Its nearly 20 years since Ankaragucu last won the TSYD Ankara Cup, and they have it all to do on Saturday afternoon against Genclerbirligi. The transfer ban is set to be lifted on Friday which would mean all the new signings are free to play.
Before we take a look ahead to Saturdays match, just a couple of bits of news over the last couple of days to keep you up to date. Ibrahim Akdag has completed his move to Kayserispor after he paid his 90K release clause from Ankaragucu. Atakan Cankaya has also left the club on a 1 year loan deal to Goztepe for 130K euros. Goztepe will have an option to buy Atakan at the end of the loan for 1.3 Million.
They join Torgeir Borven who signed for Gaziantep last week and Stelios Kitsiou could be set to join him according to reports in the last couple of days. Endri Cekici completed his move to Konyaspor last week for 250K Euros.
Youngsters Frukan Beklevic, Halil Acikgoz, Ender Aygoren and Suat Kaya have all left on 1 year loan deals to Igdir BB who as far as i can see play in the bottom tier of Turkish Football. A strange move to allow Suat Kaya in particular leave the club after a successful spell on loan to Tarsus last season and impressing in pre season.
Onto the weekends match and the long awaited return for competitive football is nearly upon us. Ankaragucu will take on Gencler before the season opener a week later at Tuzlaspor. Ankaragucu are undefeated in pre season so far and going by reports have defended well but struggled in attack.
Loosing Torgeir Borven, Endri Cekici, Alper and potentially Kitsiou is a big blow for the club as they were the only players of real quality in the squad from last season. The players brought into replace them will need time to prove themselves and adjust but the striker position and Number 10 are the main concern.
With just over 1 week until the season starts Ankaragucu only have Eren Derdiyok as a recognised striker. Eren is however rumored to be in poor shape and carrying to much weight. We were unable to watch any of the pre season matches due to Ankaragucu requesting for them to be played behind closed doors.
Some players are said to have caught the eye with their performances including Sahverdi Cetin, Erdem Ozgenc and Owusu Kwabena. Others such as Geraldo and Yasin Gureler came in for some criticism.
My main concern from the squad is the lack of youth and too many old players who are coming to the end of their career or just not good enough. The likes of Emre Eren and Ulus will hopefully be given opportunities along with Mert Topuz in goal. Its so important for a club like Ankaragucu to be using the academy and giving opportunities to young players.
Like Ankaragucu, Gencler have had a big turnover in players over the summer. The likes of Candeias, Stancu, Yilmaz, Ayite, Sio and Toure have all been moved on and replaced with a mix of foreign and Turkish players.
Two notable signings are Aaron Tshibola who previously played with Aston Villa and Kilmarnock in Scotland. Tshibola was very highly rated as a teenager but hasn't lived up to his potential. He had a successful start to his Kilmarnock career, but was part of the squad who were relegated last season.
Another British based player Kazenga Lua Lua who is the brother of former Karabukspor striker Lomana Lua Lua.
Saturday will be a good indicator as to where Ankaragucu are at in terms of fitness. Mustafa Dalci said the team are in good condition and ready to go. He also said the team is short in the Number 10 area of the pitch and is hoping they can get someone in.
The game will be shown live on TRT Spor for those who cant get tickets for the game. As of yesterday Ankaragucu had snapped up most of their allocation.
Akin, Erdem, Sinan, Yusuf, Pinto, Abdullah, Sahverdi, Huseyin, Cem, Geraldo, Owusu