With only seven games to play in the Super Lig season, Ghanaian players are facing very different climaxes to the campaign.
Turkey has become an attractive prospect for Ghanaian players in recent years and four of the nation’s stars currently feature in the top flight.
This quartet are not young players trying to make their maiden impression in the game, nor chiselled veterans or guys taking their first steps in a European league after being picked up from the African game.
All four—Jerry Akaminko, Daniel Opare, Majeed Waris and John Boye are established internationals and all enjoyed previous success in Europe before moving to the Super Lig.
However, all four are enduring tricky campaigns in Turkey this season and, as the campaign draws to a close, the quartet are cultivating very different ambitions.
First of all, it’s important to point out that injuries have severely affected the campaigns of three of the four, with Akaminko, Opare and Waris all missing extensive time out with injury this term.
Of the four, Opare is in the best position; with only seven games to play, his Besiktas team sit second in the league log. They are equal on points (58) with leaders Galatasaray, and only behind them having lost the first match between the two teams 2-0.
Opare moved to Turkey in January on loan from FC Porto and made an excellent first impression in the Super Lig. However, he has been out of action since the middle of March due to hamstring trouble, and only returned to the Black Eagles bench this weekend.
He will hope to play his part and help Besiktas to the Turkish title over the coming weeks.
Next weekend, the Istanbul giants travel to fifth-place Trabzonspor , the club of Ghana forward Waris.
The Black Sea Storm will not be able to lift the championship this year—they are 12 points off the top—but they will be hoping to overhaul Istanbul Basaksehir to claim the second Europa League spot. They are currently one point behind their rivals.
The striker is another who has been struggling with injury. He missed over two months of action and has only made sporadic appearances since returning.
The ex-Valenciennes man was a spectator at the weekend as Trabzonspor beat leaders Galatasaray 2-1 and will be hoping to play his part over the coming weeks, both to help his current club back into Europe and to help catch the eye of potential suitors.
Jerry Akaminko is just about the only one of the four with nothing to play for this term.
Eskisehirspor sit in 13th place, nine points off relegation having beaten John Boye’s Kayseri Erciyesspor this weekend.
Relegation is not impossible, but it would take a considerable slide for the Star of Anatolia to be dragged back into the bottom three.
Unfortunately, Akaminko hasn’t featured at all this campaign as he continues his long recovery from the injury that kept him out of the 2014 World Cup.
Akaminko | Approaching a year out of the game
The ankle damage has taken time to heal, and despite playing in a friendly in January, Akaminko hasn’t been risked in the league and it remains to be seen if he will play any part in the climax of the campaign.
Finally, despite arguably being the most established of the four Black Stars in the Super Lig, central defender John Boye is in a much trickier position than any of his compatriots.
The centre-back left Stade Rennais in 2014 to move to Erciyesspor, but so far, the Turkish dream hasn’t exactly worked out too well for him.
There have been a handful of good appearances, but Boye’s campaign was disrupted by the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, while he was recently suspended after being shown a red card against Genclerbirligi.
The Blue Dragons are in grave danger near the foot of the Super Lig table.
After 27 games they find themselves in 17th place, and a whopping eight points off safety.
For any side, that would be a tremendous gap to bridge, but Erciyesspor are in the worst form of any side in the division—they have lost all six of their last matches (and 12 of their last 14)—and were defeated at home by Eskisehirspor on Sunday.
Boye may have had less injury trouble than his compatriots in Turkey, but his Super Lig adventure appears, worryingly, to be destined to end in tears.