Thursday, May 25, 2006

Football without allegiances

There is something great about watching matches in which you don't really care who the winner is... you end up enjoying the football.

It was a small Kanka crowd for tonight's play-off match between Sakaryaspor and Altay to see who would be the last team to be promoted to the top flight, just Sir Eski Kanka and myself made it.

Sitting in Chopin and enjoying a beer it did make me wonder why don't we make football a summer sport.

The waiters at the bar obviously know us by now and paid out on Ankaragucu (they clearly haven't figured out my allegiances). A few Efes' in the delightful warmth that is spring in Ankara and then off to the stadium.

Knowing just how important this match was the police weren't taking any precautions. In addition to the body search they even checked inside my newspaper to make sure I hadn't hidden a rechargeable battery. I'd say there were about twice as many cops as is usual for a match in Ankara (and that means a bloody lot of cops).

I'm not going to say much about the match, except that it was brilliant.

Sakaryaspor started out strongly but Altay soon seemed to be in control. Jim disagreed with me but I reckon Sakarya were damn lucky to go ahead when ex-Gencler man M'Bayo scored for Sakarya in the 16th minute.

It was at this stage that the Sakarya fans went mad, singing and yelling and letting off flares (a fact that disproves my earlier statement that the police were extra thorough tonight).

Considering the match was being played in Ankara on a week day, I was very impressed with the size of the crowd. Not only the size of the crowd impressed us but also the passion. This was true local side pride, for both Sakarya and the slightly less-well supported Altay.

Back to the match and it was a ding dong affair. Neither side had a very good defence and strikers were being left unmarked all the time.

Altay could possibly have scored three goals before they finally got one in. No names in this report as I don't have a clue who the players were but their goal went something like: player from an angle whacks it at goal.... ball bounces off side post... falls to bald-looking player who hits it from an angle... goalkeeper parries... shananigans about two metres out and finally the ball ends up in the net.

It was great stuff. The goalkeeper then went off to complain to the ref, Selcuk Derili, (who by the way not only had a very good game... rare that you will ever hear me say that... but is also a friend of Sir Eski Kanka... even rarer), but Dereli would have nothing of it and instead gave the Sakarya goalkeeper a yellow card for being a whinger.

1-1 and the Altay fans were waving balloons. Never seen that at a Turkish football match before.
Before long however, Sakaryaspor were back. Not sure who scored but it was a great shot, against the run of play.

Between this goal and half-time we had a number of shots on goal and some damn fine saves, by both goalkeepers, and Eski Kanka and myself had a nice little discussion about the stupid rule (make that law) that gives goalkeepers so much bloody protection.

A great match it was but then the No. 3 for Altay proved to me just how bad the cheating is in Turkey.

The bloke went down after being slightly nudged. The ref did not give a foul, thank God, but our man stayed on the floor writing in agony as if he had been shot for at least two minutes. He was eventually stretched off only to come back on a minute later. Needless to say, his injury was so bad that he ended up playing the rest of the match.

Second half and the Sakarya procession started.

Few details from now on but let me say that Marcel M'Bayo had a stand out game. M'bayo was a true whippet tonight. Every time he got the ball it looked like something was going to happen. He didn't score again but bloody hell did he look good.

M'Bayo's performance reminded Sir Eski Kanka of the time when he and Youla for Genclerbirligi had ripped apart Ankaragucu 5-0 (at half-time).... Ahhh, how I wished I had seen that one.

But back to the match, Sakaryaspor No. 9 scored twice (both very nice goals) and the game was out of reach. 4-1 with 23 minutes left.

The final whistle blew and the stands erupted with joy. The players came around throwing shirts into the crowd and even I, a neutral at this game, had to feel happy at the great acheivement Sakarya had made.

Of course the police then buggered up whatever good feelings we had by refusing to let us out of the stadium for 25 minutes.

So Sakaryaspor into the Super Lig next season. Well done.

It was then off to the Knight and Flight for another beer and to watch game of darts, but that story is for another blog.


  1. Yes, spot on Oz Kanka. A very enjoyable match played in a noisy atmosphere reminicent of Ankaragucu Gecikondu boys at their best !!!

    All credit to both sides for their all out attack game plan which made it all the more exciting for the punters.

    The Sakarya No.9 who Oz Kanka mentioned as the scorer of 2 second half goals was TANER, and he was the difference in the two teams and the reason for victory. All the nice midfield footie played is all very well if you have strikers to put it away in the danger area and that is exactly what he did.

    Altay huffed and puffed and stroked the ball around but I was always aware of the fact that they didn't have the important cutting edge up front.

