From Today’s Zaman:
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,??? writes renowned Nigerian novelist, poet and critic Chinua Achebe in his bestseller “Things Fall Apart,??? citing William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,??? which perfectly describes not only the tragedy of European colonization but also the demise of Galatasaray’s 2010-2011 campaign.
And that was exactly the situation in which Galatasaray found themselves after losing 2-1 to archrival Fenerbahçe in their Super League week 26 match on Friday night. This was a new scandalous record of 13 defeats in a league season for the Lions. And the bitter truth is that it isn’t over yet because with eight weeks to go, more records will tumble as the Lions sink deeper into a bottomless quagmire.
We had written over and over again — and at times went out of our way to do so — that Galatasaray’s Romanian coach Gheorghe Hagi was one of the best during his playing days, but as a coach he is not even a decent fake. The only solution we reiterated was for this “Jonah??? to be cast into the sea.
But unfortunately the Galatasaray managers, or more accurately mis-managers, failed to pay heed — like people who have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear. The fans and everyone associated with Galatasaray were hopping mad, shouting, cursing and calling for Hagi’s head, but the club’s mis-managers turned a deaf ear to their cries. This indeed is the category of people American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan addresses in his song “Blowing in The Wind??? when he asked, “And how many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry????
The most annoying thing was that it was the second week in a row that Galatasaray squandered an early lead to lose. The Lions were beaten 3-2 in the capital by Ankaragücü in week 25 with late goals in a match they twice led. It was the same story on Friday night. Galatasaray took the lead in the 14th through winger Kazim Kazim, a former Fenerbahce, but could not stop header goals by striker Semih Yentürk and Brazilian captain-playmaker Alex de Souza in the last 14 minutes. Super sub Semih headed in the equalizer for Fener in the 76th, and Alex’s header in the 88th gave the Canaries victory as Galatasaray again lost a match it ought to have won, or at least drawn.
Hagi — a Galatasaray fan or foe? He made bad substitutions against Ankara in week 25 and the Lions lost, and his team selection on Friday against Fenerbahce was nothing but pathetic. How on earth could the Romanian field injury-prone defender Gökhan Zan, who had not played more than three matches, in the starting lineup in the “mother of all derbies??? and keep him on the pitch for the duration of the game? And why was Aussie winger Harry Kewell not in the starting XI? The list of questions goes on and on and on. No wonder the irate fans marched to Galatasaray headquarters in Florya, swearing and cursing and calling for the resignation of Hagi, Chairman Adnan Polat and all the current administrators — from top to bottom.
And Galatasaray administrator Abdürrahim Albayrak was fuming, to say the least. “I am holding back the tears,??? he lamented. “Hagi gave Fenerbahçe victory as a present, and he must return to Bucharest [from whence he came] on the next available flight,??? he asserted.
“The same thing happened in the Ankara match. These fans have seen many defeats this season, but they did want to lose this one [against] Fenerbahçe. The only solution is for Hagi to go,??? he added. I used this nice saying by Swedish entrepreneur Peter Wastholm last week and would beg to use it again: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained – but if everything is ventured, and still nothing gained, give up and venture elsewhere.???
Galatasaray was [4-1-4] when Hagi took over in week nine, and it is [10-3-13] today, meaning the team has won six matches and has lost nine in the 18 league matches under the man they call Hagi. And no one in Galatasaray management — male or female, young or old — had the guts to say “no mas??? and send Hagi packing before Armageddon struck.
No, they wouldn’t do that but instead followed the herd instinct and waited for the resurrection of the dead from football Hades. There is something called common sense, but the fact is that it is no so common. The bitter truth, however, is that relegation is beckoning furiously, and if Galatasaray — now one of the weakest links in the Super League — loses a couple more, then the road to the Bank Asia League 1 (second division) next season will be wide open.
Muhabir: Okan Udo Bassey