one was a really tough one to call.

The goals were scored by Aurelio (36th minute) and Ali Bilgin (90+, At injury time). Aurelio headed a corner by Alex home from a very tight angle, and the goal keeper could not even react to it. Ali Bilgin's goal was from the middle, with a break-through pass by Vederson being hit towards the left of the goalie by Bilgin, which went into the net. But the most inspiring play of the game was neither of the goals. It was by the legendary left back, Roberto Carlos. At the left wing, in about the 64th minute, Carlos kicked the ball to the left of two Ankaragucu players, stormed through the middle of the two players, and got to the ball which then he carried in to the penalty area. It was a sight to behold, with Carlos, who has been labeled as being "too old" by some people, outrunning two players who are probably 6 or 7 years younger than he is, to get to the ball. The fans in the stadium thanked him for his effort with a thunderous applause, which he acknowledged with a raise of his hand.

All in all, it was a good performance by the Yellow Canaries, and one can only hope that Zico and his students can build upon this win for the upcoming games, starting with the CSKA Moscow match next week.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Turkcell Super Lig Weekend Schedule

Turkcell Super Lig Weekend Schedule
By Nathan L. Redd

As the Turkcell Super Lig Week Seven schedule gets underway, Fenerbahce will be looking for three much-needed points in Kadikoy. They won't have to wait long to get their shot. Fenerbahce opens the weekend as Friday's only Super Lig game. They'll play host to Ankaragucu at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium at 20:30 (1:30 PM EST in the U.S.) on Friday.

Despite Fenerbahce's hopes, Ankaragucu have other plans. The capital city outfit are off to a blazing start, currently sitting in fifth place in the Turkcell Super Lig with eleven points through six games. They are tied (in points) with fourth-place Kayserispor, and a win in Kadikoy could pull them even with Besiktas in third place. Fenerbahce is sitting in the rare position of ninth place in the league, looking up the ladder they often occupy the top spot on. With only six games played, there is no time for panic, but Fenerbahce must take advantage of every opportunity. With nine points, they are only seven points behind the league-leader Galatasaray. Fenerbahce will be looking to close the gap on Friday.

For those outside of Turkiye, the game is available at for $9.95. Check back with Fenerbahce Worldwide after the game for coverage, and you can also read the Ankaragucu perspective (in English) at

Turkcell Super Lig Week Seven Schedule:

Friday, September 28:
Fenerbahce vs. MKE Ankaragucu - 20:30 (1:30 PM EST in the U.S.)

Saturday, September 29:
Galatasaray vs. Besiktas - 20:30
Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor vs. Caykur Rizespor - 20:30

Sunday, September 30:
Denizlispor vs. Kayserispor - 17:00
Sivasspor vs. Bursaspor - 20:30
Gaziantepspor vs. Ankaraspor - 20:30
Trabzonspor vs. Konyaspor - 20:30
Genclerbirligi vs. Kasimpasa - 20:30
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor vs. Vestel Manisaspor - 20:30

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So What Is Up With Fenerbahce Anyway?

So What Is Up With Fenerbahce Anyway?
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Okay the picture is like this: On the one hand, we have the worst start of the last 17 years. A Fenerbahce who still has a zero average (goals scored equals goals conceded), 7 points behind the league leaders Galatasaray, and who ended more games with a draw than a win.

On the other hand, we have a Fenerbahce who won 3 out of the possible 3 in the latest European games, qualified for the Champions League, pushed Anderlecht, who has a steady success graph in Europe, out of the Champions League, and beat Inter, one of the top 5 or 6 teams in Europe in today's futbol.

So, what is up with Fenerbahce anyway?

Well, for starters, Fenerbahce is a team whose performance is largely determined by the other team's behavior on the pitch. When a team actually tries to play good futbol against Fenerbahce, we see the full extent of what Fenerbahce is capable of. We have seen many examples of this lately: The Turkish derby matches against Galatasaray and Besiktas, Anderlecht matches, Inter match...

However, when the opposing team bases their strategy on "not letting Fenerbahce play", we have troubles accommodating for this change, and nowadays many Turkish teams have become aware of this fact and they are basing their tactics more and more on this strategy. The latest game against Bursaspor is a perfect example for this. Whenever our players got the ball, the Bursa players decided that it was a good time to practice some martial arts skills and fouled down our players. Even Alex, who as we know is one of the most calm players in the Turkish league, had enough of Bursa fouls and argued with the referee, earning himself a yellow card. You know that if Alex gets a yellow card for arguing with the referee in a game, there is probably something wrong with the opposing team's style.

Many people see Zico as the source of everything that is wrong with Fenerbahce right now, and they claim that someone with no futbol experience can do a better job than Zico at the reins. It is not as simple as that. Managing a team is about a lot more than just picking the first eleven players and choosing between 3-5-2 or 4-4-2. Interactions with the players, how he handles him in front of the media, preserving a positive team atmosphere, strengthening the bonds between the team players, giving morale to the players, in short, getting the best out of the players is what being a manager is really about. It is very easy for us to look at Fenerbahce from the outside and criticize Zico and blame him for the poor performances in the Super League, however, we do not know what is actually taking place on that training ground. And from the positive atmosphere of the team that I have seen on Fenerbahce TV, I think Zico is doing a good job at making Fenerbahce players a "team", instead of eleven players on wearing the same jersey. This is a more important accomplishment than deciding whether to play with two strikers or one. Before Zico, we used to complain that the team players were "too professional" and were not involved with the team as much as we would like them to be. Now, even Kezman, who I personally like but who has been targeted by an endless stream of criticisms lately, is doing his utmost for the success of the team on the pitch. And we have Zico to thank for that.

The poor form of Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super League has more to do with how the opponents choose to play against Fenerbahce than with the decisions of Zico. We have all seen what Fenerbahce is capable of when the opponent does not play "dirty" and instead tries to play their own game. If we cheer and celebrate when Fenerbahce does well in Europe, and it is a first in many years that Fenerbahce has done better in the European competition than the Turkish League, we should be supporting and defending our team and it's members when they achieve poor results in the Turkish League. I know that the team's performance has not been flawless and the only problem Fenerbahce has is not the way to opposing team plays, but it definitely has a major role in our mediocre performance in the Turkish League.

We, as the Fenerbahce fans, should start thinking outside the box. The current Fenerbahce team is not a bad or a weak team, on the contrary, they have been doing extremely well in the Champions League. Therefore, we should be more patient and continue our unfaltering support to our team. After all, we are the 12th member of our beloved Fenerbahce.

(photo courtesy of

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Juventus Hunting for Lugano

Juventus Hunting for Lugano
By Nathan L. Redd

As Fenerbahce Worldwide reported previously, Italian side Juventus is reportedly interested in Fenerbahce defender Diego Lugano. It appears now, however, that the Uruguayan star may be interested in Juventus as well.

Italian media outlet TuttoSport indicates that Diego Lugano may be in the club's plans for the January transfer window. They reportedly quote Lugano as saying "Yes it would please me to play for Juventus. In fact it would be a dream to wear the Bianconeri shirt. I have spoken a lot with Paolo Montero and Marcelo Zalayeta and they have said good things about the club.”

Lugano joined Fenerbahce in 2006 after coming over from Brasilian giants Sao Paolo. Several clubs have expressed interest in Lugano during the summer, but Fenerbahce has not been interested in selling the defender.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Familiar Scene: Fenerbahce, Bursa End 1-1

Familiar Scene: Fenerbahce, Bursa End 1-1
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce followed up their monumental win over Inter Milan with a draw in Bursa on Sunday. The Fenerbahce offense was once again stifled by a stingy defense, allowing few opportunities for Fenerbahce to score.

Bursa's packed house gave great momentum to the home side, but neither team could find the back of the net early on. Nearly a third of the way into the game, Fenerbahce had yet to take a shot at all, much less a shot on goal. Bursa had fired five shots in, but tested Volkan Demirel only once. Both teams went into the half scoreless.

