Avci named Turkey coach
© AFP

Abdullah Avci has been named as Guus Hiddink’s successor in the Turkey hot-seat.
The 48-year-old guided a side including Real Madrid playmaker Nuri Sahin to an improbable fourth-placed finish at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005, and has coached Istanbul BB for the past five years.

"I am very happy with this opportunity," Avci said during his official presentation by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF). "We will take important strides forward for Turkish football."

Hiddink had his contract terminated by mutal consent after Turkey’s failure to reach UEFA EURO 2012 on Tuesday. A goalless draw in the second leg of their play-off with Croatia ensured a 3-0 aggregate defeat.

Rise to the Turkey reins
Avci has been charged with steering Turkey to a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The Korea/Japan 2002 bronze medalists have been drawn alongside the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra in the European Zone preliminaries.

Avci made his name in charge of Galatasaray reserves, before getting the Turkey U-17 post in 2005. He immediately masterminded their surprise UEFA European U-17 Championship triumph in May, which they earned thanks to a 2-0 upset of the Netherlands in the final in Pontedera, Italy.

Later that year, the Turkish youngsters headed to the world U-17 finals, where, with Sahin, Caner Erkin, Deniz Yilmaz and Tevfik Kose starring, they beat Australia, Uruguay and Mexico to progress from Group B with a 100 per cent record, before a 5-1 thrashing of China PR in the quarter-finals.

Despite falling 3-0 behind to Brazil in the last four, Turkey staged an admirable comeback to pull level, only for Igor to snatch the South Americans a 4-3 win in injury time. The Netherlands then edged Avci’s charges 2-1 in the play-off for third place.

Avci was appointed coach of the 1990-founded Istanbul BB the following year, and he led them to promotion into the Super Lig in his first full season there. Thereafter, in four campaigns in the top flight, Istanbul have recorded mid-table finishes on three occasions and a six-placed one in 2009/10, when they narrowly missed out on European qualification.