Issiar Dia Talks Playing Style, Turkish Football, & MoreNews • Author: Nathan Redd • Friday, July 23, 2010
New Yellow Canary Issiar Dia just arrived in Istanbul, but he's already making the media rounds. He was a guest on FB TV's 'Gündem' program Thursday with Yusuf Kenan Çalık to talk about his new Fenerbahçe home. Dia spoke about his playing style, what he expects from Fenerbahçe this season, and how the club compares to other European powers.
Issiar Dia spoke to Fenerbahçe TV Thursday to talk about a number of topics, including his initial thoughts on the club upon his arrival to Istanbul. "My first impressions about Fenerbahçe were positive, but after Wednesday's match my impressions are even better now. Now I've begun to clearly see how big a club Fenerbahçe is. I was very surprised to see so many supporters in a Fenerbahçe game abroad," he said. "I'm beginning to wonder how the supporters will be at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium when we play a derby."
Dia said he was still in awe of being in Istanbul at FB TV. "I'm 23 years old and I have a very strong passion for football. I began playing football from a very young age and I've climbed step-by-step, and now here I am at Fenerbahçe TV," he said.
The French-born player of Senegalese heritage said he's capable of playing several positions on the pitch, but he spoke about his preference Thursday. "I am an attacking player. I can play both on the right and left flanks and also as a central forward. I love going into one-on-one challenges and I love faking the opponent and passing my marker. I prefer playing as a right winger, but I can definitely play on both wings," he indicated. "Last season at Nancy, I showcased a good performance on the right wing and this season I was transferred to Fenerbahçe to strengthen their right wing. I hope I will be successful here. I have a very fast pace and I am very strong in one-on-one challenges. However, as with every forward and attacking playerI feel that my defensive attributes are a bit weak. I will continue working hard to improve my defensive abilities, just as I was doing at Nancy," Dia told Yusuf Kenan Çalık. "My two main strong points are that I can shake off markers in a very closed-down defensive line, and I can use my fast pace in open areas."
The former AS Nancy-Lorraine star talked about his reaction to Fener and their offer to sign him. "Fenerbahçe is a very big club. Our first goal is the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. We want to take it step-by-step, and I want to experience a lot of success at Fenerbahçe," he stated. "A club like Fenerbahçe cannot be compared with Olympique de Marseille, Girondins de Bordeaux, Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco. Fenerbahçe is a much bigger club and they get to play in the UEFA Champions League every season. I always wanted to play in one of Europe's top clubs and when I heard about Fenerbahçe’s offer I decided to take it."
Dia said the Canaries' supporters surprised him as well. "The supporters were fantastic. They can be compared with Marseille fans in France, but in my opinion, even the Marseille fanbase is more insignificant than Fenerbahçe's fanbase," he told the network. "Playing abroad is a tremendous opportunity for me. I did receive offers from the English Premiership and German Bundesliga, however I snubbed all of them and picked Turkey."
Issiar Dia explained that Fenerbahçe was very well known in France because of last season's games in the UEFA Europa League against LOSC Lille Métropole. "Fenerbahçe is very well known in France. They have the capability of beating strong teams in the UEFA Champions League. I was excited when the offer came and now I am learning more about the club. I believe we can reach new heights in the UEFA Champions League."
The newest Canary also talked about his decision to play for Senegal rather than France, as well as his opinion of Turkish football. "Senegal was the choice of my heart. I felt I belonged there," he said. "I did have offers from the French National Team, however my culture belonged to Senegal. Even though my place of birth is not there, my roots are from Senegal," he said. Dia said that he used Senegalese star El Hadji Diouf as a role model. "El Hadji Diouf brought our country to great heights, becoming the pride of the nation." Dia also said that he looked up to fellow countryman Mamdou Niang from Olympique de Marseille.
Regarding Turkish football, Dia indicated that he definitely thinks it is moving forward. "Turkish football is on the rise. They have a national side that has played in semifinals and quarterfinals in major tournaments. They have many important players. Turkish players general have a high capacity of technical attributes. In some countries, football is only about kicking the ball, but in Turkey, football is played in a sense of improving the game," he exclaimed.
"In Wednesday's match, they performed extremely well for a ten-man team. The team-work was exceptional," Dia said of his first look at his new teammates earlier this week. The new transfer said he was looking forward to his opportunities in Istanbul.
"Fenerbahçe is a team that everyone would like to play for. Now I have found the opportunity to play at Fenerbahçe and I want to use this opportunity well. I want to contribute to Fenerbahçe's success and also reach my personal goals here. Now the French chapter is over for me. I want to turn a new page with Fenerbahçe, and I want to fill this page with a lot of success."