Zico again went with Deivid de Souza at the top as a starter, with Alex de Souza providing offensive help. Mateja Kezman missed the game, and Zico also added Gokcek Wederson in the midfield after giving him a start last week against Inter. Tumer Metin, Stephen Appiah, and Serdar Kulbilge all missed the game due to injuries.

Shortly after the break, Bursaspor forward Herve Tum put the home side up 1-0. A beautiful pass to Tum couldn't be defended by Edu Dracena and the Cameroon star's perfectly-placed header went to the top of the net just past the diving Volkan Demirel. Down by a goal, the Canaries pushed forward to try to equalize and eight minutes later, they tied it up. Semih Senturk took advantage of his starting opportunity on a beautiful long pass. Venezuelan goalkeeper Renny Vega came too far out to try to stop the surging Canaries, and Senturk took advantage by putting a beautiful shot past Vega to tie the game at 1-1. Bursaspor manager Bulent Korkmaz argued that Senturk was offsides but the referees disagreed and let the goal stand.

Bursaspor went to a tight defensive scheme after Senturk's goal, allowing Fenerbahce few opportunities to take the lead. Deivid had a good opportunity shortly before the end of regulation, but his long-range shot flew just high over the goal. In the 61st minute, Zico brought Gokhan Gonul in for Edu Dracena to refresh the defense and replaced Deniz Baris with Colin Kazim-Richards in hopes of generating more offense. Zico's final substitution came four minutes before the end of regulation when he replaced Wederson with Ugur Boral. The substitutions didn't result in another goal, however, and the game ended 1-1.

After leaving Bursa with only one point, Fenerbahce finds themselves in the rare position of eighth place in the Turkcell Super Lig. After six games, the Canaries have mustered only nine points. Bursaspor currently sits in eleventh place with six points through six games. Fenerbahce is a full seven points behind first place Galatasaray and five points behind second-place Besiktas. Fener will next play host to visiting Ankaragucu next weekend at Sukru Saracoglu. Ankaragucu finds themselves in fifth place with eleven points following a 1-0 defeat of Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor over the weekend.

After the game, Zico expressed his displeasure with the referee's performance. He told the club website "I find it really negative that the referees do not extend the games the way they should. Today the game has been stopped for several times, yet the referee has only added 3 minutes of stoppage time."

Zico went on to say "We should work on how to strike when the opponent starts to have a pressure over us. We have to learn how to dominate the game. You cannot compare the Inter match with the Bursaspor match. They are totally different. After the European games we always suffer from losses. We are not concerned about the point difference in the league, we only care about our football style and performance."

(photo courtesy of Hurriyet)

Match Day: Fenerbahce vs. Bursaspor

Match Day: Fenerbahce vs. Bursaspor
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce and Bursaspor will square off later today in Bursa, with both teams having a lot to prove. Fenerbahce is coming off a huge win in the UEFA Champions League over Inter Milan, but their success has not always translated to the Turkcell Super Lig. Fenerbahce has gotten off to a less-than-stellar start in the domestic league, but the team know it's too early to worry. Zico is hoping the confidence gained from their win over Inter Milan will teach the team how good they can be when their best effort is put forth.

Bursaspor has been a club in turmoil recently. The team's players revolted recently over a lack of pay, causing the Bursaspor chairman and members of the board to resign last week. Up-and-coming manager Bulent Korkmaz has stated he will stay on board in Bursa despite the upheaval. Korkmaz is considered one of the top coaches in the Super Lig, after rebuilding Kayseri Erciyesspor and earning them a place in the UEFA Cup. Korkmaz stated last week "The fans' support to me in the Istanbul Municipality game, their chanting in favor of me increased my excitement about Bursaspor." At his press conference, Korkmaz added "I spoke to my players and I am convinced that glorious days are not far away."

Despite the big win over Inter, Fenerbahce cannot afford to take any Turkish opponent lightly. Their lack of success in the early weeks of the Super Lig could indicate a lack of focus in the domestic games, but the season is early and the team can certainly turn things around. Korkmaz also knows that a win over the Turkcell Super Lig champs could mean a sea change for Bursaspor. “The upcoming Fenerbahçe game is very important,” said Korkmaz. “Everybody will concentrate on this match, everybody will live the game and feel the game. We must leave the problems aside and focus on victory, of course with the magnificent support of our supporters.”

Fenerbahce and Bursaspor kick off later today at 20:30 in Bursa (1:30 PM EST in the U.S.).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Alex de Souza Live Chat Full Transcript

Alex de Souza Live Chat Full Transcript
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce star Alex de Souza conducted a live chat with on Friday. Alex answered questions submitted by fans around the world. Here is a full transcript of Alex's chat:

Administrator: Welcome to Talk Football.

Moderator: Alex will be joining the chatroom at 12.30CET. You can start
sending your questions now.

Alex: Hello everyone. I am talking from Istanbul and it is a pleasure to be
here with you. So… I am waiting for your questions!

FenerFan: Hi Alex, what do you think for the next champions league matches
after the victory against milano?

Alex: It is going to be more difficult. Exactly the way we imagined before
the start of the competition. Our group is very tough and we will have to
play in Moscow and Eindhoven, two away games far from our crowd. We believe
it is going to be quite difficult to get points.

Cuneyt: What do you like the most in Istanbul?

Alex: The city itself is so nice, the nature around. I think what I like
most is this contrast of modern and past. The place I like most to go is the
Bosphorus. Anywhere near it, where you can take a look at the strait, is
very pleasant.

erhun: Which feature or position should Fenerbahce improve to gain success
in the Champions League?

Alex: You can always improve and you have to improve to gain success in this
competition. I would say we lack a bigger group of players. We needed more
players at the same level.

FENFAN: Do you think to be a coach in the future?

Alex: I don't think about that yet and, to be honest, I don't see it with
good eyes. Being a coach is such a difficult job. Any player who likes
football and studies it has the background to become a coach. But I will
wait and see when I retire.

Mesut: Our team plays very differently in the Super League and in
Europe..Why? Is the Turkish Leauge no longer a motivation for you?

Alex: In Turkey, we lower our level. We become more physical than usual, we
start to play the same way the opponent is playing. You get nervous and
runaway from the simple task of playing football. When our concern is only
to play, we show our quality. And that happens more often in Europe.

Cuneyt: When you were a little kid, which football player did you look up

Alex: Zico. I always looked and admired the way he played, he was the
greatest of my generation. Even today, when I go to the training sessions, I
don't believe I am working with my idol.

Alex: About playing in Turkey, it is not a lack of motivation, it is the way
football is played. In Turkey there is more physical contact and the
referees don't award many fouls. Besides, all the teams that play against
the big clubs, Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray, they just try to defend
and do something in counter attacks. In Europe, we play against better
teams, so we equal them, we raise our level.

tuncerotti: If you were a manager or coach which player would you buy for
your team ( 3 names)?

Alex: Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldinho and Messi.

vodina: you were criticized by many writers and fans for not playing very
efficiently in big games but your excellent football of the last victory has
silenced them, what do you want to say to those who still ignore your
quality and skills ?

Alex: I have nothing to say. Critics are there and the fans have the right
to criticize us as well. But they just have to look at my numbers. I scored
against our rivals in Turkey, against PSV, against Milan… I made assists
against Manchester, now against Inter… there are no arguments against the

mysterYSM: did you know anything about Turkey before you came

Alex: Absolutely nothing. I had no idea what to expect and it had never come
into my mind to play in Turkey. The only thing I knew was that school thing,
that Turkey is divided between two continents, Asia and Europe. Once I got
here, though, I started to learn and I was so surprised. I really liked it
from the beginning.

FB-Legend: does playing as a captain affect ur concentration or ur play?

