Sam Adekugbe’s Club Withdraws From Turkish Super Lig
Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor have withdrawn from the league following a disastrous earthquake that has now claimed more than 20,000 lives between Turkey and Syria.
The club has been significantly impacted by the widespread disaster and are unable to continue on with their season, with some club personnel still missing. Thankfully, Canadian international Sam Adekugbe was amongst those counted safe.
It was confirmed by Turkish Union of Clubs President Ali Koc that Hatayspor has been formally withdrawn for the season, but will not be automatically relegated.
“Hatayspor sent a letter. They notified us that they will not play this season’s games,” stated Koc, who also noted that Gaziantep FK – who’s province was near the epicentre of the quake and also saw significant destruction – may do the same.
Hatayspor was fourteenth in league standings at the time of the disaster, with the club having just completed a one-nil win over Kasimpasa on Sunday. The matchwinner came from still-missing winger Christian Atsu.
Canadian international Sam Adekugbe told press that he had been relaxing at home following the win when the earthquake began, with the left-back going outside to find battered infrastructure and a panicked populace following the quake.
“It just felt like a movie. You’re seeing collapsed buildings, fires. People yelling, people crying,” he told Neil Davidson. “People digging through the rubble. Broken pieces of houses. Just things you never really expect.”
Adekugbe and some of his Hatayspor squadmates managed to depart the country by plane to Istanbul, where he was able to stay with his Canadian national team midfielder Atiba Hutchinson.
The Turkish Super Lig will be hold until March 3, with the Turkish Football Federation confirming that numerous players and coaches from the country’s football divisions have lost their lives, among thousands of others.
The death toll for the magnitude 7.5 earthquake is expected to rise, with the Canadian federal government stating that it will match up to $10 million in donations towards the Canadian Red Cross.
Adkugbe and Hutchinson have pleaded for donations to support rescue efforts and disaster recovery, with the Red Cross funding set to go towards relief efforts in both Turkey and Syria.
Those interested in donating can do so here.