Monday, October 15, 2018

Ankaragücü vs Yeni Malatyaspor match preview!

A huge game for Ankaragücü this weekend as they host Yeni Malatyaspor at the Yenikent Stadium in Ankara. After 2 successive defeats Ankaragücü will be looking to bounce back with a victory in front of their own fans.

It’s  been a turbulent couple of weeks at Ankaragücü both on and off the field, and the club have again reminded us that, with Ankaragücü you are only days away from bad news or revelations about the clubs fiancial situation.

After last weeks 1-0 defeat at Bursaspor, İsmail Kartal said in his after match interview that no manager in the Super Lig has more difficult challenges. Understandably he pointed to the teams injury situation with Heurtaux, Djedje, El Kabir, Mokhtar, Moulin, Cerci, and Putsila all either injured or having had some issues with fitness.

More worryingly Kartal revealed that the clubs players haven’t been paid their wages due to the club having to pay off old debts from the previous Melih Gokcek regime. He had a bit of a go at the foreign players stating that if they don’t get paid they don’t give everything for the jersey.

We can admire the commitment of the Turkish players who still give everything for the club when these situations arise. However I think it’s disrespectful to the foreign players having a go at them and questioning their commitment when they haven’t been paid. We are a Super Lig professional club and when these players signed their contract the minimum they would expect is to be paid their wages.

It will be interesting to see how the team responds against Malatyaspor on Sunday afternoon. Some good news for Kartal is that El Kabir, Djedje and Mokhtar should all be fit and available for selection. Alessio Cerci has also stated that he is feeling good and ready to play. As I mentioned on another post, the Italian winger could be a huge player for the club if he shows the right commitment and stays fit.

Malatyaspor have had a decent start to the season and sit 8th just above Ankaragücü. They have already defeated  Fenerbahce and Goztepe this season and drawn with Basaksehir. They draw 4-4 with Sivasspor last weekend in a thrilling match and have some talented players such as Khalid Boutaib, Danijel Aleksic and Arturo Mina. Malatyaspor have enough quality in their side to take all 3 points and will be coming to Ankara looking for the win.

For details on how you can watch the match with the Kanka Group please see the comments section as Jim will have the details.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Basaksehir sign Ankaragucu wonderkids!

Ankaragucu duo Emre Kaplan and Enes Karakus have both signed with Basaksehir for undisclosed fees much to the disappointment of the clubs fans and coaches. Both youngsters have come throigh the Ankaragucu youth academy and are tipped to have big futures. 

Enes has started the season with 8 goals in 8 games and was also captain of the youth team. With Ankaragucu finances uncertain at the moment it has come as somewhat of a surprise to loose 2 key talents who had the potential to break into the first team. Ankaragucu have a history of bringing through talent from their youth team but they will have to carry on without Emre and Enes and concentrate on the next set of talent for the time being.

Johannes Hopf shines for Ankaragücü!

When Genclerbirligi were relegated last season from the Turkish Super Lig, one man who could be forgiven for holding his head high is Swedish Goalkeeper Johannes Hopf. The 31 year old signed for Genclerbirligi back in 2015 from Hammarby spending 3 years with the Ankara outfit where he became a fans favourite due to his impressive form. Oz Kanka reported on many occasions where Hopf either saved the team from defeat or played his part in the team winning 3 points.

After relegation to Lig 1 last season, Ankaragücü moved swiftly to keep Hopf in the capital and offer him the opportunity of redemption and another shot in the Turkish Super Lig. Ankaragücü and Genclerbirligi training grounds are in the same location next door to each other which also gives Hopf and his family stability and no pun intended, but the chance to play in front of a big support.

For a Goalkeeper, playing with Ankaragücü this season in the Super Lig can either lift your career to the next stage, or leave them behind looking at a rebuild of reputation at their next club. Ankaragücü are fighting relegation and Hopf will be busy most afternoons as the team comes up against the top sides in Turkey.

Eight games into the season and Hopf has already become a key player for the club with some outstanding performances. Korcan Celikay for 2 years was a arguably Ankaragücü’s best player and led the club to 2 successive promotions. It came as a bit of a surprise when Ankaragücü signed Hopf, especially as Altay Bayindir the Turkey U21 International was also fighting for the Number 1 jersey.

The Ankaragücü management have been proven right with the signing of Hopf as the Swede leads the Turkish Lig with 4.4 saves per game. For a team fighting relegation those stats are vital and could be the difference between staying in the Super Lig, and the unthinkable relegation back to Lig 1.

At the age of 31, Hopf still has his best years ahead of him and the next step will be looking at a call up for the Swedish National team. If he continues his current form and helps the club stay in the Super Lig he will certainly be in contention and it will be well deserved.

Having watched him live in action last week in Bursa, the one area he needs to work on is coming for cross balls. He’s a fantastic shot stopper but if he can work on that side of his game it will help him reach his goal of playing for his country.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Alessio Cerci struggles to impress at Ankaragucu!

Alessio Cerci arrived at Ankaragucu in the summer as the clubs marquee signing. The 31 year old winger and former Italian international with 14 caps has played at the very top level with the likes of Roma, Udinese, Genoa and Atletico Madrid.