Alex: No, it doesn't affect me. I was captain in Coritiba, Cruzeiro, Brazil…
even when I am not the captain, I have always tried to help my colleagues
with information about what I see inside the pitch.

magichand: whats the most difficult match in your life?

Alex: It was Coritiba vs Palmeiras, 1997 Brazilian league. I had just moved
from Coritiba to Palmeiras and it was a new situation for me. I would be
playing against the club I supported, where I had spent my whole childhood.
And both teams needed to win. I played a horrible match and in the last
minute I scored the goal that got us the draw… 1-1.

Cuneyt: Who do you think is the best player of Galatasaray and would you
like to see him playing for Fenerbahce?

Alex: Arda, he is a young guy who plays with the jersey number 66.

christub: How does the Turkish league compare with the Brazilan and the
Italian league you have played in?

Alex: They are all different. In Brazil technique is the important thing. If
you are not talented, the supporters don't accept you. In Italy, what
matters is the tactical part. To close spaces and win 1-0 is good there. And
in Turkey what matters is the effort, the heart. There are teams that you
don't even understand their system, but they keep going, they never give up.
Alex: In Brazil, skills. In Italy, tactics. In Turkey, heart.

BORDERLINE: Now im in office and chatting with you. Also my Fenerbahce
uniform is on my desk. Supporters in Turkey love football too much? What do
you think about that?

Alex: It is phenomenal, isn't it? I've played in Brazil and Italy and people
really love football in those places. But there is nothing compared to
Turkey, Here football is above all things.

alex10fan: hi alex,what do you think about Zico's 3-5-2 system in Rizespor?

Alex: All systems are good as long as you practice them. We hadn't had time
to test this system, lots of players were coming back from national teams
and we had one session only. And I think it worked, because we created lots
of chances. It is a system that has to be worked on.

Cuneyt: Do you think the Fenerbahce-Galatasaray derby is one of the best of
the world?

Alex: It is a difficult question, because all countries will consider theirs
as the best derbies. Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray makes the city different,
everyone talks about it, so I think it might be one of the biggest games of
the world.

aytun: alex how many more years are you thinking of playing football with

Alex: I have a contract until the end of the next season, two years then.
When it expires, we will see what to do.

big_julius: Do you have any kind of belief we may lose the title against
Galatasaray this year? We are 5 points behind them..

Alex: The supporters have to be patient, because it is just the beginning.
Yes, we've dropped five points, but there is a long way to go.

gomart: who are your best friends in fenerbahce?

Alex: For obvious reasons, I am closer to the Brazilian players. There are
plenty of them!

Cristian Chivu: What is your opinion about Roberto Carlos?

Alex: It is good to have him with us. He is helping us on the pitch with all
his experience and he is helping the club outside the pitch, with all
marketing campaigns. He is an asset.

Alex: OK, thanks to all of you who participated. It's been a pleasure for me
and let's hope Fenerbahce keep winning in the Champions League. Bye!

Turkcell Super Lig Week Six Schedule

Turkcell Super Lig Week Six Schedule
By Nathan L. Redd
Friday, September 21:
Vestel Manisaspor vs. Trabzonspor - 20:30
MKE Ankaragucu vs. Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor - 20:30
Saturday, September 22:
Kayserispor vs. Ankaraspor - 20:30
Besiktas vs. Denizlispor - 20:30
Konyaspor vs. Genclerbirligi - 20:30
Sunday, September 23:
Kasimpasa vs. Galatasaray - 17:00
Bursaspor vs. Fenerbahce - 20:30 (1:30 PM EST in the U.S.)
Caykur Rizespor vs. Sivasspor - 20:30
Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor vs. Gaziantepspor - 20:30

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inter President Blames Players, Not Manager

Inter President Blames Players, Not Manager
By Nathan L. Redd

Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti had some harsh words for his team's players following their 1-0 loss to Fenerbahce on Wednesday. Moratti told "I can't place all the responsibility on the coach when our night was ruined by the actions of several players."

Moratti has had a somewhat-rocky relationship with Inter Manager Roberto Mancini, but this time he attempted to deflect blame from the Inter boss. "People ask questions at times of Mancini's personality and his tactics, but the players were fully equipped to succeed. But they didn't believe in themselves as they need to do; they need to not panic and instead put things right" Moratti told

Inter will be looking to re-establish their championship play this weekend when they visit Serie A rivals Livorno. Fenerbahce travels to Bursa to take on Bursaspor on Sunday.

Watch Deivid's Goal to Lead Fenerbahce

Watch a highlight clip of Deivid de Souza's amazing goal that led to Fener's 1-0 win over Inter Milan.

Chat Live with Alex de Souza

Chat Live with Alex de Souza
By Nathan L. Redd is hosting a live chat with Fenerbahce star Alex de Souza on Friday. You can leave questions or messages for the Brasilian-born Fenerbahce star. For more details, check out the UEFA website at

Special thanks to our good friend ParisTexas for alerting me on this. ParisTexas is a regular Fenerbahce Worldwide visitor and represents the Yellow Canaries in Japan. Thanks, PT!!

A Quick Glance at Fenerbahce News

A Quick Glance At Fenerbahce News
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

I have decided to do a quick headlines tour of the media front, because there are a lot of news about Fenerbahce, but none of them is enough to write a whole article about. So here goes:

Edu, Now In Turkish! has good news for Turkish fans of the Brazilian international. now has a Turkish version, translated from its original Portuguese. The website has info on Edu and Fenerbahce, as well as a photo gallery, message board and a section about Brazilian National Team. Fenerbahce's fixture is also included in the website. So now, the website is reaching a much broader audience, and anyone who speaks Turkish should go check it out. Thanks goes out to Edu and his translator, for following Alex's lead and including a Turkish version of his site.

Lugano A Main Transfer Target Of Juve... Or So They Say
Apparently, our defensive duo are in the media limelight now. Our second story is about Lugano. It is rumored that after some successful performances with the Uruguay National Team and Fenerbahce, Lugano is now a prime transfer candidate of Juventus board, according to the Italian Tuttosport. According to the article, Juve executives were at the Fenerbahce-Inter game and liked what they saw of Lugano. Well, even if this is the case, I hope the transfer will not go through. I personally am very satisfied with our central defenders Edu and Lugano, and even though I know that in the summer transfer season there will be very high demand resulting in a good amount of money being offered for both of our players, I am against either of them getting sold for profit. If Fenerbahce is aiming to become a internationally acclaimed club, we should not be selling good players, instead, we should be fortifying our team with even better ones. I hope we will still be able watch both Lugano and Edu with the Fenerbahce jersey in 2008/2009 season.

Courtesy of Chat Live with Fenerbahce
"Fenerbahçe SK's Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex will be joining the Talk Football chatroom at 10.00CET on Friday to discuss Matchday 1 of the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League. Log on to put your questions to Alex, with the best earning tickets to a UEFA Champions League game, courtesy of Ford. The winning question will be selected by the moderator."
I think it is a good opportunity to get some questions in, and have them answered by Alex himself. And who knows, you might even win a ticket to a Champions League match. Now that would be amazing. Just wanted to make a note of this so more people can take advantage of this opportunity if they so desire.

Could Tuncay Be Headed Back to Turkiye?

Could Tuncay Be Headed Back to Turkiye?
By Nathan L. Redd

Published reports out of England indicate that the honeymoon may be over for Tuncay Sanli and Middlesbrough. However, Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate says there is no truth to the rumors. Southgate told Sky Sports "It's nonsense, so I am not prepared to be distracted from our preparations for Saturday's game.

"I actually saw these supposed quotes from Tuncay a couple of weeks ago and asked him about them. There is no truth to them" he told Sky Sports. "He is committed to the challenge. His reaction to the game last Saturday certainly didn't suggest to me someone that wasn't 100 percent committed to the club and what we are trying to do. He has been a substitute for some of our early games, but there is every chance he will be playing against Sunderland on Saturday. The truth is that we have been delighted with him and I am sure he will be a big success over here."

