The club can be found in Rize, a coastal city by the Black Sea in the north-east of Turkey. Like Simurq, the border of Georgia is not too far away, while the distance from Craven Cottage is approximately 2,050 miles.
Heavily influenced by their location, Rizespor’s nickname is the Black Sea Sparrowhawks.
Formed in 1953, the club was known simply as Rizespor for decades until – ahead of the 1990/91 campaign – they adopted the name Çaykur Rizespor. This is due to their sponsorship by Çaykur – Turkey’s national tea company who harvest their produce in Rize.
Rizespor have been something of a yo-yo club in recent years, having spent considerable time in both Turkey’s Süper Lig, as well as the division below. They are currently preparing for their second consecutive season since their return to the top flight, having endured a five-year absence.
Last year saw them secure a respectable 13th position in the Süper Lig, although their campaign would have been markedly stronger had they not gone on a barren 15-game winless run in the league from September until February.
After impressing as a youngster at first club Kahramanmaraşspor, Mehmet Özdilek was picked up by Turkish giants Beşiktaş where he went on to earn legendary status.
During a 13-year career with the Istanbul club, he won 14 trophies – including four league titles – and scored 130 goals in less than 400 games, despite the fact he operated as a midfielder. He also secured a couple of personal accolades: the league’s top goalscorer in 1987, and the Turkish Player of the Year award four years later.
Since hanging up his boots, Özdilek had been in charge of several teams in his homeland before taking over at Rizespor last summer. He also took in a spell as assistant coach with the national side.
Lomana Lua Lua: Well known to fans of English football, Lomana Lua Lua made his name with Colchester United in the late 1990s, with his form prompting Newcastle United to bid £2.25m for his services.
His time in the north-east was a bit stop-start and he moved onto Portsmouth – after a successful loan spell – in 2004. The Congolese forward enjoyed a more prosperous period in Hampshire during his three years at the club, including two goals in seven appearances against Fulham.