Cerci arrived at Ankaragucu without pre season training under his belt and was behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness. It was expected that he would take a couple of weeks to get up to speed, but 8 games into the season Cerci has failed to start a single game in the Super Lig, and has only 1 start to date overall which came in the Turkish Cup.

There is no doubting the flamboyant wingers ability. When he comes on and has the ball you can tell he is the most gifted technical player in the squad. The problem is that when the team doesnt have the ball he doesnt chase back or track his man, which leaves Erdem or Pinto exposed at the back depending on which side of the park he is playing.

Ismail Kartal instead has decided to favour the likes of Ilhan Parlak and Kenan Ozer who although are no where near the same level of ability as Cerci, they give everything in terms of of work rate when they are on the park.

The main goal for Ankaragucu this season is to avoid relegation. That requires every player to be giving everything while they are on the park. Over the last couple of games against Antalyaspor and Bursaspor, the team has been crying out for a creative spark or a bit of magic. Unfortunately for the majority of that time Cerci has been sitting on the bench.

Ankaragucu have paid good money to bring the Italian to the club and can be forgiven for expecting a bit more at this stage. With the international break here, it gives Ismail Kartal and his team the opportunity to work with Cerci and get him fit. He will be a key player for the team if he can reach the level of fitness required.  An attacking line of El Kabir, Bifouma, Mokhtar and Cerci is enough to see Ankaragucu finish in a respectable position this season, the club need all of them on there game though.

Cerci has come in for some criticism in the past due to his off field behavior, most recently with Fiorentina where is nightlife lifestyle and eating habits came into question. Ankara isn't exactly the nightlife capital of the world, but with plenty of nice restaurants and bars Ankaragucu fans could be forgiven for being concerned just how committed he is to the team and supporters.

This is a player who has played, scored and created goals in the Champions League, Serie A, La Liga and International Level with Italy. If Ismail Kartal can get him fit and consistently performing, he could be the difference between a successful season for Ankaragucu and a fight against relagation.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ankaragucu and Turkish Football run into more financial problems!

Turkish football clubs have historically run into severe financial problems due to being poorly run, corruption and trying to buy their way to success. Every season there are well supported clubs who either face bankruptcy, transfer bans, fines and a loss of their fan base who become disillusioned with how their beloved clubs are being run.

Clubs such as Karsiyaka, Kocaelispor, Sakaryaspor, Gaziantepspor, Altay, Diyarbakirspor, Mersin, Orduspor, Kayseri Erciyesspor and Ankaragucu have all hit rock bottom at some point due to crippling debts that have saw these clubs fall down the leagues with some having to reform as a new club such as Yeni Orduspor.

Ankaragucu against the odds fought against the plan by Melih Gokcek to bankrupt the club, and change the name of Ankaraspor to Ankaragucu in order to remove the clubs huge debts. The fans protested against this and took pride that Ankaragucu are one of Turkeys oldest clubs formed in 1910. They would rather play in the lower leagues with their history intact that reform as some new manufactured entity.

Mehmet Yiginer has along with his management team brought some stability to Ankaragucu and after 2 successive promotions, the club is now back in the Super Lig after a 6 year absence.

For the first 5-6 weeks of the season, things were going very well for the club, and only last Monday night they could have went 3rd with a win over Antalyaspor. Unfortunately injuries to a number of key players, left the team short of players and they have lost their last 2 games against Antalyaspor and Bursaspor.

Those defeats have led to manager Ismail Kartal advising the media that he is up against it as the players havent been paid wages, and this is causing a lot of unrest especially with the foreign players at the club.

I met with the club on Monday and asked why the players werent being paid. They advised that the club still has a lot of debt from the Melih Gokcek period at the club and are still paying off these debts. Any money the club are supposed to receive from TV Money, or the money for winning games or drawing in the league is being withheld by the TFF and used to pay off old debts. The club are working on paying the players ASAP but need to find new ways of bringing income into the club through local businessmen in Ankara.

Its not just Ankaragucu who have these financial problems, the majority of Turkish clubs have huge debts apart from the municipal teams such as Kasimpasa, Basaksehir and also Rizespor who are in a decent financial place.

Turkeys big clubs such as Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Besiktas, Bursaspor, and Trabzonspor all struggle to meet the financial fair play criteria with all with the exception of Besiktas having had some sort of ban over the last couple of years, Besiktas still have a restriction in place although not to the same level as the others.

With the Turkish Lira taking a hit at the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty within Turkish football. Galatasaray although League champions last season, and performing well in the Champions League so far. There debt was over 590 Million Euros, although they are still to receive over £300 million Euros in revenues. Fenerbahce announced their debt is at 620 million Euro, Trabzonspor 169 Million Euros and Besiktas 418 Million Euros.

The debts and restrictions on these clubs have led to a more competitive and exciting Super Lig, with teams dropping points on a more regular basis and anyone can beat anyone. Akhisar who were sitting at the bottom of the table handed Galatasaray their first defeat of the season a couple of weeks ago.