The former Fenerbahce star is expected to start in Saturday's game, replacing the injured Jeremie Aliadiere.

Cesar, Inter Still Like Their Chances

Cesar, Inter Still Like Their Chances
By Nathan L. Redd

Despite the opening loss to Fenerbahce on Wednesday, Inter Milan and goalkeeper Julio Cesar still like their chances to advance. After the game, Cesar told Sky Sports that it's still early their hole is not too deep. "We are very strong and can still qualify from the group. Last year we also started badly, but managed to qualify, so we have to believe in it."

Cesar indicated that the short-handed Inter will be in good shape once everyone returns. "Considering the players we were missing, a draw would have been a good result." Inter Milan returns to Serie A action this weekend against Livorno. Fenerbahce travels to Bursa to take on Bursaspor Sunday evening in Turkcell Super Lig action.

Mancini: "Fenerbahce Deserved to Win"

Mancini: "Fenerbahce Deserved to Win"
By Nathan L. Redd

Following Fenerbahce's 1-0 win on Wednesday, Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini said his team played inferior to the Turks and deserved their loss.

Mancini told Sporting Life "We didn't play a good game. I cannot deny it, Fenerbahce were better than us and they deserved the win. Perhaps to be given a smack once in a while is good for us. But this defeat should mark a starting point for us because if we play as we know how to we shouldn't have any problems in qualifying."

Despite the loss, Inter Milan finds themselves in a familiar hole. They opened their 2006 UEFA Champions League campaign with a loss as well, but still managed to advance to the next stage. Fenerbahce is looking to move to the knockout phase for the first time. Despite the win, they know it won't be easy and a full-strength Inter squad in Milan will provide a much tougher task.

Mancini told "The first half was balanced, while in the second half they played better because they had more space for the counterattacks and, overall, they deserved the victory." When asked about his team's short-handed side, Mancini said "Those who played are as good as those who were missing, so we can't use that as an excuse. As I've said, they played better throughout the 90 minutes and deserved to win."

"We certainly did not play a very good match and we could've done better," said Mancini. "We've lost one game and now we have to try to win our next home game to avoid getting into a difficult situation as we did last season."

Fenerbahce Featured on ESPN's "Sportscenter"

Fenerbahce Featured on ESPN's "Sportscenter"
By Nathan L. Redd
Fenerbahce's UEFA Champions League win over Inter Milan was featured on ESPN's "Sportscenter" on Thursday. The daily segment "Top 10 Plays" featured Deivid de Souza's goal as the #2 play of the day.
Sportscenter is the most watched sports news program in America. Special thanks to our regular visitor "FenerFan" for alerting me on this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Photos from Fenerbahce 1 - 0 Inter Milan

Photos from Fenerbahce 1 - 0 Inter Milan
By Nathan L. Redd

Turkish media outlet Hurriyet has put together a fantastic photo gallery from Fenerbahce's 1-0 defeat of Inter Milan. To access Hurriyet's gallery, click on

Fenerbahce 1, Inter 0... What more can anyone say?

Fenerbahce 1, Inter 0... What more can anyone say?
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

A dream start for Fenerbahce. Even had to admit that "Fenerbahçe's showing could well have been enough to overcome the full-strength Italian title-holders". So the biggest authority in the Champions League kills the idea that "Fenerbahce won because Inter was missing so many players" before it has time to plant its seeds of doubt.

Fenerbahce played excellent futbol, from the first minute to the last, period. There might have been a few periods where they seemed to lose control and almost succumb to self-doubt, but with some considerable help from Roberto Carlos' 108 Champions League games experience, Fener players pulled themselves together and managed to send Inter back to Italy empty handed. And it really was some display, considering that even though Internazionale was missing a lot of defenders, they had a full attacking squad with the likes of Ibrahimovic, Suazo, Crespo, Stankovic and Figo. A flawless display from the back duo Edu and Lugano, supported by Onder and Roberto Carlos kept Inter at bay, and ensured the 1-0 victory.

And what a goal that was! I have been watching Fenerbahce for years now, but that was easily one of the top 10 goals of all time. Carlos, with one of his countless fast-breaks on the left wing, passed the ball to Kezman in front of the penalty area, THEN pointed where he should pass to Kezman. The ball found Alex on the right side thanks to Kezman's pass navigated by Roberto Carlos, Alex "broke the defender's back" as we say in Turkish with such a move that the Inter defender fell on his back trying to keep up with him, then Alex sent it a bit back towards the penalty spot with a long pass, where it was volleyed with a fierce shot passed the goalkeeper by Deivid. In short, it "the" best goal of Fenerbahce so far this season, with a perfect organization, topped by excellent displays from Alex and Deivid. It was a sight to behold.

Not one player was lagging behind on Fenerbahce and all the players were fighting with everything they had for the 3 points today. One of the defining moments of the game was when Figo, an international legend, took the free-kick from the right side and it was deflected back by Roberto Carlos, another international legend. This, in this match, showed how far Fenerbahce has progressed on the way to becoming an international giant. We are not there yet, but every year that passes takes us a step closer to that goal.

We are at a 3 game winning run so far in the European games, and hopefully, Fenerbahce will continue this pattern in October against CSKA Moscow. I would like to thank everyone, both on and off the pitch, for letting us watch such a fine performance by Fenerbahce. Congratulations Fenerbahce!

(photo courtesy of Even though I do not normally use pictures from non-media sources, this picture shows everything that was right with today's game. Faith, motivation, ambition. It was all on the field today, and Deivid in this picture, with his shirt wet from sweat, his hand gesture, and his facial expression, is a living proof of it. The photo can be clicked on to get a better view.)

Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan Available on Pay-Per-View

Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan Available on Pay-Per-View
By Nathan L. Redd

Today's Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan UEFA Champions League match is available on a pay-per-view basis to watch online. Log on to and you can purchase the game (and all UEFA Champions League games) for $7.95 per game.

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!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Captain Alex's Interview with Zico

Captain Alex's Interview with Zico
Translated and Edited By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Our midfield maestro, Alex, has interviewed manager Zico for his website. Here it is in English for Fenerbahce Worldwide audience:

Alex: What do you think of your performance in Turkiye?
Zico: It is hard to evaluate myself right now. A lot of gears were in motion when I took over this position, and I was expected to perform flawlessly. Now, when I look back, I can see that I have mistakes. But I also need to say that my achievements surpass my mistakes. For example, we won the title in our 100th Anniversary. Also, I'm content with the position we are in right now.

Alex: Does the fact that there are Brazilian players on the team make your life easier?
Zico: Yes, it is very helpful. They help me with getting the know the other players on the team, and understanding the Turkish way of thinking in matters related to futbol. Also, my assistant manager, Moraci, has worked in Turkey 10 years ago, so his experience helps too. Finally, the fact that I have worked in a culture foreign to the Brazilian culture, in Japan, helps me adapt to new cultures.

Alex: What differences are there between the Brazilian, Japanese, and Turkish futbol cultures?
Zico: There are immense differences. You can write a whole encyclopedia on this topic. In Latin American style, creativity is the foremost factor. The players do not feel under pressure to do specific things, so they are more relaxed in their ways. In Japan, discipline and following commands is the key, which I think creates problems from time to time, since not all the players have the same physical capabilities. In Turkiye, the players like to play a futbol based on strength, pressing, and also supported by technique. Turkish style has the characteristics of both the European and the American styles. However, the Turkish players still need to improve their tactical side to reach the level of the some higher-tier European leagues.

Alex: Who is the Turkish player you most admire in the Super League?
Zico: I love Arda's style (from Galatasaray). He has all the characteristics of a star Brazilian player. His technique, skill, and futbol intelligence are all very strong. He is a really good passer, and can get results in the game too. However, he still needs to work on developing himself. He is still very young.

