‘Orkun endured long road and it wasn’t always easy’
When Feyenoord play the championship match at De Kuip tomorrow, Ozan Kökçü will be glistening in the stands. “I think this is the icing on the cake for him,” says the 24-year-old brother of Feyenoord captain Orkun Kökçü proudly about the approaching championship and the accompanying ceremony on Coolsingel in Rotterdam.
“He has endured a long road and it was not always easy. The season also started a little rough, but in the end I think it’s very nice. Also for the club, the people, the city.”
The older brother reminisces just before all of Rotterdam hopes to celebrate another national title after six years. They were only two years apart, grew up in Haarlem and were close from an early age. “We were always together, constantly playing soccer in the street,” he says.
“Afterwards you could really see that he had a certain talent that most didn’t have,” Ozan explains. “On the street everyone knows that with tricks and beautiful actions you are the best, but with him you could see that he had something else: cleverness. He reads the game very well, I think. That’s to his credit.”
The brothers grew up in Haarlem and played together in the youth of FC Groningen. In 2016, they moved to the youth of Feyenoord. Where Orkun eventually made it to the first team, Ozan sought refuge outside Rotterdam. Via Turkish Bursaspor, RKC Waalwijk and Sabah FC (Azerbaijan), among others, the left winger has now ended up at FC Eindhoven.
That Orkun became captain at 21 does not surprise him. “He sees everything that happens.” But in terms of character, it is precisely Ozan who is more present. “I’m the talker, he’s quieter and a bit more serious. But yes, a real captain. On the field he walks with his chest out, he’s comfortable in his skin.”
Is he ever critical of his little brother? “I sometimes joke that I really wouldn’t have done something like that, but when we’re together we don’t really talk much about soccer. He has enough others around him for that.”
He did save his little brother from making the same mistake he himself made as a soccer player: playing for a Turkish club too early in your career.
Brother Kökçü: He had certain talent as a child that most didn’t have’
Indeed, a few years ago, the Turkish international was in the interest of big clubs like Galatasaray and Besiktas. “To go to Turkey at a young age is not so smart,” Ozan knows from his own experience. “There is little time for development and as a young player you do need it. I think in hindsight Orkun made the best choice to stay with Feyenoord.”
He can’t wait until Sunday, that’s how proud and tense he is. What Ozan is expecting? “The championship, winning, celebrating together.”