Football icon summons Black Eagles to handball as big premiere awaits IstanbulArticle
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FEATURE: Besiktas MOGAZ HT are leading a handball revolution in Turkey with their participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League. Excitement is building as Besiktas' Croatian football coach Slaven Bilic encourages fans to show their support.

Football icon summons Black Eagles to handball as big premiere awaits Istanbul

After successfully making their way through the VELUX EHF Champions League Qualification Tournament, Turkish club Besiktas MOGAZ HT are now part of the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League for the first time in their history – and the first time in 11 years for any Turkish team.

Despite recording a loss against Orlen Wisla Plock in their first match of the championship, the team are looking forward to hosting Danish handball giants KIF Kolding Kobenhavn at the Sinan Erdem Dome (16,500 seats) in Istanbul this Sunday (15:10 hrs CET, live on

Bilic asks football fans to support Besiktas’ handball team

With close to 15 million supporters, Besiktas JK football is one of the most popular sports clubs in Turkey. Besiktas football coach, former Croatian representative and national coach Slaven Bilic, is excited for the success and potential of the club’s handball team.

“In my country, handball is a very popular sport. I love the action of handball. Since I signed for Besiktas, I have gotten to know other branches of the club and Besiktas MOGAZ is the most impressive arm, after football, considering their domestic success. Now it is time for them to visit Europe and diversify their handball skills.

“For the premiere of the EHF Champions League, I would like to invite all the Black Eagles (the club’s football supporters) to Sinan Erdem Dome to support Besiktas MOGAZ. They deserve admiration just for being part of the Champions League,” Bilic said.   

Bilic’s compatriot and Besiktas handball’s left wing, Ivan Nincevic, is also hoping for strong support from the stands.

“At Europe’s best handball arenas, the teams are supported by passionate fans. When we play at home in Istanbul, we desperately need to hear the chants of our Black Eagles,” said Nincevic.

Board declares attendance at Sunday’s match free of charge

Handball has been steadily increasing in popularity in Turkey and handball fans can now experience handball at home like never before. Now they will be able to support their team and country’s representative as the club meets Europe’s biggest teams, not to mention giving Turkish fans a chance to watch some of the best teams in the world live.

With this in mind, the Besiktas board have announced that attendance at Sunday’s match will be free of charge. The club hopes to encourage attendance with free admission, though their decision is also out of respect for the Feast of the Sacrifice, an annual religious holiday that will coincide with the match.

“Our board made a respectful decision not to ask any price during the Feast of the Sacrifice. We are looking for support from all our dedicated fans,” Besiktas manager Berk Karahan said.

A new era for handball

Since Besiktas Mogaz qualified for the group phase of the EHF Champions League, media perception of handball has begun to change in Turkey. One need only follow social media to understand how the awareness and view of handball are changing.

Handball is not yet a mainstream sport in Turkey, but is open to development. And in a country with a population of nearly 80 million, it will be a new era for the global handball industry when handball is 'discovered' properly.

TEXT: Eren Cetin / cg