Alex: What do you think of the Brazilian commitment and the Turkish commitment to the game?
Zico: It is hard to compare them. The Turks have a fanatical love for futbol. They almost adore it like a religion. This sometimes scares me. They are involved in futbol as much as the Brazilians. This of course is a nice thing, but it also carries the risk of getting out of hand and being dangerous.

Alex: Do you plan on continuing your career as a manager? Is managing the Brazilian National Team amongst your goals?
Zico: I do not have very long term plans. I believe in the beauty of this sport, and will strive to improve myself and learn everything that I can. Right now, managing the Brazilian Team one day is not amongst my goals. Right now, the only thing on my mind is doing the best I can for Fenerbahce and help them get to the utmost point that they can. Also, I am in debt to Fenerbahce. I owe them, because they allowed me to enter the European stage and manage a European team.

Alex: In your opinion, who is the best player and who is the best manager in the world?
Zico: Kaka is "the" player in the world. In terms of the manager, I admire Mourinho. I have been watching him since his days in Porto.

(Photo courtesy of

Monday, September 17, 2007

Referees for Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan

Referees for Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan
By Nathan L. Redd

UEFA, the governing body of European football, has announced the referee assignments for Wednesday's Champions League matchup between Fenerbahce and Inter Milan. Luis Medina Canatalejo will be the man in charge. His assistants for the game will be Juan Carlos Yuste Jimenez, Antonio Artero Gallardo and Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo.

Kickoff for Wednesday's match is at 20:45 (1:45 PM EST in the U.S.).

Fenerbace: A Past and Future Secret

Fenerbace: A Past and Future Secret
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Believe in it guys,
Believe in it.
We will see the better days,
Bright, shiny days.
We will beat Cim Bom Bom in Kadikoy,
And will sing the songs of victory.

Or, in the original Turkish:

Inanin cocuklar,
Cocuklar inanin.
Guzel gunler gorecegiz,
Gunesli gunler.
Cim Bom Bom'u Kadikoy'de devirecegiz,
Sampiyonluk sarkilari soyleyecegiz.

It is always hard to translate a song word for word in to English, but I did my best. I did this, because I felt a general wave of despair has been slowly taking over the Fenerbahce fans this year, and someone should remind them some things that are apparently forgotten. This chant, adapted from a Turkish song, was a rallying cry for Fener fans two seasons ago, the season where we lost the championship to Galatasaray, and with this chant ringing through the Kadikoy stadium, the most important derby of the year ended Fenerbahce 4-0 Galatasaray.

Today, 5 games have been played for the 2007-2008 season, and Fenerbahce is trailing 5 points behind Galatasaray, the current first place holders. The picture does not look so bright. But its effects are felt tenfold amongst the Fener community. Even the members of the stronghold of the Fener fans, Antu, has been taken over by this negative atmosphere. Some people go as far as saying that Zico should be "kicked out" immediately, and replaced by Daum/Ridvan Dilmen-Pierre van Hooijdonk duo/Capello etc...

I am not going to comment on what Fenerbahce should do, or how they should use this or that tactic, or Zico should/shouldn't be replaced... The focus of this article is the fan behavior and psychology.

In Fenerbahce, as is the case with most Turkish teams, responsibility comes with a huge risk, alongside the six figure pay check. You could be fired from your position in a matter of days. Therefore, in such a volatile environment, it may be natural for the fans to start protesting and asking for a manager to be replaced. However, the problem with the fans is, they have a very weak short term memory. Even the most dedicated fan might at times have a hard time remembering what happened two years ago when Daum was in charge, or before that, or before that...

It is easy for a fan to demand change when things are going bad. Because that is where his duty ends, the rest is up to the Board. The Board has to sack the current manager, look for alternatives, choose the best one, negotiate an affordable price with him, and put him in charge, not to mention changing the whole staff (assistant manager, trainers etc.) if the new manager requests that. Even if all this is done and taken care of, there is no guarantee that the new manager surpass, or even match the old manager's success level. Also, there is the whole issue of the team accepting and adjusting to the new manager during the season, which I will not even get into.

The whole point of my article is: Be patient. Consistency is a vital component of achievement in futbol. I know Zico has been performing below-par this season, but do not forget that last year in the same period, Zico and his students had scored 15 goals in 5 matches. Therefore, since we did not make him a legend last year after 5 games, we should not have his head this season in the first 5 league games.

Remember, it took Sir Alex Ferguson 6 years to make Manchester United win their first championship. What a big mistake it would have been if the Manchester United Board decided to listen to the fans and fire him after 1, 2 or even 5 years of failure!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Turkcell Super Lig Scores from Week Five

Turkcell Super Lig Scores from Week Five
By Nathan L. Redd
Saturday, September 15:
Ankaraspor 0-0 Besiktas
Denizlispor 0-1 Kasimpasa
Sivasspor 1-0 Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor
Fenerbahce 1-1 Caykur Rizespor
Sunday, September 16:
Trabzonspor 0-0 Ankaragucu
Genclerbirligi 0-2 Vestel Manisaspor
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor 1-0 Bursaspor
Gaziantepspor 4-3 Kayserispor
Galatasaray 6-0 Konyaspor

Inter Losing Players By The Minute

Inter Losing Players By The Minute
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Reports have surfaced today that Internazionale is now missing 8 players, only 3 players away from a full team of injuries.

Patrick Viera, the versatile midfielder of Inter, had been injured in the game against Scotland, and the injury appears to be serious enough to keep Viera from playing against Fenerbahce.

With the addition of Viera, the 8 players to probably miss out Fenerbahce match are as follows:
Suspended: Maicon, Burdisso, Cordoba
Injured: Viera, Materazzi, Samuel, Chivu
Not included in the Champions League roster: Adriano (this is a huge puzzler, why would anyone exclude one of their best strikers, actually, one of the best strikers in the world, from their Champions League Roster?)

Therefore, it looks like Inter will have a hard time of putting a full team on the pitch on Wednesday, let alone a strong team. Of course, when the team in question is as big as Inter, you will never know.

Also, the injuries might only be a ruse to get Fenerbahce complacent and earn an easy victory on Wednesday... Who knows?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Some Interesting Facts and Figures From the Caykur Rizespor Game

Some Interesting Facts and Figures From the Caykur Rizespor Game
Translated And Edited By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Fenerbahce, after 5 games into the season, still sits at zero goal difference, called the average in Turkish, with 5 goals scored and 5 goals conceded. This is a problem for Fenerbahce, and it is easier to see the problem when the 5 goals in 5 matches is compared to last year today, when Fenerbahce scored 11 goals in 4 matches.

Ali Bilgin, who only had one match before that he played right from the start, was given a chance today due to the injuries of Deniz Baris and Tumer Metin. Alongside Tumer and Deniz some regular first team players were missing from Fenerbahce due to injuries like Serdar, Appiah and Can. Kemal, who put on a successful performance against Gaziantepspor, was excluded from the 18 men list for Caykur Rize's game.

The stadium was less-than full capacity, with the Inter game looming in the horizon. This game went into the books as the "least number of spectators in a game this year".

Both teams had their opponent's ex-players on their team. It was Yasin Cakmak for Fenerbahce, and Zafer Biryol for Caykur Rizespor. While Zafer got to play against his former team, Yasin did not have the chance to get on the pitch.

(Some facts are translated from an article in

Another Disappointing Result for Fenerbahce: 1-1

Another Disappointing Result for Fenerbahce: 1-1
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

At home in Kadikoy, against the team conceded the most goals in Turkcell Super League, with a roster that adds up to millions of euros. This equation should guarantee Fenerbahce's success, right? Well, apparently not so.

Fenerbahce has lost another 2 points, making the grand total 7 points out of the possible 15 in 5 games. While it is still early in the season to start despairing, it looks like Fenerbahce will miss these points in the weeks to come.

