Kasımpaşa, which just this year made its re-entry into the Spor Toto Super League, was in second place with nine points going into week five. It is too early in the season to predict how things will settle, but that is an unprecedented start for such a small team.
“What we will be able to do in the league will become clear in due time,” Diyadin agrees. The next test of Kasımpaşa’s staying power will be its week five match at Sivasspor on Sunday. If the team pulls off another win, Diyadin and his men will become even more of a talking point.
On the right foot
The top-ranked team is Turkish football giant Galatasaray, with just one more point than its little İstanbul neighbor Kasımpaşa. The defending champion was also Kasımpaşa’s first opponent in its league debut on Aug. 20. Although Galatasaray won 2-1, Kasımpaşa put up a good fight, especially for playing in its opponent’s imposing new stadium.
“The 11 that went out were playing together for the first time, including in warm-up matches,” Diyadin said of the squad he fielded against Galatasaray. He also expressed his belief that the outcome could easily have been different. “We created good opportunities. We could have come back to win after it was 1-1,” the coach explained, while congratulating his players on putting up such a good fight against a powerhouse like Galatasaray.
Following that, Diyadin’s men beat Black Sea side Kardemir Karabükspor 2-1 at home. “We will play better football in time. The important thing is those three points. It is important to get through this period with minimal losses,” Diyadin said after the match. And his team seems to be on exactly the same wavelength, as it then crushed fellow newcomer Sanica Boru Elazığspor away in week three. Losses have been few for Kasımpaşa this year -- so far limited to the one against Galatasaray in week one.
“The team’s will and desire to play together are very positive, despite it being the beginning of the season,” Diyadin explained about the state of his team after week three. However, he admits that his team is not without its problems.
“We are lacking somewhat in organization. When we take care of that, we will improve,” he added. His words may be true, but the results received in week four did not speak so much of Kasımpaşa’s faults as they did the team’s firepower, and perhaps his leadership. The fiery team again won 3-0, this time at home against Gaziantepspor, a well-established Super League side.
“Here our players showed incredible resilience. We deserved the victory,” the coach said in praise of his players. “We are on the right path now,” he concluded.
Return of Paşa
Kasımpaşa has been bobbing in and out of the various Turkish professional football leagues for years, even falling as low as the fourth division 2001 before beginning its ascent in 2005. The Beyoğlu-based team spent last year in the tier-two Bank Asya League 1 after being relegated from the Super League at the end of the 2010-11 season.
After Elazığspor and Akhisar Belediye Gençlik ve Spor won their tickets to the Super League last season, Kasımpaşa put up a spirited fight against Adanaspor at Ankara’s 19 Mayıs Stadium. By then playing under coach Diyadin, the team managed to come away with a 3-2 win. This hard-won result gave Kasımpaşa, which finished the season in fourth place, the final slot in the top division this year.
This echoed events of the previous year, when Diyadin’s Orduspor scored against Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor in the 88th minute, again at 19 Mayıs Stadium. The resulting 1-0 victory brought the small Black Sea team into the Super League that year.
Who is Metin Diyadin?
Diyadin was born in the Black Sea city of Trabzon in 1968. He played as a midfielder for Gençlerbirliği for 10 years between 1988 and 1998, being loaned to Denizlispor for one year. In 1998, he signed on with İstanbul’s Fenerbahçe, where he played for two years and became captain before moving on to Göztepe and finally Kayserispor, where a tragic injury cut his career as a footballer short.
Diyadin began his coaching career three years later in 2005. The first club he managed was Gençlerbirliği Oftaş in the second and third divisions. Moving up to the Super League, Diyadin coached Eskişehir in 2007-08 and then Çaykur Rizespor. In 2009 he served as assistant trainer for his hometown team of Trabzonspor. After leading Orduspor to the Super League last year, he came to the head of Kasımpaşa, where he stands today.
Diyadin’s plans for the future are ambitious, yet he believes his squad is already well on its way to achieving them. “We want to continue on like this. We have a general plan for the year, but we are thinking on a weekly basis,” the coach says of his focus and strategy. “When the time comes, we are also aiming for the European cups. We will be successful in these things, step by step,” he adds.