By Richard Beale……………
On Monday July 16th Esentepe Football team started training in preparation for the new season. A much depleted and a very young group of players were put through their paces by the Esentepe Coach, Davut Kansu. The Coach I am glad to say has agreed to return for another season after guiding Esentepe to the “play off” finals last season.
The squad has a very youthful look to it, with only a few veterans Başak (31) and Nersin (30) being the oldest, who were racing round the pitch with the youngsters!. Certainly the training session I saw youth was at the forefront, which is good for the future, but a blend of youth and experience will be required for a successful campaign next season.
ESENTEPE STARS PLAYING IN THE SUPA LEAGUE.
In order to operate and pay the expenses of running a “village” Football Club, Esentepe must loan out their “star players”, which is unfortunate but to survive this is the only option. They are a “selling club,” but fortunately Esentepe has a thriving youth set up and there seems a never ending supply on the conveyor belt of talented youngsters coming through the system.
Esentepe main assets, youngsters DENİZ KIBAR and KAĞAN GORNCELİ have for a number of seasons been loaned out to several Supa League Clubs
Striker Deniz has now been loaned to newly promoted Supa League Club Alsancak and Kağan has signed on for another season with GAÜ Çetinkaya.
First team goalkeeper ALI KARAL has been loaned to Gençler Birligi and midfielder İLYAS NIYAZI has signed for last seasons Supa League Champions Yenicamı.
EMEK KIRILMAZ, after many loyal years of service, as is the norm with TRNC football was allowed to leave on a free transfer. He had a successful first season with Binatlı scoring a number of vital goals despite playing as a full back, has this week been transferred to Doğan Türk Birligi for a reported transfer fee of 120,000tl. Good business for Binatlı who got him on a free, but no money for Esentepe and a loss of a very good player.
FIRAT KULLE the big defender who was on loan to us last season has signed on with Lefkoşa based Club Cihangir. I think that Esentepe’s top scorer last season TACETTIN who was on loan to us, will not be coming back, due to being called up by the Army plus other reasons. Another one of Esentepe ‘stars’ UĞURCAN BASAYAK is having talks with several Supa League clubs about a possible move.
All these players are now playing at the highest level in the TRNC Supa League which obviously for them is better standard, better paid, has more TV and press coverage than League 1. We wish all these players every success for themselves for the coming season. I know in their hearts though they are still Esentepe lads through and through.
AN ESENTEPE DREAM TEAM :
ALI (gk) : MAHMUT, FIRAT, NERSIN, EMEK : KAĞAN, HÜSEYIN, İLYAS, UĞURCAN: TACCETTIN, DENIZ
I am sure this line up would walk away with the League 1 championship and would be a very useful team in the Supa League. However it is a dream team, shame but in reality it cannot happen, because of that necessary evil money, money, money to enable the Club to survive.
NEW AND OLD FACES RETURN
At the training session there were a number of new faces, some have signed, others are on trial or are having talks with the Club.
KEMAL MOLLA (25) goalkeeper has been signed from Alsancak in part of the transfer package that took Deniz to Alsancak. I am told he is a sound and reliable and very experience keeper.
HASAN SUNGAR* (24) : Big central defender who played for us 5 years ago. Spent the summer with Bahceli.
TANSU YAMIS* (26) : Right back, another returning “old boy” who was a squad player with us 3 years ago. He had a very successful season with Tatlisu during the summer.
TURGAY CIL *(26) : A compact and powerful midfielder, who like Tansu had a very good season with Tatlisu.
AHMET KARAL * Experience tricky/fast left winger or full back. He has played for Duzkaya and Ozankoy amongst others. Lives in Esentepe and would be a very good acquisition.
YAKUP SEN* (17) : No senior first team appearances and has come from Supa League Champions Yenicami to gain League experience.
* Not sure any of the above have put pen to paper.
I believe that Coach Davut is looking to bring in any of the above triallists plus a striker from Turkey. I think a striker is a top priority and should be number one on his shopping list. The Club has only 2 recognised strikers on their books, Eser, who may have work commitments and would be unavailable sometimes. Last seasons young team top goalscorer Hürkan is promising but inexperienced.
There will be a number of players from last seasons title winning young team, who will be hoping to catch the Coach’s eye and impress him with their claims for a first team spot. Mustafa Günlü, Emre Mutlu, Hürkan Görnecli and Tuğrulsan Günay will be among those players, all have had some, if limited first team experience.
One of Esentepe’s more experienced players, mıdfıelder BURAK TÜMKAN, has been troubled by a groin injury over the last 3 years, underwent an operation in Turkey this week. Hopefully it has been a success and he can make a full recovery and be available later on in the season.
The current squad players who are relatively young but pretty experienced, Eser, Mahmut, Hüseyın, Emre Soytürk, and Muhammed will form the backbone of the team, along with the “veterans “ Basak and Nersin.
I have every confidence in the Coach, who is a very relaxed and calm person, that he will put together a squad good enough and talented enough to challenge for at least a play off place. His emphasis is on fitness and the team will certainly not be lacking in that department.
There will be quite a few “friendly’ matches to be played before the season starts and the Coach also has plans to take the squad away for a training summer camp.
The League season begins weekend 23/24 September.
All photographs by Richard Beale.