The Yellow Canaries started the game with a very different tactic, namely the 3-5-2. Zico looked like he was finally heeding Kezman's cries of despair, and he let Kezman have his partner for this game. Onder, Lugano and Edu got the back, helped by two defensive midfielders Aurelio and Selcuk. The rest of the team was built for attacking, with Roberto Carlos on the left, Ali Bilgin on the right, Alex in the middle and Kezman and Deivid playing as strikers.

Maybe the best moment of the game for me was the beginning, when the Rizespor players came on the field with a banner that said "We hope you succeed in the Champions League games". That is what futbol is all about: Sportsmanship. The habitants of Sukru Saracoglu responded with a well-round of applause. So the game was played in a positive atmosphere.

Fenerbahce started off well, with some strong and quick attacks. Roberto Carlos was being especially efficient on the left side, and showed us once again why he was "THE" best left back in the world. His counterpart on the right side, Ali Bilgin was much less efficient, and gave somewhat of a disappointing performance. Alex was, unfortunately, non-existent in this game, other than some efficient passing. Alex has been troubled for a while now, at least looks like it, and I am at a loss as to why that could be. I hope he will be his usual self against Inter this week, because we will need him.

It wasn't long before 3-5-2's weakness became apparent: 3 defenders is not enough, not even against a Turkish team, let alone against our opponents in the Champions League. Caykur Rize came on with a quick counter-attack, and with some smart passing, scored an early goal less than 15 minutes into the game. Zafer Biryol, an ex-Fenerbahce player, started the attack with a pass to Emrah, Emrah sent a curved ball towards Leandro, and Leandro passed the ball into our goal from close range. The sole reason for Fenerbahce conceding this goal was that 3 defenders by themselves is a very inefficient defense system when not supported by the wingers. Hopefully, if we continue to use 3-5-2 in the future, our wingers will be more supportive of our defense. Or, maybe we should abandon this tactic altogether? That is for Zico to decide. But I must say, if it was up to me, Kezman would always have a partner up ahead with him. Even if it does not help his performance, which I think it will, Fenerbahce will have two strikers ahead instead of just one, which means double the chance of scoring.

At 10 minutes to half-time, a great display by Fenerbahce was awarded with a goal. A strong offensive move including Alex, Deivid, Roberto Carlos and Kezman came up to Caykur Rize's goal, and Kezman hit a wonderful header to Deivid's high ball, leaving Gonzales hanging in the air. The goal signalled the start of a strong 10 minutes for Fenerbahce, but Gonzales pulled of a miraculous save to another amazing Fenerbahce attack capped by a fierce shot by Kezman at 45th minute, and that ended Fenerbahce's onslaught at the half time whistle.

As is the custom this season, Fenerbahce's only goal came in the first half (which was the 5th goal that Fenerbahce scored in the first half. Interestingly enough, Fenerbahce has yet to score a goal in the second half this year.) and second half was not as exciting as the first.

The man of the match was Gonzales in my opinion, ending at least two very dangerous Fenerbahce attacks, and batting away Kezman's strong shot at the end of the first half.

The Caykur Rizespor was the latest in the string of poor results by Fenerbahce this year. I do not blame any individual players, or even Zico for this poor performance. Inter game was what was on everyone's mind, even the fans, who decided to save their money and use it to come to the Inter game instead. However, I fervently hope that this game will be the last, and Zico and his students will go uphill from here.

(photo courtesy of

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two Good News on the Injury Front

Two Good News on the Injury Front
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Today is a good day for Fenerbahce. Serdar, who might have required an operation for his injury, and Appiah, who had been continuing his treatment after his operation at the beginning of the summer, have both been cleared to play by the Head of the Health Department of Fenerbahce, Omer Taser.

It was known that had Serdar required an operation, he would not have been able to play for 2 to 3 months. Therefore, it was a huge relief that his injury did not require an operation. He will soon start training with the team.

Appiah, who went through a very serious operation this summer, has not been able to play for almost half a year now, and it is with great joy that I relay you the news of his recovery. He also will be training with the team from now on, and will take his place on the field when Zico deem it is appropriate.

So we can expect to see Fenerbahce in full force very soon. Hopefully, in time for the Inter game on the 19th, especially since Inter practically does not have any defenders left standing. The injury plagued Inter defense should be an easy prey for Fenerbahce. If all goes well, Inter can expect a major upset from next Wednesday's game.

Tuncay, Middlesbrough on American TV Saturday

Tuncay, Middlesbrough on American TV Saturday
By Nathan L. Redd

North American fans of former Fenerbahce star Tuncay Sanli can get a glimpse of Tuncay's English Premier League success on Saturday. American-based television network Fox Soccer Channel is airing Middlesbrough at West Ham United on Saturday, September 15 at 10:30 AM EST.

Middlesbrough currently sits in 12th place in the EPL with seven points after five games. Tuncay has played in all five games, but has yet to score a goal for Gareth Southgate's side.

Tuncay fans in North America will get several more chances to see the former Fenerbahce star in action in the coming weeks. In addition to tomorrow's match, Fox Soccer Channel will also air Middlesbrough's home match vs. Sunderland on September 22, as well as Middlesbrough at Everton on Sunday, September 30.

Turkcell Super Lig Week Five Schedule

Turkcell Super Lig Week Five Schedule
By Nathan L. Redd

After a weekend off for international competition last week, the Turkcell Super Lig returns to action on Saturday with a full slate of games.

The weekend schedule is as follows:

Saturday, September 15:

Ankaraspor vs. Besiktas - 18:00
Denizlispor vs. Kasimpasa - 20:30
Sivasspor vs. Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor - 20:30
Fenerbahce vs. Caykur Rizespor - 21:00 (2 PM EST in the U.S.)

Sunday, September 16:

Trabzonspor vs. MKE Ankaragucu - 18:00
Genclerbirligi vs. Vestel Manisaspor - 19:00
Gaziantepspor vs. Kayserispor - 20:30
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor vs. Bursaspor - 20:30
Galatasaray vs. Konyaspor - 21:00

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Caykur Rizespor Hopes to Catch Fener Looking Ahead

Caykur Rizespor Hopes to Catch Fener Looking Ahead
By Nathan L. Redd

As sports betting websites set the line for Saturday's Fenerbahce vs. Caykur Rizespor match, most won't give the Tea Men much of a chance in Kadikoy. However, Rizespor knows that Fenerbahce often plays their worst futbol when they're looking ahead. The Rize side are coming to Istanbul quietly, hoping everyone overlooks them with the UEFA Champions League on the horizon.

Zico's challenge this weekend will be to get his men to focus and give 100% effort against Rizespor. Italian giants Inter Milan loom on the schedule next week, and it's no secret that the players are focused on European glory in the UEFA Champions League. That's exactly what Safet Susic is hoping for. The Bosnian Rizespor manager knows that his team's best chance for a win involves Fener worrying too much about Inter Milan and forgetting about his side.

Fenerbahce has been a team of mystery at times over the last few years. They often tend to play well against top competition, but tend to drop points to teams they should defeat easily. Denizlispor, Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor, and Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor know this all too well. Fenerbahce is determined to achieve success in the UEFA Champions League, but they must focus on acquiring points in the Turkcell Super Lig or there will be no return trip next year. As well as Fenerbahce has played in the past against top-notch European teams, they've often stooped to the lower level of some Super Lig teams while looking past them.

Fenerbahce currently sits in sixth place in the Turkcell Super Lig with seven points. Caykur Rizespor is second from the bottom with only three points after four games. No one is giving the Tea Men much of a chance on Saturday, and the Turkish media is talking more about Inter Milan than Fener's Turkish opponents. That's quite alright with Safet Susic, however. He's hoping no one talks about his team...until after the final whistle Saturday night.

