Exclusive Interview with Berna Gözbaşı: The First Female President in Süper Lig History

  1. After various coaching changes, Kayserispor is looking to solidify their project this season. They have gone from barely staying up to dreaming of European football, but what can we expect from this team this season? Can they fight for Europe or possibly the Turkish Cup?


Kayserispor is one of the biggest clubs in the Turkish Super League after the top four teams (Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Besiktas and Trabzonspor). Our club has a really big potential. We have the Turkish Cup (2008) in our museum and are one of only two teams in Turkey who won an international cup (UEFA Intertoto Cup, 2006) besides Galatasaray. 


Yes, we had struggled both financially and on the field recently, especially in the last two years. However, we are turning a new page starting with the 2021/22 season, I can easily say that we built a strong squad with the leadership of our Director of Football (Ali Naibi). Our goal for this year is to finish in the top 10. As for qualifying for Europe, why not? 


  1. What is your main methodology in terms of building the squad? We’ve seen very big-name signings such as Mario Gavranović, Carlos Mané, Lionel Carole, and Olivier Kemen but also plenty of local talents as well as the sales of Doğan Alemdar to Rennes and Emre Demir to Barcelona. In the long term, do you expect to produce more young talents and how do you think you will improve the academy even more?


We have built our squad in a professional and structured way. Kayserispor is the first club from the Turkish Super League to partner with “SciSports” to enhance the club’s scouting, data analysis and recruitment strategy. Our Director of Football manages all these processes, he is also in close relation with the technical staff. I am only involved mainly in the financial side of things, at the end of the process.



 In the 2021/2022 summer transfer window in Turkey, as you know we sold two young players, Doğan Alemdar to Rennes and Emre Demir to Barcelona. Kayserispor made the most profit from player sales in this window. We are very proud of our boys, Doğan and Emre, of course. Believe me, there are many other youth prospects in our Academy. We have short & long-term plans for their future. We also want to bring in more talented players to our Academy and work to expand our reach.


  1. You began working with ex Besiktas Director of Football Ali Naibi, someone who likes to work with high-level professionals and as such, the expectations are high at Kayserispor in the short and long term. How has he been in terms of developing the squad and scouting players, talk a little about your process with him in the player recruitment this season?


The primary objective of football clubs is to win games. We are now seeing that the influence of good management to on-field success is growing rapidly in world football. To succeed on the field you need to structure your squad and manage all activities involving our teams professionally.


Ali Naibi, our Director of Football, has a deep understanding of European club football, has a big network of clubs and other key stakeholders. As I mentioned in the previous question, for our player recruitment we have scouting and data analysis departments which are led by our Director of Football as well. 


  1. Talk to me about your growth and development since arriving in 2019, and what ideas do you have to help Turkish football, as well as Kayserispor, grow? You are a pioneer as the first female president in the Super Lig, what has it been like to be a trailblazer in this regard?


When I took charge as the president of Kayserispor, the club was facing financial and sporting difficulties. As you would appreciate, being female in the football industry is not easy, especially in our country. I would like to thank our supporters for putting their faith in me. The best is yet to come!


By: Alejandro Parra / @AleParra_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Bölge Gündem