    I hope Cemal Aydin was watching the match and perhaps earmarking Mr Taner as a possible replacement for Umut Bulut !!!

    Now for the World Cup.......

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  2. Anonymous2:24 pm

    Late comment but it was actually M'Bayo who scored Sakarya's second goal...

  3. Dear Angara, thanks for commenting.
    You may well be right but if you read this blog regularly you may notice that the facts sometimes fly right out the winter.

  4. sometimes they even fly out the window

  5. Angara,
    Just noticed you are in Sindh, Pakistan. I know nothing about the place except for the one word Sir James Nappier sent after capturing the city.


    Latin for "I have sinned!"

  6. Anonymous2:51 pm

    Actually i came across the blog today, and i sometimes i fly out the window as well...
    I am not in Pakistan oz kanka, it may be because of the IP address of our proxy server, some Pakistani guy fixed that up, that must be the reason hehe

    Oh by the way, i made a mistake, M'Bayo scored the first goal, or maybe he scored them all, whats the difference, we love M'Bayo, he is a jolly good fello...

  7. Hmmm, silly me. If you aren't in Pakistan my guess is that you are in Germany. M'bayo was fantastic the other night and made me wish we at Genclerbirligi hadn't let him go last year. Yet another stupid transfer decision.

  8. Anonymous3:01 pm

    Oh i'll save you the trouble, im at holy lands, Saudi Arabi at the moment.
    By the way, i was watching the game with a friend whose uncle is an Altay official, and we learned that Besiktas was scouting that No.3, well put it together with Nobhead and we can figure out Besiktas' style of play next year...

  9. Welcome to the blog Angara Kanka.

    I think you must be Turkish, and if so, do you have a particular team who you follow ?

    Even if it is not based in Ankara, we welcome your comments and hope you will continue writing to us.

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  10. Anonymous3:33 pm

    Thanks for the warm welcome eski kanka jim, yes im Turkish, have always been a Galatasaray fan, but being a native of Ankara, i try to follow Ankara teams as well, especially Genclerbirligi...
    I already bookmarked the site, i will be around almost everyday for sure, and i was also surprised to see that im living in the same city with one of the bloggers, Pompey Kanka, now what are the odds to that!!! :)
    I will be glad if a can contribute, though im not a native english speaker, i'll try my best, it's nice to be here...

  11. Anonymous9:19 pm

    Wow your blog really brings people together. :-)

    Greetings my dear Kankas from girl from Zagreb

  12. Dear Zagreb Kanka,
    You are very right. Thanks to the blog we have met other foreigners in Ankara who support Ankara teams, we have met your good self and now Angara.

    Oh we have also met a certain Cleveland, Ohio woman who is way too smug about her team.

  13. By the way Angara, your English is excellent and makes a lot more sense than some of the rubbish that Sir Eski Kanka comes out with. In other words, yes please continue to comment on whatever you want, you are more than welcome...

    And don't forget that if you are visiting home any time in the coming season don't forget to tell us so we can go off and see Gencler (or Ankaragucu if we are really desperate... but never Ankaraspor!)

  14. Grrrrrrr, why is everybody always picking on me (well, almost everybody.... at least Miss Zagreb Kankie loves me !!!).

    Well Angara Kanka, concerning Pompey Kanka, he is a personal friend of mine and I hope you two can get together.

    If you tell me where you are based in The Kingdom then perhaps I can put you two in touch with each other.

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  15. Anonymous7:56 am

    Well. i will definitely join you guys, probably on a cold winter day next season, by the way im trying to figure out Chopin pub, is it the place which was used to be 'Rembetiko' ?
    Eski Kanka Jim, I'm living in Al-Khobar now, his info says he is living here too...

  16. I'm not sure if it is the place that used to be called 'Rembetiko', but it is on the same street as Net Piknik, which for some reason has been closed for a while now.

  17. OK Angara Kanka, we will be happy to meet up with you next season sometime.

    Not too sure about the history of Sakarya Cadd, because if you have been checking out the history of us Kankas, you will have seen that Sahil in Genclik Park was our normal meeting place until recently.

    As for Pompey Kanka, yes, you are right, he is in Al-Khobar. I will email him and tell him about you.

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  18. Anonymous3:15 pm

    Thanks eski kanka, im guessing its the same place, right on the corner next to that building that has a fancy fish restaurant (Korfez i remember), well if that is so, i kissed so many girls in that place, hehe...

  19. Anonymous8:46 pm

    My dear Eski Kanka of course I love you as a friend! :-)You are great!

    Greetings to all Kankas from rainy Zagreb :-(