Neca making waves in Turkey PDF Print E-mail

Portuguese scoring and making goals for Ankaraspor

NecaWith the midway point of the 2008/09 Turkish football season rapidly approaching, it has been a campaign of surprises, with the traditional heavyweights being overshadowed by the performances of some of the country’s more modest clubs.

One of the smaller outfits causing waves is Ankaraspor, the capital club, who occupy fifth place having spent much of the season in the top three. At the top, Trabzonspor currently lead second-place Sivasspor by three points, with long-established powerhouses Galatasaray (3rd), Fenerbahce (4th) and Besiktas (6th) playing catch-up.

A key component in the improvement at Ankaraspor, who finished 10th last season, has been the form of Portuguese midfielder Neca. The ex-Portugal international moved to the capital during the summer from top-flight rivals Konyaspor, and has inspired his team to an unexpected rise up the Turckell Super Lig.

Former Belenenses man Neca scored the opening goal at the weekend as Ankara ended a three-match winless streak with the result of their season so far – a 3-1 victory at giants Besiktas. Neca’s men are now within touching distance of the leaders, heading into the final two games before the league takes a one-month winter break.

Lisbon similarity

“It has been going very well for me here,” said Neca. “The goal against Besiktas was my fourth goal in the league; I have made two assists and played ten of the fourteen matches. We are within five points of the leaders; two from Galatasaray; one from Fenerbahce.

“I am feeling good here. I adapted quickly and when I moved to Ankara my family came with me. We live a similar life to that which we had in Lisbon. At this moment, I would only return for one of the big clubs. In financial terms, no other Portuguese clubs could pay what I earn here.”

Although he has no particular desire to return home at this moment, Neca admits that he would one day like to go back to struggling Belenenses. A Lisbon native, the midfielder came through the ranks at the Estadio do Restelo, spending several years with the club before moving on to Vitoria Guimaraes in 2005 at the age of 25.

“I have several TV channels and I follow the Portuguese league. I see Belenenses’ games and I hope they will improve quickly, for Jaime Pacheco and all the friends I have there. It is my plan to return to Belenenses. It is the club where I learned my trade and became a fan. I don’t know when, but I will wear the blue shirt again.”

10 December 2008, by Sean Gillen

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