yusuf yerkal, his technique
Yusuf is on the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s national team, his normal position is guard but in all things Yusuf is adaptable.
As guard he is always looking over the skipper’s shoulder, or at his back, by his car door, at the stadium entrance – with his patient eyes only for the crowd. The heads, bodies and faces that press forward, and yell. Supporters and opponents. The guard must cover them all.
When he’s playing this position Yusuf is always on the swivel. When he plays strike, as pictured below, he shows classic upper-body technique, which is always destined to give good contact.
This is the money shot of the game.
The strike! ^
Yusuf has perfect balance, good symmetry; his head is down, his eyes fixed on the target, both of his arms are free of the restraint of a buttoned coat, and are at the limit of their graceful arcs. He has just planted his left leg and cocked the knee, his right thigh is bunched.
His fingers are relaxed, stroking the air. This is as good as a dance move.
Because the man has time, and time is a champion’s friend.
The strike, full frame. ^
Yusuf’s action profile looks good. There is no denying the graceful flow of momentum and his positional cleverness. Look how he has rested his hand, companionably, on the back of one of the straining forwards. The grunters, as usual, taking a greater share of the rougher work.
Yusuf is a wingman as well as a striker and guard. This is why he has risen so far in the sport.
However, there are three crucial calls on his ability here.
(1) limited time to strike
(2) obstruction of the ball
(3) possible foul at follow through
Yusuf’s right leg extension is pleasing; straight, but not locked at the knee. Unfortunately the toe has been deflected by the poor positioning of one of the forward’s feet, not to mention the ability of the carrier to protect his ball.
The result is a glancing kick, well off target.
The ball remains secured.
^ Yusuf’s follow-through is messed up, and despite his position at the bottom of the ruck and lack of vision, the man with the ball has slipped his left foot behind Yusuf’s strike and looks about to bring him down onto the pitch backwards.
But no, poise and balance have got him home, and rather then seek the ball by another kick, Yusuf has joined the forwards and is attempting to ruck the ball out of the defender’s care. Look at the delicacy of his pointed toe.
He’s even had time to do his coat up.
Champions have all the time in the world.