The problem for Turkish football though is that the more these debts rise, and the longer the transfer restrictions are in place, you are going to see an effect on the clubs results in Europe. Besiktas had a fantastic campaign in the Champions League last season flying the flag for Turkish football. Instead of strengthened the squad in the summer and progressing, Besiktas have been unable to do so and are playing in the Europa League this campaign. A loss last week in Malmo is a reflection on how these financial problems will impact Turkish Clubs.

One of Turkeys most well supported clubs Eskisehirspor find themselves at the foot of the table of the Turkish Championship (2nd Tier) and again this is due to their financial problems and a transfer ban which means they are playing with a youth team.

There is no quick fix as to how Turkish football can move forward. The clubs need to be more astute commercially and the TFF need to actually start doing their job and manage their membership clubs. If clubs are failing to pay players wages, they shouldn't be allowed to sign new players in the meantime as this only adds to the debt, unless a player is leaving and the new player isn't making the wage budget any higher. There needs to be an end also to the weekly fines the TFF hands out to its clubs due to fans swearing. A ludicrous decision with their member clubs in serious financial footing and they decide to fine clubs despite Passolig having been introduced.

The future of Ankaragucu also remains uncertain, this season is all about remaining in the Turkish Super Lig and building on that. Relegation is unthinkable.

Sunday, October 07, 2018



Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

It wasn’t just about going to Bursa to see a footie match.    The main item on the agenda was to welcome Bellshill Kanka Nadeem back to Ankara, not only for his 99th (or was it 100th ??!!) match, but for his first away match !

Nadeem flew in from Scotland last Friday morning and the ‘welcoming committee’ met him on Friday evening to discuss plans for our mega trip to Bursa.

The Kanka Group set-off for Bursa early on Saturday morning in our mini-bus.   Nadeem, Harun, Tansu, Ahmet, Osman, Kenan, Oguzhan, Gokhan and yours truly.    Unfortunately, Damon couldn’t join us due to illness and we wish him a speedy recovery.

We met other Ankaragucu tribunes en-route and there was a clamour form them to have a photo opportunity with Nadeem.

On one of our petrol stops we had the pleasure of meeting the famous actress and singer, Hulya Avsar, and after chatting to her for a while we had a photo taken with the great lady.

Approaching Bursa and there was the customary Police Check on all the Ankaragucu buses and it also gave us the opportunity to interact with the other tribunes again.   High Tech has come to Turkey when the Police used a drone to photograph everyone.   A rare, but interesting sight !

We arrived at the Stadium later than planned due to the fact that only two turnstiles were in operation for the two and half thousand travelling fans.   To use the word ‘chaos’ is perhaps an understatement, but despite fighting breaking out among the frustrated fans, the Police managed to regain control ....... eventually.   A scary moment !
At last we were able to enter the impressive Bursaspor Stadium but it was 5 minutes into the match.   Oh yes, the match !    However, I don’t intend to say too much about it, probably because Ankaragucu didn’t have one direct shot on goal all afternoon.   Okan in the Bursa goal could have been forgiven for falling asleep !!

No sooner had we taken our seat than the first Bursa goal arrived, but after heated requests from the Ankaragucu players, the referee consulted his TV Monitor and disallowed the goal !

As always, there was lots of friendly interaction between the different Ankaragucu tribunes and also the Bursa tribunes.

Unfortunately, the Ankaragucu striker, El Kabir, received an injury shortly after this which left Ilhan to lead the line.   This left Bifouma and Kenan to support him.   However, as I said above, there was not one direct shot on goal, and as we all know, Ilhan is not what we could call a prolific striker !!

The inevitable Bursa goal came in the 22nd minute and it was a goal worthy of winning any match.   A cross came in from the right to Umut Meras on the left who looped a header over Hopf who was perhaps too far off his line.

Ankaragucu’s defence was being overworked and special praise here for Alihan who was putting in some saving tackles to thwart the dangerous Bursa forwards.

It was more of the same in the 2nd half with Bursa looking the more likely to add another goal, but the Ankaragucu defence was just grateful to clear the ball anywhere out of the danger area.

Having said that, Ankaragucu did have three opportunities to equalise.    Firstly, there was a great frun down the left by Bifouma who’s pace was troubling the Bursa defenders.   However, his cross into the box had no takers and the ball was cleared.   Where was Ilhan I was asking ?!

Secondly, Cerci was put through on goal with a well timed pass and all he had to do was beat the goalkeeper.   However, with him being as slow as a cart-horse (no offence intended towards cart-horses !!) a defender easily sprinted past him to clear the danger.

Finally, Ilhan had the chance to be crowned a hero when he was put through on the right, but instead of shooting when well placed to do so, he cut the ball back straight to a Bursa defender !

Almost at the final whistle and Bursa managed to breach the Ankaragucu defence for the 2nd goal, but the goal was disallowed for what reason I know not !

Game over, and the Bursa players were then summoned to the Ankaragucu away end (minus olde boy, Unut Nayir, who jumped ship last season !) for applause and then there was another ‘love in’ between the Ankaragucu and Bursa supporters singing to each other.

