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Yeni Malatyaspor goalkeeper Türkaslan dies in Turkey earthquake

Goalkeeper Ahmet Eyüp Türkaslan, 28, played for Yeni Malatyaspor in Turkey’s Second Division. He was reported missing on Monday.

Carlos Portolés
Yeni Malatyaspor goalkeeper Türkaslan dies in Turkey earthquake

The death toll from the devastating earthquake that has struck Turkey and Syria continues to rise. Former Málaga player Christian Atsu, currently playing for Hatayspor, was successfully rescued from the rubble. However, not all stories have happy endings. Yeni Malatyaspor, of Turkey’s second tier, have announced the death of their goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyüp Türkaslan, who was trapped under the rubble.

The goalkeeper made his debut in the Turkish top flight during his time with Ankaraspor, however, the bulk of his career was spent in the second and third tiers of Turkish football. Mamak Fk was the club he played the most games for - a total of 40 - and Ankaraspor the club he spent the most seasons with - more than thirty starts in over four seasons.

Yeni Malatyaspor pay tribute

He joined Yeni Malatyaspor in July of last year on a free transfer from Umraniyespor. His current team shared a picture of the goalkeeper on social media with a heartfelt condolence message that read: “We will not forget you, beautiful person”. It was his own coach, Yilmaz Vural, who confirmed the goalkeeper’s death to the Turkish press. According to the coach, the emergency services managed to save his wife, but Türkaslan was buried.

Türkaslan was the current second-choice goalkeeper at the club and had played in two cup games this season, which resulted in a draw and a win for the Malatya-based club. The club are currently bottom of the second division and are two points off the bottom of the table.

This tragedy adds to the thousands that continue to be counted in the most troubled regions of Turkey and Syria.

More losses for the world of football

The Turkish goalkeeper is not the only football figure to have died in the region. Former Syrian international Nader Joukhadar was also found dead earlier in the day. The striker, who made up to 15 appearances for his country, was one of the star players of the Syrian team that qualified for the 1996 Asian Cup.

Retired since 2008, he spent most of his professional career with teams in Jordan. He also had a brief stint as a coach, when he took charge of Shalam Zgharta for two months in 2022. Joukhadar’s lifeless body was found next to that of his son.

Syrian club Al-Wathba, the team he played for between 1996 and 2001, issued a statement in which they mourned what they considered a “great loss for Syrian sport”. The emotional statement also extended condolences to his family and friends.


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