FFA Cup minnows Hume City are on the brink of signing a Turkish international to keep their fairytale run alive when they face A-League side Central Coast Mariners in the quarter-finals later this month.
The Victorian club were dealt a significant blow when goalkeeper Michael Weier went down with a separated shoulder.
Sources have told The World Game that the NPL side have gone international in search of a replacement, with a deal with Turkish international goalkeeper Cenk Gönen in its final stages.
It is understood that the northwest Melbourne club – which was eliminated from the NPL Victoria finals by Oakleigh Cannons in the same game that the talented Weier injured his shoulder – are looking to bring the two-time capped keeper as a guest player for their clash with the Mariners on September 17.
The Broadmeadows based club is now just waiting on approval from Football Federation Australia to field the goalkeeper against the Mariners as they vie to match their dream run of 2015 and reach the FFA Cup semi-finals for the second time in their history.
“We’ve done our due diligence to try and find a goalkeeper with adequate expertise and experience to match the guest player criteria and we’re working hard through all parties to make this happen,” Hume Head Coach Nick Hegarty told The World Game.
“The club and the federations are all working together. There are obstacles that have to be overcome, and I think everyone’s looking for a successful outcome, so we hope it works in our favour.
“It should be a very simple thing once the approval gets done and we’d expect him to not only be here for the game but a good period of training.
“It should hopefully be a good experience for everybody.”
Thirty-one-years-old, Gönen made two appearances for Turkey in friendlies against Georgia and Finland back in 2012, as well as serving as an unused backup in subsequent World Cup qualifiers. He returned to the national fold during World Cup qualification for Russia 2018; once again an unused backup in qualifiers against Ukraine and Croatia.
Born in the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast, he began his professional career with Süper Lig side Denizlispor before earning a move to Turkish giants Beşiktaş in 2010.
He went on to make 93 appearances across all competitions with Kara Kartallar, keeping a clean sheet in 28 of them, and was part of the side that lifted the Turkish Cup in 2010.
One of his most memorable performances was when he was in goal for Besiktas as they knocked out Liverpool in the 2014-15 Europa League.
Moving to Galatasaray in 2015, Gönen made 14 appearances for Cimbom in two seasons at the club – all bar one coming in the Turkish Cup. He then made the move to Spanish side Málaga CF in 2017 before recently becoming a free agent.
Hume have so dat beaten NPL ACT side Tigers FC in the Round of 32 and NPL SA side Adelaide Olympic FC in the Round of 16 to set up a clash with Alen Stajčić’s side.
The Mariners, who have advanced out of the Round of 32 for the first time since 2014 under Stajčić.
Should the Broadmeadows based club receive approval from the FFA, Gönen will provide a significant boost to a Hume side looking hoping to repeat their feats of 2015, when then player Hegarty and his teammates went down 3-0 to eventual Cup winners Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.