Southern Times Correspondent
Harare – Changes to the rules have saved six African footballers in the Super Lig from demotion, as Turkish soccer authorities approved a plan to increase the number of teams in the top tier.
On the last day of the 2019-2020 season, Yeni Malatyaspor, Hes Kablo Kayserispor and MKE Ankaragucu had all been relegated to the TFF First League, the second tier of Turkish football.
Zimbabwean defender Teenage Hadebe plays for Yeni Malatyaspor along with Afriyie Acquah (Ghana), Issam Chebake (Morocco), Moryke Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire), Fabien Farnolle (Benin) and Youssouf Ndayishimiye (Burundi).
But Turkey Football Federation chair Nihat Ozdemir reversed the demotions, instead saying three promoted teams would join Super Lig to make it a 21-team league in the 2020-2021 season.
Ozdemir said four teams would be relegated at the end of the 2020-21 season and three would be promoted, meaning the league will have 20 teas from 2021-2022 like other top European divisions.
Zimbabwe’s Teenage Hadebe told The Southern Times Sport that he was immensely relieved by the rule change that has given him at least one more season in Turkey’s topflight.
"We had been relegated and we were already preparing to play in the lower division," said Hadebe. "But, here is what has happened. It’s a huge chance on our part to play good football next season and remain afloat."