Inter Milan's Chivu Out for Fenerbahce Match

Inter Milan's Chivu Out for Fenerbahce Match
By Nathan L. Redd

If Inter Milan hopes to pull out a win in Istanbul next week, they'll have to do it without starting defender Cristian Chivu. The Romanian star dislocated his shoulder over the weekend in an international match.

Chivu joined Inter in July for 13 Million Euro after coming over from AS Roma. The injury concern is magnified by the fact that Inter will be without five defenders for the Fenerbahce match. Marco Materazzi, Nicolas Burdisso, Maicon, and Ivan Cordoba are all out for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League match in Kadikoy.

The first leg of Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan's UEFA Champions League matchup will be played Wednesday, September 19 at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Kadikoy. Tickets for the game go on sale to the general public on Friday. Tickets can be purchased in Istanbul or at Ticket prices are:

Telsim 50.00 YTL
Migros 50.00 YTL
Fenerium Üst 100.00 YTL
Fenerium Alt B – F 200.00 YTL
Fenerium Alt C – E 240.00 YTL
Fenerium Alt D 350.00 YTL

(All prices are in New Turkish Lira)

Edu in the First Eleven of the Brazilian National Team

Edu in the First Eleven of the Brazilian National Team
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

The Brazilian stopper of Fenerbahce took his place in the starting eleven against Mexico, the game which Brazil won 3-1. Edu had been called up to the National Team by Dunga due to his consistently successful performance this year, and he was on the field right from the start this time.

Edu gave a solid performance against Mexico, and almost got himself on the scoresheet in the second half, when he headed Ronaldinho's corner kick towards the goal, but the Mexico goalkeeper pulled off a miraculous save and swatted the ball aside.

The winning goals came from C. C. Kleber, Kaka, and Afonso for Brazil, and Cacho score Mexico's only goal. Blumer was sent off with a red card towards the end of the game.

Edu has made us all proud by representing Fenerbahce in the Brazilian National Team. I would like to congratulate him, and wish him a long and successful career for both Fenerbahce and the National Team.

"This Team Will Be Successful, With Or Without Me"

"This Team Will Be Successful, With Or Without Me"
Translated and Edited By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Last year, when Rustu was injured and Volkan was not his usual self, Fenerbahce fans were suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of despair. Then, just at the right time, a forgotten player stepped up, and his performance and professionalism has been applauded by us ever since. This savior was Serdar Kulbilge, the 27 year-old goalkeeper of Fenerbahce.

" I will go into a check-up tomorrow, and the doctors will decide if an operation is necessary based on the results of it. Fenerbahce is destined for success, with or without my help. I will always be a part of this team, even if I am not physically present on the field" said an adamant Serdar, in an answer to a question about his return date.

" At the start of the season, we made a statement as the goalkeepers of Fenerbahce; we said each and every one of us was ready to take his spot on the field if it was needed. I have been injured, and this injury pained me more because I was not able to keep my promise at the beginning of the season. But it is a well known fact that my brother (used to mean " a very close friend" in Turkish) Volkan is a really good keeper. He has given some very successful performances in my absence. I believe in him, and support him 100%. This year, there is a very special atmosphere in the team. The motivation level is really high. We are all very determined to succeed in the Champions League. This season, it will be different: We will be the ones who eliminate their opponents and go up to the next level." The only thing I can add is: We believe in all of you Serdar, and we know that every individual who wears the Fenerbahce colours will do his utmost for the team.

In an answer to another question about his injury: "Everyone in the team, especially the goalkeepers have been very supportive during my injury period. They keep my moral high, and make me want to get back to training and doing my best as soon as possible. I would like to thank them all for everything they have done for me." This positive atmosphere in the team is very important in my opinion. A group of professionals who solely do their jobs is much less likely to succeed than a team of friends, who help, support and understand each other. I am sure these close ties will bear fruit in the coming days.

On the topic of Zico: " I was the 3rd goalkeeper of this team, after Rustu and Volkan. Zico is such a good manager that he did not forget me since there were two keepers before me. On the contrary, he motivated me, kept me training for the future, and thanks to his support, today I am the primary goalie of Fenerbahce. I have to especially acknowledge Zico's support in this; when Zico is in charge, you know that if a player works hard and does his best, he will definitely get his chance in the first eleven. He always delivers upon his promises and awards your hard work with a spot on the field. Since he was a player himself in the past, he is very just in these issues." What can I say, I hope everyone who has been criticizing Zico as a bad manager will read these comments.

Finally, a word from Serdar to the fans: "I would like to especially emphasize this: I have not been able to deliver upon the promise I made at the beginning of this season, and this makes me very sad. I owe it to the fans to do my best, and if they can be patient until I recover, I will definitely deliver upon my promise. I would like to ask only one thing from the fans, and this goes for every player of our team: The worst thing for a player is being booed by the fans you are trying to make happy. So if the fans want the best for the team, they should stop these destructive acts. It is not helpful at all, and it is a huge blow for everyone on the team to see one of their own getting booed on the field." This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I can never understand how a fan can boo or curse his/her own team. Those are OUR players on the field. Our only duty as fans in the stadium is to be supportive. This should not be that hard. Please, I agree 100% with Serdar: Keep the negative atmosphere off Sukru Saracoglu.

(photo courtesy of Article translated from the original Turkish on

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rumours: Episode 1

Rumours: Episode 1
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

When the transfer window ended about a week ago, many fans were relieved; relieved because they thought that they would get a break from the unending stream of transfer rumours. However, this hope was short-lived, as the news centers already began to spread (or in some cases, fabricate) rumours of the "January Plan of Fenerbahce". I will be personally sifting through the various news sources and bringing you the "rumours that could actually be true" in the form of a "Transfer Saga". And now, I present to you: Episode 1.

One early bird for the January transfer window is, an online news site in Turkish. According to them, Fenerbahce has already agreed for the transfer of Fatih Tekke in January, since the Russian season ends in November and Tekke is reported as being unhappy at Zenith. The fee for the transfer is believed to be around 6 million euros, plus Tekke's wages. Considering the fact that normally denies any rumour that is not based on some kind of a truth, and that Tekke transfer rumours have been going for a long time now, it is arguably safe to believe this news. I myself also think that Fenerbahce spent a lot of effort in trying to make a deal with Zenith about Tekke, but it did not go through because Zenith did not want to sell Tekke on a loss, therefore demanded at least 7.5 million euros for his transfer. With the end of their season, it is safe to assume that they will go down a bit on the price, since Tekke is not getting any younger.

The same article goes on to claim that Fenerbahce also agreed a verbal deal with Kayserispor for the transfer of the much in demand right winger Mehmet Topuz, however this is less likely, since Kayserispor President went as far as hanging banners in the city of Kayseri during the summer transfer window, declaring that neither Gokhan Unal nor Mehmet Topuz was for sale. But, you never know what Fenerbahce might pull off, as proven in the past.

Let us wait and see how events unfold during the period leading up to the January transfer window.

Turkiye Bounces Back with 3-0 Win

Turkiye Bounces Back with 3-0 Win
By Nathan L. Redd

Facing a must-win situation on Wednesday, Turkiye rebounded from their international slump with a 3-0 win over Group C rivals Hungary. Fatih Terim's squad played a good first half of futbol with opportunities to score, but they couldn't connect on their shots to take the lead. The home crowd was getting restless as Turkiye and Hungary were knotted at 0-0 going into halftime.

The second half was a different story, with the Turks taking command. Hungary's Gera picked up a red card less than twenty minutes into the second half and with only ten men, Turkiye took control. Gokhan found the back of the net in the 68th minute sending the crowd at Inonu Stadium in Istanbul into a frenzy. Four minutes later, Fenerbahce star put the home team up by two with a solid shot past Hungary goalkeeper Fulop. Hungary could never recover, and Turkiye thoroughly dominated the second half. Halil Altintop added to the scoreline in stoppage time, giving Turkiye a much-needed 3-0 win.

Turkiye held a commanding time of possession over Hungary, controlling the ball 69% to Hungary's 31%. Turkiye took eight shots, with four of them on target. Hungary, on the other hand only tested Turkiye's goal once. Turkiye also had nine corner kicks, compared to only four for Hungary.

Turkiye's performance wasn't the only good news on the day. Fatih Terim's squad received some help in Group C, as Greece and Norway drew 2-2. Moldova also holds a slim 1-0 lead over Bosnia-Herzegovina as time winds down in their match. With the win, Turkiye now moves back into second place in Group C with 17 points. Greece still leads with 19 points, and Norway sits in third place also with 17 points. Bosnia-Herzegovina is fourth with 13 points, followed by Hungary, Malta, and Moldova.
For more photos of Turkiye vs. Hungary, check out Hurriyet's photo gallery at

Captain Alex Gives His Views

Captain Alex Gives His Views
Translated And Edited By Ozgur R. Nazilli

"Unfortunately, even though he won the Championship two years in a row, Daum was always criticized. Now, the same thing is happening to Zico." wrote the 30 year old Captain of Fenerbahce in his website, He was, as usual, disturbed by the unending stream of criticisms that follow Fenerbahce anywhere the team goes.

"There is no ending in sight to these criticisms. When one of them stops, the other one takes over. This was the case with Daum, and now Daum is gone and Zico took over, however the criticisms did not stop, just rearranged themselves to Zico. Despite all of this, Daum won 2 Championships, and Zico won the title in his very first year. This year, one of our biggest goals was to qualify for the Champions League, and we did. So the goals are being fulfilled one by one. Nevertheless, Zico keeps being criticized. We did not make a good start to the league, but there are a lot of games ahead of us. It is hard being a manager anywhere in the world. But it is especially difficult in Brazil and Turkey" was his way of looking at things.

I must say, it is hard not to agree with his views. Unfortunately, the Turkish media and the sports writers can be very unforgiving at times.

Hopefully, Fenerbahce and Zico will prove the people who do not believe in them wrong soon enough. We, as the fans, believe in them.

(Article translated from the Turkish version at The original Portuguese article can be found at

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A General Look At Fenerbahce

A General Look At Fenerbahce
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

I find it both fascinating and exciting that Fenerbahce, a Turkish team, is attracting international attention. Fenerbahce Worldwide is a perfect testament to it. This I’m sure is the first step to the ultimate goal of becoming a worldwide First-Class team. I’m using the word “worldwide”, because we all know that Fenerbahce IS the best Turkish team.

So, for my first article, I chose a very “cliché” discussion topic that I’m sure everyone has utilised at least once or twice in their lives: Fenerbahce is not achieving its full potential… Why? What can be done better? What is needed to realize our international goals? This article is definitely not to say “Zico, go home!” or “If only they would make me the manager!” it is just intended as a light-hearted and a friendly “constructive criticism” first article, in the days that Fenerbahce does not have any official games.

Arthur Antunes Coimbra, or Zico as we know him, is a legendary footballer, definitely one of the best footballers of all time. No one argues against that, and no one can. However, is he at least as good with the chic suit as he was with the jersey?

There are as many opinions on “What is not going as it should be with Fenerbahce?” as there are fans, which is a lot. Therefore, I am not going to write down then discuss each and every one of them. However, let us summarize the 5 major ones:

1) “Zico is what is wrong with this team!”

2) “Deivid and Kezman, off with their heads!”

3) “Even three-year-olds can see that this team should play with two strikers, not one!”

4) “The team is lacking in fitness, therefore they cannot play fast!”

5) “The transfer policy of this team is all wrong. Even I could do better!”

I present this list of the “Big Five” to you. I will not comment on them individually, but rather go into my personal opinion, which will probably be all-encompassing.

It is true that Zico is not the type of the manager that Turkey is used to. The executive boards of the Turkish teams tend to prefer more animated and aggressive coaches (Yılmaz Vural or Fatih Terim, for example). They tend to jump up and down at the sideline, reflect their every emotion on their faces, and give aggressive press conferences after the games. Therefore, it is understandable for the Turkish community to not accept Zico instantly. However, as time passed by and we got to see Zico in more and more varied situations, I have to say that I developed a respect for him and his style. He is never in a panic, blaming this person or that person. He is never rude or overly aggressive. He has a father-son type of a relationship with the players, which helps them do their trade in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. These are some of the traits that everyone should applaud him for. Yet, he has his faults…

I will not criticize his tactical knowledge, because I do not think that mine surpasses his. However, I would like to point out two crucial mistakes of his (again, in my opinion). First of all, Zico did not get the chance to do it this year due to his injury, but playing Appiah as a right winger is a BIG mistake. We all watched him during his first season with Fenerbahce, and instantly loved him for his strength, attitude to win, and passion. Then, we watched him 2006-2007 season. An average winger, who loses the ball once too often, and doesn’t have anything special to his game. Now, would you be so kind to point out the 5 differences between the two pictures? In short: Appiah makes a perfect Defensive Midfielder, Appiah does NOT make a right winger.

Secondly: Math + Kezman + striker position. One striker plus one Kezman equals GOOD. One Kezman by himself equals BAD. He even himself said that he would be much more efficient if he was to play alongside another striker. I know that it is wrong for players to make statements to the press and complain about the team’s tactics, but if it goes to that, especially with someone as reserved and intelligent as Kezman. We have seen how well he can perform when he is “fed” by a partner or partners at PSV Eindhoven. For people who do not know, he was awarded the “Top Scorer” title on 5 different occasions, 3 in Eredivisie, once in the Yugoslav Prva Liga, and in 2004 UEFA Cup. Therefore, he at least deserves a month or two of trial as part of a striker duo, preferably paired with a tall and strong, “can take a hit” kind of a striker.

I know this has been a long article, but I just want to brush up on some less important points before I end the article:

1) Deivid: Yes or No? Yes… Come back in a year and hit me hard if he proves me wrong, but I’m pretty sure that he will perform well this year.

2) İlhan, Gökhan Gönül, CKR (Collin Kazım), Vederson, Ali Bilgin, Yasin? All very good transfers in my opinion, because I am all for buying young and talented players, and nurturing them. If they work out, great, if not, you can sell them at a profit to other teams.

3) Carlos? What is there to say? I must admit that I wasn’t 100% on board when the rumours started, but after seeing him with the team, I can easily admit that I was wrong. He is “the” perfect professional. He works hard, helps others, never stops fighting, and most important of all, he still wants victories, even though his career is full of them. He has been very valuable so far, and I am sure he will be even more so in the months to come.

4) What tactic should Fenerbahce use? 4-2-2-2. I know it looks weird but 4 defenders, 2 defensive midfielders, 2 attacking midfielders, and 2 strikers looks like our best bet for the European games:

Goalie: Serdar

Defense (Right to left): Onder, Lugano, Edu, R. Carlos

Defensive Midfielder: Appiah, Aurelio

Attacking Midfielder: Deivid, Alex

Striker: Kezman, Semih (Or Colin Kazim Richards)

For the Turkish League, one defensive midfielder could be exchanged for a third attacking midfielder. In the Turkish League, what matters is attacking. Au contraire, European games call for a solid defence, and only then an attack, supported by the defensive players.

I tried going over as many topics as possible, all the while trying to keep the article a decent length. I know I have only criticised the team in this article, but that was the whole point. Do not take this to mean that there is nothing that I am pleased with this year. Actually, I believe that the team is on a good road. However, I wanted to write and article on what could be improved, not what is already good. We have a saying in Antu, the largest Fenerbahce fan website: Hep Destek Tam Destek, which roughly translates into “Always Support Complete Support”. Therefore, I tried to be constructive even in my criticisms. We all want the best for Fenerbahce, and I am one of those who believes in criticism can be helpful, as long as we don’t overdo it and hurt the ones we are trying to help in the process.

Ozgur “Oz” Nazilli