Turkish Football News

Basaksehir aiming for domestic double

Basaksehir aiming for domestic double

The team’s coach has set eyes on a historic double by the end of the season.

Istanbul Basaksehir, the Istanbul-based outfit that has long been an underdog in Turkish football, has dominated the Super Lig so far this season. The team closed the first half of the season as leaders with 35 points. Speaking to Demiroren News Agency, coach Abdullah Avci says they want to win a historic double by clinching the Turkish Cup.

The club, formerly known as Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor, is no stranger to success. In the past three years, it went into the mid-season break as the leaders of the league but only gave up the spot to rivals towards the end of the season.

The 55-year-old Avci, who spent most of his football career playing for small Istanbul teams, is credited with Basaksehir’s successful revival after he took over in 2006 when the club was still known by its former name.

Success in the league, however, remained elusive in the Turkish league, traditionally dominated by the “Big Three,” Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, all from Istanbul.

While the three giants succumbed to a run of failures due to mismanagement and financial troubles, Basaksehir have slowly but steadily made their climb to the top. The key to success is “stability,” Avci says, both in the starting 11 and in coaching.

For his part, he has been a stable presence in the team, save for his brief tenure with the Turkish national team.

“I was a part of 400 matches and have always emphasized team play. The team is not only built by players but also technical staff – from the health department to analysts examining the team’s performance. We work to improve the quality of play and players,” he said.

Along with stability, being a team that has conceded the least number of goals in the league and has the highest ball possession certainly helps the success. Avci also underlined that his team is among the top in the most playing time in the Super Lig “near the rival’s goalpost.”

“Still, we have a problem in translating our success into titles and we are working on it. Yes, we have had the most advantageous angles to score but we fail to score at times. This is why we signed Robinho,” he says, referring to Brazilian striker who joined the club in the January transfer window from Sivasspor.

“Robinho can play both as a winger and a center forward. He can adapt to other tasks too,” he explained.

Serdar Tasci is another new addition to Basaksehir. The former Germany defender is “appropriate for our playing style,” the coach said.

“He appears to be a good replacement for Manuel da Costa,” Avci added, referring to the Morocco international, who joined Saudi Arabia’s al-Ittihad earlier this month.

“[Tasci] did not play any games since the start of the first half of the season but this is his only challenge,” he said.

On Basaksehir’s race to the league title, the Turkish coach says their rivals have “a culture” of championship titles dating back to their early days, “but we are a team which started running after a toddling phase and this is evident in how close we came to the title in the last two seasons.”

“We have the resources to win the Super Lig and the Turkish Cup. We lost two such titles in the past in extra time and penalties. We prioritize the Super Lig but winning the Turkish Cup is also a goal. We have changed only a few players for matches for both titles. I hope we will finally accomplish this goal this season,” he concluded.

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