Turkey coach Fatih Terim reminded the watching world of the fragility of life as he looked ahead to his team's Euro 2008 quarter-final clash against Croatia here on Friday.
Turkey have given their fans a rollercoaster ride during their run to the quarters, twice coming back from deficits in the group stages to beat Switzerland 2-1 and the Czech Republic 3-2.
But tragedy struck after their dramatic comeback against the Czechs as over-exuberant fans back at home celebrated by firing shots in the air, wounding two people, one seriously.
And Terim spoke out against such practices – common also in the Middle East – reminding his countrymen of their moral obligation to value life higher than football.
“For everyone who loves us and has enjoyed our victories I would like to tell them that our success should not become someone else's sorrow,” said Terim, who is nicknamed the 'Emperor'.
“We shouldn't be firing shots to celebrate a victory. We can celebrate victories, it's a difficult game where everyone has to work hard.
“We've had two difficult wins but unfortunately some people in Turkey fired shots, injuring two people.
“It's very sad and the more I hear of this, the more sorrow I feel. I heard that a 10-year-old girl was injured and she was in intensive care.
“Now I've heard that she is getting better and I'm very happy about that but I want to underline that no victory is worth anyone's life and we must not convert our happiness into others grief.”
This is the second time that Turkey have made the quarter-finals at the European Championships, the first time being back in 2000 when they lost to Portugal 2-0.
They have come a long way since their first appearance at the finals in 1996 in England, when they bowed out in the group stages – losing 1-0 to Croatia in their last meeting in a meaningful match – and Terim believes they are better prepared than ever now.
“In 1996 that was the first time Turkey took part in the Euros and since then at World Cup and European Championships and also at club level.
“That's the big difference now, there's been many successes, we've got more experience than then.
“These players are at their prime and have more experience so the 12 years since 96 have been important in terms of changing the mentality in Turkish football and in gaining experience.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!