Besiktas' huge achievement to inspire Turkish handballArticle
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FEATURE: Enthusiasm reigns in Turkey after Besiktas MOGAZ HT qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

Besiktas' huge achievement to inspire Turkish handball

When Besiktas MOGAZ HT qualified for the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League this past weekend, it was the first time in 11 years that a Turkish team managed to compete at this stage.

In the 2003/04 season, ASKI Ankara achieved three points in their group, but since then no Turkish side has managed to get past the qualification tournament.

This year, however, Besiktas from Istanbul managed to bring Turkish handball back into the finest club tournament in Europe – and even did it in convincing style.

During Qualification Group 3 in Hasselt, Besiktas first defeated Norwegian champions Haslum Handballklubb 29:22 in the semi-final, before taking on Romanian champions HCM Constanta, many peoples’ favourites, in the final cantered to a 34:25 win.

“This is really big for us and also a big challenge. Of course, we are really happy to be here and we want to show our power to the rest of the European handball,” club manager Berk Karahan tells

It will be the first time in the history of Besiktas that the club has made it this far in the competition, however, according to the manager, the achievement is not only important to the club itself but also to Turkish handball in general.

“After our last game in the qualification tournament, we have had a lot of reaction to our great victories and now everybody is waiting for our first group game,” says Karahan, who sees his team’s achievement as a great opportunity to strengthen the brand of handball in Turkey.

“There really is a big market for sport in Turkey, but handball is still on its way up,” he explains.

A great opportunity

Besiktas’ great results have also caught the attention of the Turkish media.

“Apart from our own TV channel, BJK TV, other sport channels are also talking about us. Everybody knows by now that Besiktas MOGAZ will be playing in the Champions League,” says Berk Karahan.

In the group phase, Besiktas will be playing in Group, where their opponents will be ruling VELUX EHF FINAL4 champions SG Flensburg-Handewitt, FC Barcelona, KIF Kolding København, Orlen Wisla Plock and Allingsas.

“We will do our best in the group phase. However, Group B is the strongest group this season. Two of the teams (Flensburg and Barcelona) played in Cologne last season, and everybody knows that the teams from Denmark, Sweden and Poland are also really good. But we will be ready to fight.

“After all, this is sport, and each team has seven players on the court. Of course, there are so many big names among our opponents, but it will be a perfect experience for our players,” concludes Karahan.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor