Colin Kazim-Richards Talks Turkey at the Euros
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Colin Kazim-Richards Talks Turkey at the Euros

27/06/24 10:52

Former Turkey international Colin Kazim-Richards sat down with Football Park to discuss his nations ambitions for this Euro 2024 tournament, providing a correct prediction in the process.

In an exclusive interview, Kazim-Richards, who reached the semi-finals with Turkey in 2008, said that their main goal should be to “get out of the group”, something they duly did after a dramatic late Cenk Tosun winner against Czechia last night.

However, Kazim-Richards was sure not to get carried away with how far his home nation could go: “If they come out the group second, they’re going to get someone like France. We don’t want to play them!” he said.

Fortunately for Turkey, France ended up finishing second in Group D, which meant they were placed on the opposite side of the knockout draw. Turkey will now instead face surprise group winners Austria, who will still be a stern test, but with nowhere near the star-power and elite quality of the French squad.

Kazim-Richards has first hand experience of the magic of knockout football, after Turkey equalized in the 122nd minute of their 2008 quarter final against a strong Croatia team, and subsequently went on to convincingly win the penalty shootout. So for him, there is always the small belief that the “magic of the cup” can strike again for his country in the knockout stage.

Despite this, Kazim-Richard’s does hold reservations over the current Turkey manager, Italian Vincenzo Montella.

“I’m not sure about the coach,” said Kazim Riichards: “It’s something new for him. New in that he is not Turkish. There are so many layers to being a Turkish footballer and manager. There is already a massive internal difference between Turkish players born abroad, and Turkish players born in Turkey.”

“Now you’ve got a foreign coach as well. What he did at (former club) Adana Demirspor was very good, but it's a different level now going to Turkey.”

It is not the first time Turkey has hired a foreign manager, the best known example being when they named Guus Hiddink as national team coach in 2010, right off the back of his interim role at Chelsea.

But that was a more acceptable choice according to Kazim-Richards: “Guus Hiddink came after winning everything. Guus Hiddink was Guus Hiddink.”

On Montella: “It’s not me saying it’s just because he’s not Turkish. I think he hasn’t had enough (international) experience yet.”

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Harry Pascoe

Football Writer

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