Colin Kazım: "I Want To Be On That Championship Bus"Interview • Author: Mehmet Pozam • Saturday, November 14, 2009
Last week, we published Part One of the exclusive Colin Kazım-Richards interview that appeared in this month's edition of Fenerbahçe Magazine. The interview was a great hit on our website and many Yellow Canaries fans asked us for Part Two. As Fenerbahçe Worldwide, we present you the second (and final) part of the interview, in which Colin speaks about his current performance and position at Fenerbahçe and his future with the club.
Fenerbahçe Magazine: While some supporters admire you and find you sympathetic; others get angry at you, because they find your behaviour reminiscent of a rapper and frankly they also think you're a bit spoilt. When you think of Fenerbahçe supporters as a whole, why do you think there’s such a divide?
Colin Kazım-Richards: In football, everyone has their own opinion and it’s impossible for everyone to have the same opinion. If I have to comment about myself, I’m a totally self-confident person. Sometimes self-confidence is mistaken for being spoilt and unfortunately it becomes a wide-spread misunderstanding. But during the game and on the field, due to the atmosphere we sometimes have to use that self-confidence and that sense of being spoilt as a threat against our opponent. Maybe supporters take this as being spoilt, but that’s a feeling we have to give to our opponent. I don’t do those gestures at the supporters; I do them towards the opponent. What I like doing the most is playing football and if I’m able to do this as a profession, then that’s great. Maybe everyone wants to see Colin angry, ugly or unhappy. But when I’m doing the thing I like most, playing football, I want to be smiling. Unfortunately, sometimes this is misunderstood. Especially when it’s about goals; people react to the gestures I make after scoring goals. Let’s say I score a goal against Sivasspor. The things I do after this goal has nothing to do with looking down on Sivasspor. These gestures are just made to tell supporters, ‘We’re here and we’re succeeding’. I do those gestures to make our supporters happy, not to look down on the opponent.
F.M: There are some differences between Turkey and Europe. These can lead to misunderstandings and as a result, can turn on you.
CKR: I now have to be myself. Because when I’m myself, I feel good. This is the way I express myself. I want to say something about walking on the pitch before games. At those moments, I normally have earpieces and I’m listening to music. This is how I concentrate for the game and get in the mood. I fire myself up by saying, ‘Today I can make it, today I can score’. But when the supporters look from the outside, they think ‘Colin doesn’t care about at all. Before games, he just listens to music.’ But that’s not the way it is. Even now, when I speak to you about that atmosphere I get goose bumps. For example, Chelsea vs. Arsenal is a very big game in England. When Adebayor steps out onto the pitch, he can smile at the cameras with headphones on his head. This is totally normal. Everyone has a different way to motivate himself. This is what I do, but everyone misunderstands this. Maybe, being the first player to come from that culture in London, that incident was strange for both me and them, but I’ve in a sense opened up the way for other players that will come from there. From now on, people will get used to this and start tolerating these things. Now, Tuncay and Sabri have also started listening to music with big headphones, at the National Team. Maybe, I’m the first to do this, but there will be more to come.
F.M: In recent weeks, during a match against Manisaspor in our stadium, there were some unpleasant incidents between you and some supporters. You later made the necessary statments and clarified the situation. And I think you were right. However, do you think that articles about your nightlife popping up in the press and the reasons we just mentioned above have any effect on these incidents?
CKR: I have been here for a long time. During this period, I’ve only been to night clubs for a total of eight times. First of all, I definitely do not consume alcohol. Neither do I smoke. But there’s news about me being written, that I was drunk or I was in a fight. People believe this and my team mates even ask me about these. Of course, the people around me know the truth but there are a lot of people who believe in these reports. Linking the incident during the game to these reports is completely pointless. This is definitely unacceptable. Coming back to the Manisaspor game, I had played very good in the first half. I was also fairly good in the second half. When I was coming off, they swore at my mother from the seats reserved for our families. If this had come from another place, for example the upper stands; I wouldn’t have made a fuss about it. But when the curse word was shouted, my mother could have been there, or anyone from my family or my girlfriend. Once the word was heard, it would have started a fight. Then everybody would forget about the swearing and think that Colin’s family caused a scene. To a certain extent, supporters coming to the stadium definitely have the right to react by either whistling or clapping their hands. But, when it was no longer about football, I gave that reaction.
F.M: You said those two things were irrelevant, but I’d like to remind you that people reading the gossip news that you say is fake are either the same people or are in the same social group who read the sports page.
CKR: I understand. What you say is true. Let’s call this a hopeless case in the system. These groups overlap on top of one another. But when you look at it, the moments a footballer feels the most free is when he goes to eat at a restaurant, when he goes out with his girlfriend or his family. For example, after the Gençlerbirliği match that we won, we all went out and had fun. But people there think, ‘Look, the Fenerbahçe players don’t look after themselves at all. They’re always out having fun.’ However, these are the most important, most valuable moments for a football player. This is what I try to do, but unfortunately I get misunderstood.
F.M: Last season, you weren’t included in the match squad for the game against Arsenal at Kadıköy and this was talked about a lot. Why did you want to wear the Fenerbahçe shirt and play against Arsenal so much?