Bursaspor    1                      ANKARAGUCU   0

Ankaragucu now slide into the bottom half of the league which heaps more pressure on Ismail Bey to have the team fully prepared for the next match at home on Sunday 21 October against Yeni Malatyaspor.

Before leaving the Stadium area, we bumped into Ankaragucu goalkeeper Altay and had a photo opportunity.


It was then off to Bursa City Centre for the kankas to enjoy some food and ‘refreshments’ in the company of our Bursa friends.

The journey back to Ankara was uneventful with exhaustion overtaking everyone on the bus ride back home.

So, Nadeem is still awaiting the chance to see Ankaragucu beat Bursa, but at least there is little chance that he will forget this trip, especially almost being sucked into The Battle of Bursa Stadium pre-match !!!

We wish him a safe journey back to Scotland on Monday as we begin the countdown for his next ‘home match’ !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

PS ............ Another great win for Genclerbirligi yesterday with a 1-0 win away to Altay.   Still undefeated and the Gencler rush to the title shows no sign of slowing down !!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Bursaspor vs Ankaragücü match preview!

It’s six years since we have saw one of Turkeys most unique spectacles in the Turkish Football calendar. A country plagued with football violence, and Tifo displays the match between Bursaspor and Ankaragücü brings a different side to the game, through friendship where both sets of fans sing each other’s songs and support each other apart from when they play against each other.

My second trip to Ankara was a home match against Bursaspor where we lost 5-1 at home. The Ankaragücü fans were unhappy with the teams performance and when goals 4 and 5 went in they cheered for Bursa. Not something us British fans can understand but there is so much history between the two clubs started by Abdulkerim Bayraktar, a Bursaspor fan who studied in Ankara and went to Ankaragücü games. After he passed away the two clubs formed a friendship that has stayed strong to this day.

The fortunes of both Bursaspor and Ankaragücü couldn’t be further apart over recent years. Bursaspor have won a Turkish Super Lig title, played champions league football and been a mainstay in Turkish football. Ankaragücü on the other hand have been relegated twice, promoted twice and had also sorts of financial problems.

After week 7 of the Super Lig, Ankaragücü are 5 points ahead of Bursaspor who are 2nd from bottom and have yet to win a game. They also have financial problems of their own all while things are starting to look up for Ankaragücü.

Bursaspor have struggled to score goals this season which has resulted in them drawing 5 and losing 2 of their first 7 games. They do however have Diafra Sakho the ex West Ham striker who is an excellent player when he is fit and will be their main dangerman in attack if he plays. Former Ankaragücü trio Umut Nayir, Onur Atasayer and Emre Tasdemir can also be called upon.

The two sides met in pre season in Bursa with Ankaragücü comfortably winning 2-0. A lot has changed since then and although they haven’t started the season well Bursaspor are more than capable of winning this match.

Ankaragücü can look to take advantage and try and play the Bursa crowd against their own team. They are already unhappy with how things are going and an early goal for Ankaragücü could make it difficult for the Bursa players to come back from as the crowd will be on their back.

Ankaragücü will be looking to get back to winning after a disappointing 1-0 loss against Antalyaspor last night at home. Ismail Kartal will be hoping to have Djedje, Moulin and Pinto back although it’s unlikely the later will be available.

The Kanka Group will be travelling to the match with tickets going on sale tomorrow. My flight is on Thursday afternoon which gets me in early Friday morning. Looking forward to seeing everyone again. See you soon guys


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

There can be no excuses for Ankaragucu’s inept performance last night when Ismail Bey fielded his strongest line-up with the exception of Pinto, who is perhaps injured.

As Harun said post-match, there were only two serious efforts from Ankaragucu on target during the match and both were well saved by the impressive Boffin in goal.   That statistic is unacceptable for what was a ‘home’ match !

ANKARAGUCU    0         Antalyaspor     1

Team – Hopf, Alihan, Erdem O, Sedat, Faty, Yalcin, Mehmet Sak, Putsila, Mokhtar, Bifouma and El Kabir.

Substitutes – Ilhan, Kenan and Cerci

The kankas met-up at The Anasonn Bar – Maniac Kanka Harun, Nurer Kanka, Kenan and Ufuk.    We were also joined by two of my previous High School students, Berkay and Ozgur.   Berkay is an Ankaragucu supporter and Ozgur supports Genclerbirligi !

Ankaragucu started brightly enough and almost scored in the 3rd minute.    Some nice short passing moves on the right resulted in the cross coming over, only for El Kabir to head his effort just past the post.

One minute later and Antalya gave a warning signal.   A blunder from Bifouma just outside the penalty area gifted the ball to an Antalya attacker who probably couldn’t believe his luck.   He evaded a tackle and his shot rebounded off the post and into Hopf’s hands.    A lucky escape for Ankaragucu !

There was a further scare for Ankaragucu 6 minutes later when a cross came in from the right but there were no takers and the ball drifted just past the left post.

The crucial goal came 8 minutes later when Antalya was awarded a free kick on the left just outside the penalty box.   Hakan sent in a low shot into the crowded penalty area which unbelievably evaded all the static Ankaragucu defenders and took a very slight deflection off ‘someone’ to deceive Hopf and in it went to put Antalya’s tails up !

