Monday, May 27, 2019

Goztepe 2-1 Ankaragücü

Ankaragücü lost 2-1 at Goztepe which means the Izmir side will stay in the Super Lig while Bursaspor are relegated.

Team - Korcan, Kitsiou, Alihan, Pazdan, Cebrail, Moke, Canteros, Scarione, Ilhan, Sacko, Orgill

Goztepe took the lead through an Alpastan header in the first half before Pazdan equalised for Ankaragücü.

It looked like we were heading for a draw which would have kept Bursaspor up who were leading at Malatyaspor. But Goztepe were awarded a penalty after Cebrail hand balled in the box. Up stepped Deniz Kadah to make it 2-1 and start the celebrations in Izmir.

Now we await what the summer transfer window brings for Ankaragücü and we will have all the latest news here.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A season in the Turkish Capital with Ankaragücü!



It’s exactly 10 years since I started following Ankaragücü after deciding one night to make my casual interest in Turkish football more interesting by choosing a team to follow. Most people would have opted for one of the Istanbul or holiday resort teams but when I came across this blog and saw the reports from a fellow Scot and Brit I decided to get in touch, and that was that. 

Since then I have been over to Ankara 6 times, and I’m planning my next trip in September when the new Super Lig season starts. As a Rangers season ticket holder, I’ve like many of my fellow fans had to endure some tough times, with the club being demoted to the bottom tier of Scottish football, ripped apart by corrupt criminals and kicked from pillar to post by politicians and our enemies. 

Thankfully Rangers are back on the ascendence and things are starting to look  ore optimistic for the future. The same unfortunately can’t be said for Ankaragücü. The club has suffered a similar fate to Rangers, dropping down the leagues, the victims of corrupt and criminal activity that almost put the club out of business 6 years ago. Every player left the club, there was no electricity or water for the youth players who lived at the complex and had to sleep with 2 blankets just to keep warm.

After a spell of 5 years in the lower leagues, Ankaragücü finally made it back to the big League, clinching promotion from Lig 1 last season. For most clubs, the extra revenue would be a welcome opportunity for progression and signal the start of the end of some financial problems. This is Ankaragücü however, and we take a look at the 2018/19 season and the remarkable achievements of Mustafa Kaplan considering the adversity he faced on a daily basis.

İsmail Kartal guided the club to the Super Lig having finished 2nd in Lig 1 the following season. His preparations for the return to the Super Lig were what you would expect for an amateur club. Having played at the 19 Mayis Stadium for a large part of their history, it was announced that it was being knocked down and the club would move to a new stadium. The issue was that the new stadium still hadn’t been built which left the club homeless.

Ankaragücü also had a transfer ban which meant they couldn’t sign any new players until that was lifted. The club only played 2 pre season games due to not having enough players to compete in competitive matches. With only days remaining until the new season began, Ankaragücü announced that they lifted the transfer ban and would be playing at Yenikent Stadium which is in the outskirts of Ankara with dreadful public transport facilities. 

New signings such as Mustapha El Kabir, Youness Mokhtar, Thiago Pinto, Thievy Bifouma, Alessio Cerci, Ricardo Faty, Bakary Kone, Thomas Heurtaux, Yalcin Ayhan and Thievy Bifouma all signed on but their were major concerns with the club having no pre season and the first game of the season was against champions Galatasaray at home.

Ankaragücü put up a brave fight against Galatasaray in front of a sold out Yenikent Stadium. They took the lead through El Kabir but Galatasaray came back to win 3-1 after the home side ran out of steam and the match fitness started to show.

The following week Ankaragücü won their first Super Lig game since relegation 6 years previous with a fantastic 2-0 win at Alanyaspor. They followed that up with a 2-2 draw at home against a good Trabzonspor side, before losing 2-0 at Kasimpasa. The team would then go on a run winning 4 out of their next 7 games taking them up into the Top 5 and even had some fans dreaming of Europe.  
The run included a fantastic 3-1 win at Fenerbahce with İsmail Kartal receiving  standing ovation from the Fenerbahce fans having previously managed the Istanbul side.