CKR: There are actually two sides to this. One, it was a routine Champions League game for Fenerbahçe. Of course, it was a very important game, but every game in the Champions League is important. But when you look at it from a different point of view, Arsenal, the team that I played for in their academy is coming to my home, to play against the team I play for, in front of our supporters. I wanted to play for Fenerbahçe in that game so much, but it didn’t happen. Actually the biggest disappointment for me was this: On the way from the facilities to the stadium, I still didn’t know whether or not I was in the match squad. The squad was confirmed when we arrived at the stadium. And it wasn’t even the coach that told me this, it was his assistant. He told me, ‘You’re out.’ That’s why I was so disappointed there.
F.M: At Fenerbahçe, you first worked with Zico and then Aragones; now, you’re working with Daum. Can you compare the three world-famous football managers?
CKR: In my opinion, it’s not fair to compare these three coaches. Let’s not do injustice to any of them. When you look at them, they are all very different people. They are all top class managers. Zico is maybe one of the three top players of all time. He’s had a fantastic playing career. When he came here; he was a coach that knew very well how to talk with players, what they liked to do, what they thought, how their morale changed, and what motivated them. Together with him, I had a very good year. Maybe, it’s thanks to him and his leadership that I’ve turned into a more technical player. That year, I played some great games. When you look at Daum, of course right now I’m very pleased. I get a chance to play in almost all the games; together with him I get more experience and I get to learn more things. I can say that I learned a lot from him about positioning and tactics. About Aragones; maybe it was because he was too old and because I was too young that we didn’t get along personality-wise and that we had some problems. But they were all successful, top class managers.
F.M: At Fenerbahçe, we’ve mostly seen you play on the right wing. But you always say that you can play anywhere in the attacking line. Can you play in other positions, for example, as a striker? What would you think about that? (This interview was made two days before the first Steaua Bucharest game. Kazım played against Steaua and Galatasaray in forward, as a striker and also scored a goal against Steaua.)
CKR: Actually, I can play anywhere. Here I play on the right wing, but before I arrived I used to play as a goal scorer, a forward. Not as a striker, but I used to play in the position behind him. I was also successful in shooting. But, it doesn’t matter. Left or right, up front in forward or behind, I can play anywhere in the attacking line. Maybe it’s hard to play as a striker, but I would love to play in the position behind him.
F.M: Like the position Alex plays in, at Fenerbahçe?
CKR: (giggles) Not exactly like Alex. Maybe in a different game plan, I’d like to play in that position.
F.M: This season, there’s a big desire throughout the club community, especially our President, to win the Championship. We also have European targets. What would you like to comment about this, on behalf of the team and on behalf of yourself?
CKR: I hope we will become Champions. Just like our President said, these are things that we really hope to achieve. Having a target such as winning the Championship, increases our ambition and motivates us. This is the biggest target in the Turkish League. Everyone is doing their best and working exceptionally hard to achieve this. Of course, having a consistent and stable atmosphere within the team is the most important factor that will lead us to the Championship. Reaching consistency much sooner and faster than prior years could be an important factor to win the Championship. On the European campaign, we feel we are a very strong side. We will go as far as we can.
F.M: What are your plans for your future career? Will you stay at Fenerbahçe? Or do you have other ideas?
CKR: There are no guarantees in football. Everything can change at any moment, at any minute. As I said, I’m delighted to play at Fenerbahçe and to live here. Knowing the category Fenerbahçe is placed in football, I’d like to stay and continue playing here. My contract will expire in the middle of next season. Of course, I don’t know what situation I’ll be at when my contract comes to an end. Where will Fenerbahçe be? What will the conditions be? Will Fenerbahçe want another player in my place? If so, what would I want? All of these will be discussed, but for now, I’m very delighted to play here and would like to continue here.
F.M: I know you have a fiancée. When you first came to Fenerbahçe, you had your fiancée by your side. What is the latest situation in your private life? Are you thinking of getting married?
CKR: You’re talking about Veeanne, about marriage... (After staying quiet for a long time, everyone breaks into laughter) Actually you can’t link this with marriage. If two people love each other, they can also live together without getting married; they can bring their relationship to a certain point. I don't think marriage is a must. Speaking of my ex-girlfriend... Well, not my ex, but my current girlfriend Veeanne, we were already getting married. We had come close to tying the knot but our lives went separate ways. Unfortunately, our paths did not cross. But, we’re not technically separated at the moment.
F.M: Lastly, what messages would you like to give to our club community and supporters?
CKR: I love our supporters. I want them to not believe in everything they read in the gossip pages of newspapers, because I’m delighted to play here, in front of them. I love my job very much. Just like the squad who won the Championship three seasons ago, I too want to win the title this year. Of course I wasn’t in that squad, but I too want to be on that bus on Bağdat Caddesi with the trophy, celebrating the Championship. Please tell this to our fans.
To access Part One of the Colin Kazım-Richards interview, please click: http://www.fenerbahceworldwide.org/view/2517/Colin_Kaz%C4%B1m%3A_%22I_Never_Regret_Choosing_To_Play_For_Turkey%22/
(Interview and photo courtesy of Fenerbahçe Magazine; Translation by Mehmet Pozam)