Ankaragucu should have equalised in the 24th minute but Mokhtar’s effort was well saved by Boffin.    Mokhtar had picked up a loose ball from an Antalya defender’s mistake and took off with only Boffin to beat.    However, instead of curling his shot into the inviting space to the right of Boffin, he sent his shot straight at the goalkeeper who was able to parry it and put the ball out for a corner.   A golden opportunity missed !

Leading up to the half time whistle and Hopf came to the rescue on two occasions with great saves from goalbound efforts.

Ankaragucu started the 2nd half in determined fashion but there was no cutting edge in their attacks.   Also, the Antalya defence had an excellent match and were soaking up the pressure easily which came their way.

Ankaragucu continued to press forward but for all their huffing and puffing they managed only one serious attempt on target.    A cross came in from the right and Ilhan met it and bulleted a header in which brought us all off our chairs.    BUT, Boffin made an instinctive point blank save to frustrate us all.

Antalya almost caught out the Ankaragucu defence on a few occasions as Ankaragucu  pressed forward searching for an equaliser, but Hopf was having none of it with some fine saves.

Faty had a great chance to find the equaliser with 4 minutes to go but his header from a right wing cross went flying past the post.

Well, in all honesty Antalya deserved to take the 3 points, but on another day it may have been a different story.    There was too much dithering in Ankaragucu’s play and their one touch passes were going to Antalya players most of the time.    Also, there was no cohesion between midfield and in attack last night with too many players having an ‘off day’ !

So, time to stop dreaming of that Europa Cup slot and concentrate on consolidating a mid-table league position.

The Kanka Group are now focused on next Saturday’s match in Bursa and the arrival of our Prodigal Son, Bellshill Kanka Nadeem who is flying over for the match from Scotland.    The Kanka Group will be going to the match in a mini-bus and we know that we will be given a warm welcome by the Bursaspor fans.

There will be lots of photos of the event up here next weekend.    Bring it on !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Headline nicked from the fanatic newspaper, which roughly translates to ......... the owners of the summit !

Genclerbirligi refuse to relinquish their position at the top of the Spor Toto Championship League !

GENCLERBIRLIGI     1       Afyon      0

Last Saturday night they continued their impressive start to the season by winning their 7th consecutive league match.

Team – Hakan, Arnason, Alper, Claro, A. Oguz, Sessegnon, Yasin, Selcuk, Ahmet I, Jailton and Mert.

Substitutes – Matei and Nadir

However, they had to wait until the 70th minute to break down a stubborn Afyon defence.   Jailton was the player who unlocked the door !

Bolu and Adana Demir also won and they are obviously determined to keep Gencler in their sights.   They are only 2 points and 5 points respectively behind Gencler.

Let’s keep it going Gencler !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ankaragücü vs Antalyaspor match preview!

It’s Monday night football in week 7 of the Turkish Super Lig for Ankaragücü as they host Antalyaspor looking to continue their good run and keep up the momentum in the top half of the table.

As Jim said in his match report from the Serik match, it was a disappointing performance from Ankaragücü against the lower league opposition but we need to take into account the amount of changes made to the team with all but Erdem Ozgenc from the first team rested.

Alessio Cerci showed flashes of what he can bring and there is no doubting his ability. If he wants to break into the starting line up however, then he will need to improve on his fitness and the defensive side of his game. Too often he made no attempt to get back and help the team while Serik were on the attack.

Despite the mounting financial issues at Antalyaspor who have lost all of their big signings including Samuel Eto’o, Samir Nasri and Sandro, they have actually had a good start to the season sitting one place below Ankaragücü in 8th and on the same points.

Former Leeds striker Souleymane Doukara has been a good signing for Antalyaspor and will be one of their key players in attack. The powerful Senegalese International has excellent technique and skill but sometimes his finishing and end product can let him down. He will likely be joined in attack by Turkish International Melvut Erdinc.

Ankaragücü will be without the suspended Bakary Kone through suspension but will have Thibault Moulin back from injury. Moestafa El Kabir will play against his former club and Ankaragücü will be  hoping that he can continue his excellent early season form with another good performance. Thievy Bifouma has all the attributes to be a key player for Ankaragücü but he has been a bit frustrating of late with his decision making in the final 3rd of the pitch, we need a big performance from him and he needs to be careful with his disciplinary.

Bruce Dja Djedje has come into the midfield and formed an excellent partnership with the brilliant Ricardo Faty, it will be interesting to see if Ismail goes with the 3 in the middle now that Moulin is back in contention.

The game will be played at the Yenikent Stadium and kick off time is 8pm, as usual for details on how you can watch the match with the Kanka Group please get in touch with Jim.


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Serik is a small town on the south coast to the east of Antalya, and their football team play in the Tukish 3rd League, so it was expected that Ankaragucu would brush them aside with a ‘cricket score’ !     However, Serik showed great resilience to almost cause an upset.

They may have been over-awed at first, but in the 2nd half they continually took the match to Ankaragucu and severely tested their defence.    On this performance they must be serious promotion contenders !

ANKARAGUCU    2          Serik    1

Ismail Bey decided to rest his normal attacking trio and gave the fringe players of the squad a run-out.   There was no Hopf, Djedje, Heurtaux, Faty, El Kabir, Mokhtar, Bifouma and Kubilay, but that is no excuse for Ankaragucu’s abysmal 2nd half performance !

Battle Damaged Kanka, Damon, and I met-up at The Anasonn Bar (the Kanka Group was posted absent without leave !!!) and settled down to watch a goal feast.   However, all we saw at first was the Sanliurfa v Yomra match !   Panic stations with the bar staff trying to find the match, but it was down to A Spor TV deciding to switch, showing that match and ours every 10 minutes or so.   Later there was a third match in the mix when the Rize match joined in !!   So, when the Urfa match was shown, all we had was a ‘minu screen’ in the bottom right of the TV screen !    Bloody frustrating !!

Anyway, we saw most of the action and when the first goal came in the 10th minute we were smiling and saying ........ here we go for our goal feast !

It was a goal to savour with Ilhan the provider with an excellent pass for Kehinde to fire in a screamer.   Kehinde had another opportunity 8 minutes later but his shot was high and over.

New signing, Cerci, was controlling the match at this point and on this showing he is going to be a key player in Ankaragucu’s attacking armoury.   His deft touches and control oozed pure class !

Cerci was the inspiration for the 2nd goal on the 22nd minute mark when he took a quick corner on the right with Ilhan.   He played a one-two with Ilhan, and with everyone expecting a shot to the near post, he drove his shot to the far post and in through about 3 confused defenders.   Shocking defending but a peach of a goal nonetheless !

We were still thinking that this is ‘easy’ and expecting another goal before half time, BUT the goal came at the other end on the half time whistle !

A Serik attacker was put through on the left with an excellent pass which evaded Alihan’s outstretched leg, and he shot across Altay inside the right post for a well taken goal.

We were thinking that this was a ‘wake-up call’ for Ankaragucu, but we were sadly mistaken !

It was Serik who came out for the 2nd half firing on all cylinders and they obviously ‘smelled blood’.   They continued to harry and chase every ball throughout the 2nd half and it was backs against the wall for Ankaragucu, with Ankaragucu being restricted to breakaways out of defence.

In the 60th minute, Altay came to Ankaragucu’s rescue with an outstanding save to tip the goal bound shot over for a corner.

At this stage of the match, A Spor TV was jumping between THREE matches, so we were unable to see any action until the 75th minute.

Serik was still in the driving seat and looking likely to conjure up the equaliser.

Ankaragucu did score an ‘offside goal’ in the 78th minute, but we were unable to see the replay due to skipping to the Rize match ..............aaargh !!

I can’t tell you the language we used at this point.   All I can say is that it was uncomplimentary aimed at A Spor TV !!!

So, Ankaragucu ‘escaped from jail’ and avoided extra time, but it was so nearly a night to remember for the Seasiders from Serik.   All credit to them for their efforts, fitness levels and never say die attitude !

Nevertheless, Ankaragucu is into the draw for the next round of the Cup and I’m sure that Ismail Bey will not make the same mistake again of resting so many of his key players at the same time !

Back to League business on Monday night KO 8pm against Antalyaspor at The Stadium from Hell in effin Yenikent.   There will be no under-estimating their opponents for this match with 3 points up for grabs and a chance to move into the Europa cup positions.

I’ll be back at The Anasonn to watch it.

Bring it on !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ankaragucu vs Serik BB match preview!

Ankaragucu are back at home on Wednesday night at Yenikent as they host amateur side Serik BB in the Turkish Cup. This will be an opportunity for some of the fringe players such as Alessio Cerci, Kehinde, Anton Putsila, Erdem Sen, and Mehmet Sak to get some minutes under their belt as they look to break into the starting line up.

Their will be interest in particular in former Italian international Alessio Cerci who was the clubs big signing in the summer but so far hasnt featured much as he isnt fully fit. Questions have always been asked about Cerci and his attitude and also fitness as there is no doubting the players talent. Hopefully he isnt here just for a final pay day and works hard to fight his way into the starting line up.

Ankaragucu again showed tremendous character and team spirit in their 1-0 away win at Erzerumspor thanks to a Kenan Ozer last minute goal. This was despite the team playing 83 minutes with 10 men due to the sending off of Bakary Kone.

The Turkish Cup hasnt been kind to Ankaragucu over the last few years having been knocked out by lower league Opposition. Serik play in the 4th flight of Turkish football an have had an unbeaten start to the season. They have former Galatasaray and Eskisehirspor playmaker Erman Kilic in their team and will be no pushovers.

Looking at the previous 2 winners of the Turkish Cup Akhisar and Konyaspor, it should give Ankaragucu some motivation that a good run could see them go all the way and qualify for European football next season. The league is the priority but a good run in the Cup and an opportunity to win one of Turkish footballs biggest competitions is something that should be the aim for the club and taken seriously this season.

For anyone looking to take in Wednesdays game, it kicks off at 7pm and you will be able to buy tickets on Passolig.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

The Genclerbirligi express shows no sign of slowing down !