Sadly, that would be the end of the run for the club, as in typical Ankaragücü fashion, when the good times come, the bad times are just around the corner.

Yenikent Stadium is owner by Ankara municipal and it’s their responsibility to keep the stadium and pitch maintained. The pitch was neglected and they refused to fix it which meant the TFF decided it wasn’t acceptable to play on and Ankaragücü would have to play their home games somewhere else. Those locations were decided a couple of days before each game and were in Kayseri and Afyon which are 4-5 hours outside of Ankara.

On top of being homeless as the clubs new stadium wouldn’t be ready till January, players were starting to terminate their contracts due to unpaid wages. The club would go on to lose their next 9 league games and were kicked out of the Turkish Cup by Lig 3 side Bordumspor.

Expensive signings such as Alessio Cerci who was a former Italian International and Atletico Madrid winger didn’t work out, and then there was the fall out between the management team and Ismail Kartal.

After another Ankaragücü defeat, Ismail Kartal had a go publicly at the Ankaragücü board, saying if they can’t  pay the players then go. Kartal was held in high regard by the clubs fans as he refused to take a house paid by the club and instead stayed at the club facility to save money. He also guided the club back to the Super Lig in his first season in charge. Sadly that was to be the end of Kartal as he was fired and replaced by Mustafa Kaplan who was back for his 3rd spell as manager.

I took a trip over to Ankara just before all the unrest and met with the club who gave me some insite into the financial problems they have. Ankaragücü weren’t receiving any of their prize money for winning and drawing matches as it wasn’t withheld by the TFF who were paying off old debts left by Melih Gokcek the clubs former president and main culprit for all the financial issues at the club.

Things would get bad to worse as another rift, this time between start player and top scorer Mustapha El Kabir and management took place after one of the games, where it was claimed El Kabir punched one of the staff members and refused to play for the club. El Kabir has all the talent in the world, but his attitude will see him move from club to club and see him in trouble more often than not.

The January transfer window summed up Ankaragücü, 12 players in with 12 moving out and all new signings were made on the last day of the transfer window.

Mustafa Kaplan wasn’t faced with the impossible task of bringing a full new team together fighting relegation and make them a team who were up for the fight for survival. Tyler Boyd, Michal Pazdan, Stelios Kitsiou, Hadi Sacko, Dever Orgill, Ante Kulusic, Tito Canteros, Moke and Zaur Sadaev were some of the players the club signed and they made an impact right from the start. 

The club finally moved into the new Eryaman Stadium which holds just over 20,000 and is very close to the pitch which makes for an excellent atmosphere.

A brilliant 3-0 win over Kasimpasa on the opening night where both Orgill and Sacko opened their account saw the club go on a 5 match unbeaten run and move clear of the danger zone. Tyler Boyd and Orgill in particular formed a fantastic partnership scoring and creating in each match. Boyd a 24 year old winger with an end product, and Orgill a quick and powerful striker who led the line well fighting for every ball.

Important draws against Fenerbahce and Rizespor and a brilliant 2-0 win at Kayserispor took Ankaragücü closer to safety and the team was playing and exciting brand of football along the way. 

The problem for Ankaragücü, was that other teams at the bottom such a season Goztepe, Bursaspor and Erzerumspor were all winning too which meant the team weren’t out of danger from the drop. Some of the results and performances had started to drop and again the team suffered some bad news when key duo Thiago Pinto and Djedje terminated their contracts due to unpaid wages. Both players were big assists for the club with Besiktas and Trabzonspor both interested in signing them. Both players left and Ankaragücü weren’t entitled to anything.

Ankaragücü would face Sivasspor a time home with 2 games remaining knowing a point would guarantee survival. A defeat however would send the team closer to the drop zone and with Djedje and Pinto both leaving it meant others would need to step up.

In came Cebrail for his first start and Moke came back into the starting line up too. The fans created the usual intimidating atmosphere for the last home game of the season and kept their undefeated record at the stadium with a 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Sacko, Boyd and Canteros.

It was an emotional ending to the season for Ankaragücü manager Mustafa Kaplan who had tears in his eyes. After the game he spoke of the sacrifices he and his team had made in the most difficult conditions. The players hadn’t been paid their wages in the last 3-6 months but still fought for the jersey and gave their all. They sacrificed getting injured and having no contract at the end of the season, and no income for their families. All for Ankaragücü, and they were thanked by the fans who saw their heroes clinch their place in the Super Lig for next season.

It wasn’t all positive at the Sivasspor match. One of the clubs fan groups chanted for the resignation of the clubs President due to a fall out. The club should fan groups are funded by the club and apparently they asked for more money that was turned down.

The club today also confirmed they have paid the outstanding wages to the players and will now look to strength for next season. The clubs main Sponsor MKE failed to pay their sponsorship money and the Municipal also failed to support the club. As usual, Ankaragücü are a club supported by the fans from the slums and will be on their own again.

Finally, Altay Bayindir who came through the clubs youth academy, became the youngest ever captain in the Super Lig at the age of 20. He look s to have played his last game for the club as Galatasaray and Trabzonspor are set to fight it out for the Turkish U21 International.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

ANKARAGUCU PRESERVE SUPER LEAGUE STATUS !




Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Ankaragucu swept Sivas aside last night in Ankara with a sustained attacking performance throughout which secured their status as a Super League team for next season.

Despite being without three key players (Djedje, Faty and Pinto) who left the Club last week for financial reasons, it didn’t seem to affect the team as much as anticipated.   It was a controlled performance from start to finish and a consolation goal by Sivas half way through the 2nd half didn’t have any bearing on the final outcome.

ANKARAGUCU       3                 Sivasspor       1

Team – Korcan, Kitsiou, Kulusic, Pazdan, Cebrail, Moke, Canteros, Boyd, Ilhan, Sacko and Orgill

Substitutes – Moulin, Sedat and Sadev

Maniac Kanka Harun, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon and I met-up at the Sumer Cafe in Kizilay full of optimism, but I was wondering yesterday if we would end up like this photo from yesteryear ??!!



My quote last night pre-match was (with all due respect to Sivas)  ............’if we cant’ beat Sivas we don’t deserve to be in the Super League !!’          Harun’s quote was more measured ............’I’ll settle for one point’ !!



Ankaragucu went straight into attack from the kick-off when Orgill was put through on the left channel, but with two Ankaragucu attackers free on the right he decided to shoot, but his shot was blocked for a corner.

Not long after that, Boyd was put through but he got tangled-up with defenders and the ball was cleared.   Then we witnessed some great skill from Sacko on the right, but he couldn’t get his cross in due the close attention of defenders.

The break through came in the 23rd minute when Man of the Match, Sacko, picked up a pass just outside the box in the centre and sent in a left foot shot to the right corner with the goalkeeper helpless.    Smiles all round and sighs of relief.    I said prior to KO that to go in 1-0 up at HT would be imperative to give them the impetus in the 2nd half !!

Ilhan and Boyd had other ideas !      On the half hour mark a sweeping attack on the right when Ilhan chased the ball down to the touch line and played the cut-back expertly for the inrushing and unmarked Boyd to sweep the ball in for No2.

Approaching half time and Korcan had to be smart to cut-out a dangerous Sivas attack which could have proved costly.

On the half time whistle and Canteros had a free kick just outside the box but his shot was sent over.



Ankaragucu started the 2nd half as they had in the 1st half on full out attack.   It was only 2 minutes old when Ilhan almost scored from a deft flick on the right at a difficult angle, but his attempt found the side netting.

However, 3 minutes later and Ankaragucu put the match to bed.    It was a sweeping move which saw Boyd’s shot saved, but Canteros was in the right place to pick up the rebound from the save and send in a well controlled side-foot shot to the left with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

At this point, the cameraman zoomed in on our Coach, Mustafa Kaplan, who was shedding tears on the touchline.    Tears of happiness yes, but probably also tears of relief that he would not be the man to take Ankaragucu back down to The Championship League !!!

Half way through the 2nd half and Sivas grabbed a consolation goal which was down to Ankaragucu’s defenders day-dreaming.   A cross came in from the left to the far post where 2 attackers were lurking unmarked with the Ankaragucu defence oblivious to their presence.   All credit to Braz who headed in with the unprotected Korcan flapping at air.

Ankaragucu didn’t allow that goal to alter the pattern of play.    It could almost have been 4 when Moulin’s shot hit the post with the goalkeeper beaten.   The rebound was picked up by Sacko who’s shot was miraculously saved and tipped over for a corner.

15 minutes to go and the referee made his one big mistake of the evening when he waved play on after Sacko was unceremoniously brought down inside the box.   He really should have consulted his VAR for that incident !!!

10 minutes to go and Korcan saved a certain goal when he got down smartly to save in the centre.

Ankaragucu was running the clock down in the last few minutes but Orgill almost made it 4 when his shot went just past the post.

So, Ankaragucu travel to Izmir next weekend for the final match against Goztepe and can relax in the knowledge that Super League footie is preserved for next season.   However, the result of that match will have a bearing on the relegation issue.

Akhisar and Erzurum look certain to go down, but it is still unclear if Goztepe or Bursa will join them.   If Ankaragucu can beat Goztepe and Bursa can beat Malatya then Goztepe will go down, but if not, then it may be curtains for our brother team Bursa.

I guess lots of the Bursa Teksas Group will travel to Izmir to support Ankaragucu !!!

Well done Ankaragucu and let’s hope that the Management Team solve the present financial problems before the resumption of League action next season !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, May 19, 2019

GENCLERBIRLIGI FALL AT THE LAST HURDLE !




Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

It has been a two horse race for most of the season in the Spor Toto Championship League between Gencler and Denizli, and unfortunately Gencler fell at the last obstacle to hand the Championship Winners Medals to Denizli.   However, as I said last week, both teams secured promotion back into the Super League, and congratulations to both teams.

Saturday -   Genclerbirligi       1          Adana Demirspor      2

                    Istanbulspor       2             Denizlispor            5

In mitigation of Gencler’s defeat, and as I said last week, Adana Demirspor was still in the hunt for a play-off place and came to Ankara to attack and win the match.   However, they needed Altinordu to lose, which they did against Giresun, and so secured 6th place and the last play-off slot.

The other 3 teams in the play-off mix will be Hatay, Osman.....spit....li and Gazisehir.

So, we still don’t know if there will be an Ankara Derby next season, but that may be known tomorrow night (Monday) when Ankaragucu will be at home to Sivas.   Hopefully Ankaragucu can take all 3 points without having to travel to Goztepe for the last match the following weekend needing any points.

It will surely be a tense match tomorrow and I’ll have that report up here on Tuesday.

Well done Gencler for a quick return to the Super League.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ankaragücü vs Sivasspor match preview!



Ankaragücü have prepared for this weeks vital match with Sivasspor with a week of chaos and again its due to the clubs financial situation. Key duo Brice Dja Djedje and Thiago Pinto have both terminated their contracts with the club due to unpaid wages, and former player Michael Klukowski has reported the club to FIFA due to unpaid wages from 2011.

If the club don’t pay Klukowski his 160K Euros plus 500K compensation then they will face a 6 point deduction next season. Mehmet Yiginer has stated that the club will pay the money immediately. Djedje and Pinto who are two of the clubs biggest assets are now free to sign with other clubs and both have reportedly held talks with Besiktas.

