He’s played for one of the biggest clubs in the world, worked with Liverpool legend Graeme Souness and now former Sydney FC midfielder Ufuk Talay is ready for his next challenge – playing for the TUFC Gunners in the Capital Football futsal premier league.
Talay moved to Canberra in May to take up a role as assistant coach to Tony Vidmar in the AIS soccer program.
He knew the soccer season was coming to a close and asked around about futsal.
Luckily for Tuggeranong, Gunners technical director Jackson Kupke is AIS player development manager with the program and he happily signed Talay up.
”It’s been a while since I’ve played futsal, to be fair, probably over 20 years since I was a youngster,” Talay told The Canberra Times yesterday.
”You get used to it, you adapt pretty quick.
”The main thing for me is to go out there and have fun and have a kick.”
The 36-year-old could be the biggest name ever to grace Canberra’s futsal courts.
He started out as a 16-year-old with Marconi in the now defunct NSL before moving to Turkey to join Istanbul club Galatasaray – one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
There he worked with Souness and rates winning the Turkish Cup against arch-rival Fenerbahce as one of the best moments of his career.
The Scottish manager charged out into the middle of Fenerbahce’s ground and drove the Galatasaray flag into the turf.
Talay, who speaks Turkish fluently, said the language barrier often led to him being the go-between for the coach.
”Sometimes I was stuck in the middle there because if he was frustrated he’d go straight through me … I was obviously always on the field,” he said.
He returned from Turkey in 2005 to join Sydney FC in the A-League and finished his career with North Queensland Fury.
The Gunners have been consistent finals performers in recent years and Kupke was hopeful their star signing would lift them to another title.
”I don’t think he wants to think that way but I’d like to think so,” Kupke said.
”He’s definitely got some skills for a bloke who’s only been out of the game for a couple of years.
”He’s still very sharp, he’d say he’s probably 10 kilos overweight but he’ll still be able to hold his own.”
Meanwhile, Canberra is set to host two futsal internationals between the Futsalroos and Egypt at the AIS training hall at the end of September.
It should be a tight series, with Australia ranked 30 in the world – one place below the Egyptians.