Yesterday, Gencler travelled to Umraniye and returned with all 3 points.    The Hurriyet headline this morning was ......... Firtina Gibi (like a storm !!).

Umraniye   0       GENCLERBIRLIGI     2

Team – Hakan, Ahmet O, Claro, Arnason, alper, Ahmet I, Selcuk, Yasin, Sessegnon, Jailton and Nobre

Substitutes – Mahmut, Rahmetullah and Nadir

Alper opened scoring in the 61st minute and Nadir made sure of the points in the 83 minute with Gencler now solidifying their position at the top of the Spor Toto League.

Next Thursday Gencler will be involved in the Turkish Cup when they take on Bergama.   Ankaragucu will also be involved on Wednesday when they play against Serik.

Watch this space for details of those, plus next weekend’s league matches.

Can Gencler make it 7 wins from 7, and can Ankaragucu move into the Europa Cup positions ???!!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Friday, September 21, 2018

Erzerumspor 0-1 Ankaragücü match report!

Ankaragücü have started the season in fine form, winning plaudits for their exciting attacking brand of football. Today it was a very different type of football that saw Ankaragücü take all 3 points despite playing 83 minutes of the match with 10 men.

Team - Hopf, Erdem, Alihan, Yalcin, Kone, Tiago, Faty, Dja Djede, Bifouma. Mokhtar, El Kabir
Subs - Korcan, Kehinde, Putsila, Kenan, Sedat, Mehmet, Mahmut, Cerci, Ilhan, Erdem

İsmail Kartal changed the system today chosing to go with a back 3 today with Bakary Kone coming into the starting line up alongside Alihan and Yalcin. Ilhan dropped to the bench to allow for the extra central defender.

Erzerumspor started the brighter with Jasmin having a shot from distance in the first minute but Hopf easily saved. Five minutes later and Ankaragücü faced a massive task after Bakery Kone was sent off for a reckless challenge as the referee consulted with VAR. At firs it looked like the referee got the decision wrong but another replay from a different angle at full time showed it was the correct decision.

Kone has had a disastrous start to his Ankaragücü career and again showed that he is unreliable. It was his poor first touch that led him to make the tackle in the first place. It’s difficult to see a place for him in the team now as he is gifting teams chances every game.

Erzerumspor looked to take advantage and Jasmin had another long range effort that went wide on the 17th minute. Five minutes later Moussa Kone saw his shot saved by Hopf.

Ankaragücü were defending well but finding it difficult to keep hold of the ball. Former Arsenal man Giles Sunu saw his shot go wide on the 40th minute after a good cross into the box. Five minutes later a great effort from Ibrahim was well saved by Hopf.

Half Time - 0-0

Into the second half and it was much of the same. Three minutes in Auremir saw his deflected shot go inches wide. From the resulting corner the ball found its way to the back post for Jasmin but Hopf again made a good save. A minute later and Jasmin saw his shot from distance saved by Hopf.

Five minutes later and Sunu went close from distance but that man Hopf made another excellent save. Ankaragücü were struggling to get out of their half but on the odd occasion they did counter El Kabir, Bifouma and Mokhtar were wasteful.

With 15 minutes remaining Erzerumspor threw everything at it and Emrah almost got lucky but his cross was tipped wide by Hopf.  Munsy had a chance that went wide before Hopf made another brilliant save and then the goal fianally came.....

Despite dominating the game, it was a Ankaragücü who took the lead in the 90h minute with their first shot on goal. Brilliant play from Erdem who played a beautiful ball through for Kenan who calmly finished past Ibrahim to make it 0-1 Ankaragücü and send the fans and team wild in celebrations, their were even emotional tears from Kenan which showed just how much it meant.

A brilliant defensive display from the 10 men with Alihan and Yalcin solid. Brice Dja Djede was outstanding again with another Ngolo Kante type performance. But special mention to man of the match Johannes Hopf with another excellent display.

Next up is a midweek match in the cup and the game will be played at Yenikent Stadium!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Who could have predicted at the end of last season’s catastrophic ending that Gencler would be off to a flying start in the Spor Toto League ?

Five matches in and Gencler have pulled clear of the chasing pack.   Last Monday night.   Gencler won their 5th consecutive match to go 2 points clear at the top.

GENCLERBIRLIGI    3    Elazigspor     1

Second placed Boluspor could only play out a no-scoring draw against Altay.

The ‘born again’ Nobre was on the score sheet again and he seems to have found a new lease of life back with his old Club.

Gencler has scored 12 and conceded only 2 and there is no reason why this can’t continue with confidence obviously sky-high at the Club.    btw, I was going to mention the FOUR  goals which Gencler conceded to Ankaragucu in a ‘friendly’ a few weeks ago, BUT I decided not to !!!

Next Saturday Gencler is away against Umraniye who are stuck in mid-table (KO 2pm).

Let’s keep it going Gencler !

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Erzerumspor vs Ankaragücü match preview!

It’s Friday night football for Ankaragücü this week as they travel to another promoted side Erzerumspor who are still searching for their first win in the Turkish Super Lig this season. Despite their poor start to the season Erzerumspor have been performing better than their results show and it will be a tough place to go with a full stadium expected.