It’s a huge blow for the club losing two players of their quality, but also means they won’t receive any income from player sales with both valued at 3 million Euros by the club.

Ankaragücü are also putting themselves in a dangerous situation of making it difficult to sign new players with the reputation of failing to pay players their wages. Top scorer Dever Orgill has also reported the club to FIFA as he is also waiting on his wages to be paid. 

The club only need 1 point from their last two games, but with all the turnmoil going on, you wouldn’t put any money on them achieving it. It now means Mehmet Sak will come in at Left back, while Sedat, Moke, Moulin and Canteros will take up the midfield positions.

Sivasspor themselves are on a run of poor form with only 1 win in their last 11 games. Since Robinho moved to Basaksehir in January they have found it difficult but still have players such as Diabate and Emre Kilinc who are capable of hurting you if you aren’t on your game. 

Ankaragücü will be looking for a bit of revenge from the last time the two sides met when a Robinho inspired Sivas won 4-0 comfortably at home. Only 1 point separates the two sides when they meet in Ankara on Monday night. A defeat for Ankaragücü would be unthinkable, let’s hope they don’t let us down and a packed home crown can spur them onto victory!

Monday, May 13, 2019

GENCLERBIRLIGI SECURE PROMOTION !!!




Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

With only one more match to play, Gencler and Denizli confirmed their promotions to the Super League on Saturday.     Congratulations to both teams.

Gazisehir      0         GENCLERBIRLIGI      2

Denizlispor      6          Karabuk       0

However, who will be crowned champions has still to be decided.    Gencler is one point ahead of Denizli, but have an inferior goal difference of 9, so next weekend’s matches will be crucial for both as they fight for these bragging rights.

Gencler will be at home against Adana Demirspor who are still in the hunt for a play-off place, so it will not be an easy match for Gencler.

Denizli is away to Istanbul who are in mid-table and nothing to play for, except their pride.

The date and KO time has still to be announced, but I will put them in the comments section of this report when it is known.

As always, watch this space for the outcome of this intriguing climax to the season.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Başakşehir 2-1 Ankaragücü match report!



Ankaragücü dropped further into the danger zone this weekend after a disappointing 2-1 defeat at joint top Başakşehir. The team were dealt a blow earlier in the day when Altay was ruled out due to a shoulder injury and would be replaced with Korcan.

Team - Korcan, Kitsiou, Pazdan, Kulusic, Pinto, Sedat, Moulin, Canteros, Sakho, Boyd, Orgill

Subs - Altay, Furkan, Mehmet, Alihan, Ilhan, Oscar, Ender, Aydin, Zaur, Kaan

Başakşehir started the game strongly and almost took the lead after 6 minutes but for a brilliant save from Korcan. 

It was all Başakşehir, but Ankaragücü took the lead against the run of play with a fantastic counter attack. Sakho broke free down the left hand side, before playing the ball infield for Orgill, the Jamaican picked out Boyd in the box who cut inside before firing past Mert to make it 1-0 Ankaragücü much to the delight of the travelling fans.

Most of the game was being played in the middle of the pitch without either side creating anything of note. Napoleoni went closest for the home side as he cut infield before firing over the bar. Ankaragücü were defending very well and breaking up all the Başakşehir attacks.

Into the second half and a disastrous start for Ankaragücü as Bajic made it 1-1. It did look offside but the referee checked with VAR and awarded the goal.

Fifteen minutes later Başakşehir went in front after Korcan could only spill Visca’s shot but Robinho was on hand to make it 2-1 for the home side.

There were a couple of half chances for both sides before the full time whistle but in the end Başakşehir held on for the 3 points and it now leaves Ankaragücü 4 points ahead of the relegation zone with 2 games remaining.

Up next is a home match with Sivasspor next Monday night in what will the biggest game of the season for the club. A win or possibly a draw can secure the teams place in the Super Lig next season.