Good news? This year´s edition of Turkish league has started. Bad news? This year only 2 foreigners are allowed on court and one on bench in Turkish volleyball competitions.
After last five years with „3+1“ and „3“ rules, it was expected that this new „2+1“ rule might cause problems to clubs which are going to play European cups. However, no other Turkish club except of Arkas Izmir was interested in changing the limit to 3 foreigners when federation asked about it.
If the main reason of „2+1“ was development of young Turkish players and improvement of Turkish national team, it is a fail – the first league round has proven that „greenhorns“ do not get the chance anyway, as most of the clubs rather plays with experienced „elders“.
With 5 foreigners in roster, Arkas Izmir is currently the only men´s Turkish club with more than 3 foreign players and as one of them is setter (American Olympic winner Kevin Hansen), this club might be the only club strongly affected by this rule in Turkish league.
Men: Three new clubs, Ziraat out of „top five“
For this season, three new clubs entered the group of 12 elite Turkish teams: Sivas 4 Eylül Belediye, Tokat Belediye Plevne and Tokat Niksar Belediye. All of them are located in Black sea region of Turkey (which is going to make the travelling of their opponents harder) and none of them has strong roster, good budget or bigger chances to finish in upper half of the chart.
The MEF Okullari team which has been eliminated in the first round of play-offs last year, has been dissolved and its sponsor MEF supports promising team of Galatasaray Yurtici Kargo this season, supported by two Cubans Bell and Hidalgo and Venezuelan Pinerua.
Galatasaray will thus substitute the Ziraat Bankasi Ankara among the the „top five“ – group of the five strongest teams which now consists of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Istanbul Büyüksehir Belediyesi, Arkas Izmir and Halkbank Ankara.
Due to significant budget cuts, Ziraat transferred only one foreigner for this season (Brasilian setter Adriano Lamb) and the rest of team consist of young Turkish players.
Halkbank Ankara is a team with always generous budget and high-quality Turkish players, but still has not found a good nr. 4 to support their newly transferred spiker Gundars Celitans.
Brooke Billings, Jeroen Trommel and Sergei Antonovich were transfered to Istanbul Büyüksehir Belediye team, along with former Arkas setter Hüseyin Koc this year.
American setter Kevin Hansen and two young Canadian players Gord Perrin and Justin Duff were three new transfers of this summer which along with Joao Bravo and Liberman Agamez have risen the amount of foreigners in Arkas Izmir to five. As all of them definitely cannot play in league, their coach Glenn Hoag can choose a very different team for games in pool A of the Champions league.
The biggest star of Turkish men´s league remains the same – Ivan Miljkovic of Fenerbahce Istanbul who still keeps his top shape and along with his teammate Leonel Marshall stands for the most dangerous attack force in Turkish league. Due to financial troubles, one of two participants in this year´s edition of Champions league (pool E) did not have chance to transfer any new player. Regardless, coach Castellani thinks that his last-year-champions are strong enough to play leading role in league again and the get into the quarter finals of Champions league.
Women: Great matches to expect
Yes, Turkish men´s league is full of stars, but women´s edition… is like Milky Way!
Darnel, Nikolić, Sokolova, Logan Tom, Kim Yeon Koung, Claudinho, Poljak, Glinka… Turkish women´s league is full of big names again and definitely worth following! Three Turkish top-clubs Fenerbahce Universal, Eczacibasi VitrA and mainly reigning Champion league and vice-club-world champions Vakifbank Günes Sigorta will be again very strong participants of the Champions league.
With Italian national team setter Eleonora Lo Bianco and Cuban spiker Rosir Calderon Diaz, another Turkish team has ambition to enter the „cream“ – Galatasaray Medical Park.
Despite their 3:1 defeat in the first league round against Fenerbahce Universal, Galatasaray will definitely be a strong opponent to Turkish top-teams.
This year´s newcoming team is Pursaklar Belediye (located in northern outskirts of capital Ankara).
Photos: www.voleybolunsesi.com, CEV