Ankaragücü put in another good performance last weekend with a 1-0 win over Akhisar thanks to a fantastic goal from El Kabir. The Moroccan forward has formed an impressive partnership with Youness Mokhtar who added another assist to his account and is one the teams key players.

İsmail Kartal has in the past come in for a bit of criticism from the Ankaragücü fans but he has won them over with the style of football he has the team playing. Ankaragücü top the league in total amount of passes made this season and dribbles per game. While they sit 2nd behind Trabzonspor in pass completion. That is all down to the hard work of İsmail Kartal and the management team who are showing what can be achieved when you bring in the right type of player.

Brice Dja Djede came into the team last week and played centre mid despite his favoured position being right back. He put in an excellent performance and was an example of the attitude of this Ankaragücü team where the players are giving everything and putting the team first.

Thomas Heurtaux who had an impressive debut is set to miss the next couple of games due to an injury he has picked up. Alessio Cerci will come into the team when he is ready according to İsmail Kartal with the player still not 100 percent fit.

Erzerumspor sit 2nd from bottom with 2 points taken from their first 5 games. Last weekend saw them draw 2-2 at Sivasspor. Like Ankaragucu they have a fantastic support who will make quite an atmosphere and they have enough quality in their squad including South African midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala to cause problems for Ankaragücü if they aren’t at their best.

Despite Erzerum being a difficult place to travel too, Ankaragücü still have enough quality to come away with the 3 points. The pace of El Kabir, Mokhtar and Bifouma in attack allow Ankaragücü to play and exciting counter attacking system away from home. We just need to make sure we stay solid at the back with Heaurtux being a big loss due to injury.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

As I mentioned yesterday on fb, Ankaragucu had to travel all the way to Afyon last night (350 kilometres) to play their HOME match !

As most of you know, the 19 Mayis Stadium is being demolished at the moment.   The new stadium in Eryman which was to be a temporary home is not ready yet, and the 3rd option was The Stadium from Hell in Yenikent which is not fit for purpose !   So, Afyon Stadium was chosen by the TFF as the venue for Ankaragucu’s home matches until Eryman is ready.

Having said that, I must praise the stadium in Afyon which is a well constructed and compact stadium which has a capacity of 15,000 and the Ankaragucu fans who made the journey yesterday certainly made their presence felt !

As for the match itself, Ankaragucu dug deep and scored a memorable goal against a well drilled and organised Akhisar side who probably felt that they deserved a share of the spoils.

ANKARAGUCU    1             Akhisar    0

The Kanka Group met-up at The Anasonn Bar in Kizilay – Maniac Kanka Harun, his beautiful daughter Hazal, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Posh Kanka Ahmet and Nurer Kanka.   We also welcomed 2 new members to the group, Kenan and Oguz.

Team – Hopf, Pinto, Alihan, Heurtaux, Djedje, Erdem O, Faty, Mokhtar, Bifouma, Ilhan and El Kabir

Substitutes – Sedat, Putsila and Cerci

The first 10 minutes of the match was played in the midfield area with both teams sizing each other up and trying to keep possession.   However, the match exploded into action in the 11th minute with a sweeping move on the left.   The ball was played into Mokhtar just inside the box on the left and with the cheekiest of back-heels, the ball was passed to the inrushing El Kabir who sent his shot just inside the left post to send us all up celebrating and high fiving !   Definitely a candidate for goal of the season !

Ankaragucu tails were up and they surged forward looking for No2, but shots were blocked and the Akhisar goalkeeper was in fine form.

Approaching the half hour mark and Akhisar was searching for a way back into the match and it almost came, but a timely interception by Alihan prevented the equaliser.

Almost on the half time whistle and another let off when a cross came in from the left but Alihan to the rescue again when he skied his clearance into the arms of Hopf !

The 2nd half was all end-to-end with some excellent football played by both teams.    Akhisar came out with all guns blazing, but all credit to the Ankaragucu defence for holding firm.

Heurtaux made a saving tackle as an attacker was about to shoot and  Pinto hooked away a dangerous cross.

Ankaragucu also went close when a sweeping move resulted in the shot going into the side netting.   Bifouma should have scored when he rounded the goalkeeper and sent his shot wide and high.    El Kabir also had a chance but was well tackled as he was about to shoot.

At the other end, Hopf pulled off 3 saves from goalbound efforts and on this form it will be difficult for Korcan to win back his place between the sticks !

Sedat sent in a screamer of a shot which went just past the post.

Into time added on and it was constant Akhisar pressure searching for the equaliser, but all credit to the Ankaragucu defence for holding out and weathering the storm.

This was an excellent team performance from Ankaragucu against a very good Akhisar side.   So, 3 points brought back to Ankara and consolidation in mid-table which is probably more than we could have hoped for at the end of last season.

Ankaragucu is now playing football and no more hoofing the ball anywhere more in hope than anything else.

Next Friday Ankaragucu will be away to bottom of the league Erzurum KO 8pm, so we will be back at The Anasonn to hopefully celebrate another win and see Ankaragucu move into the top half of the league.

Can we start thinking about qualification for next season’s Europa Cup I wonder ??!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim