They played at The Showgrounds: Hakin Yakin

OUR popular mini-series continues as we recap on former Switzerland international and Basel star Hakin Yakin’s appearance at The Showgrounds for Grasshopper Zurich in 1997…

Yakin has played in Germany (Stuttgart), Turkey (Galatasaray) and Qatar (Al-Gharafa), but had the greatest influence while playing in his home country. Over a 14-year career, Yakin has played for Switzerland’s biggest clubs, including Basel (twice), Grasshoppers (twice), St. Gallen, Young Boys and Lucerne winning several Swiss Super League and several Swiss Cup medals.

The attacking midfielder scored against Coleraine in both legs of the UEFA Cup tie in 1997 and represented his country on 87 occasions. In more recent times, Yakin retired from playing in 2013 and entered management less than a year later.


Yakin was born in Basel on February 22, 1977, to Turkish parents and his brother and half-brothers are also professional footballers.

As a child Yakin played in the youth teams of his local side FC Concordia Basel. He signed his first professional contract with hometown club FC Basel in January 1995. He played his League debut for Basel on 12 April 1995 in the 1994–95 season in the match against Lausanne Sports. He was brought on in the 60th minute as replacement for Alexandre Rey and with his first touch of the ball, just 18 seconds later, he scored the goal to make it 3–0, a header (final score 5–0).

After two and a half years in Basel he transferred to Grasshopper Club Zürich, with manager Christian Gross, but could not establish himself, making most of his appearances as substitute, and he was loaned to FC St. Gallen for the second half of the 1997–98 season. He moved immediately into the starting eleven and so the loan was prolonged, before he returned to the Grasshoppers.

 During January 2001 he transferred back to Basel. At the end of the 2001–02 season Yakin won the national Double with Basel and a year later won the Swiss Cup again. He recalls the 2002–03 Champions League Group B match on 12 November 2002 against Liverpool in St. Jakob-Park as the “match of his life”. The game was drawn 3–3 and Yakin gave all three assists as Basel cruised to a 3–0 half-time lead as they qualified, one point above Liverpool, for the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League second group stage.

Curiosity during the championship play-off round of their 2002–03 season was, that in the home match in the St. Jakob-Park on 19 April 2003, Yakin had a good game and scored a perfect hat-trick during the first half of the game as Basel won 3–0 against Young Boys. Yakin showed his other side in the return match in the Stadion Neufeld in Bern one week later. As YB went a goal up he lost his temper and kicked the ball away, thus collecting a yellow card. Just ten minutes later he committed a rough foul and collecting a second yellow, thus yellow/red, to be sent-off.

His career was then overshadowed by some trouble regarding his club transfers, as his engagements outside Switzerland (Paris Saint-Germain, VfB Stuttgart, and Galatasaray) were not accompanied by luck. In 2005–06, Yakin returned to Switzerland, joining BSC Young Boys. In July 2008, Yakin signed a contract with Qatar champions Al-Gharafa, for a salary of around €2.5 million per year.

In March 2009, it was reported that Yakin had been training with the Grasshopper Club Zürich Under-21 side, coached by his brother Murat, in a bid to get fit. Yakin then signed a contract on 25 June 2009 in his homeland Switzerland with FC Luzern, running through to 30 June 2011. In summer 2011 his brother Murat became his manager at FC Luzern.

During the mid-season break in January 2012 Yakin transferred to AC Bellinzona in the Challenge League, the second tier of Swiss football. He played his team debut on 26 February in the 2–0 home win against Stade Nyonnais. He scored his first two goals for the club in the 3–2 away win against Aarau on 9 April 2012.

Yakin was capped 87 times for Switzerland, the first coming in 2000. He was offered Turkish nationality before being called up to the Swiss squad, but turned it down for personal reasons. He has played in UEFA Euro 2004, UEFA Euro 2008, and both the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup with his country.

On 11 June 2008, he scored the opening goal in the 32nd minute of Switzerland’s second Euro 2008 Group A match against Turkey, giving them a 1–0 lead and he refused to celebrate after the goal as a respect for his family’s birth country. However, he missed another chance shortly afterward as Turkey scored two second-half goals, resulting in Switzerland’s becoming the first team to be mathematically eliminated from their own tournament within five days of its beginning. However, in Switzerland’s final group match against Portugal on 15 June, Yakin added two second-half goals, the second a penalty kick, to secure their first ever win at the UEFA European Championship, 2–0. Yakin finished the tournament as joint-second highest goalscorer with Lukas Podolski, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and Semih Şentürk with three goals each, behind David Villa’s four goals.

Under new national team coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Yakin participated in seven of Switzerland’s ten qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, starting twice, and making five substitute appearances, scoring one goal in Switzerland’s opening qualifier against Israel. He announced his retirement from the Swiss national team on 4 October 2011.

He was hired as an assistant coach to his brother Murat at FC Schaffhausen in 2019. After Murat was hired as the manager of the Switzerland national football team in August 2021, Hakan served as a caretaker manager for Schaffhausen for 3 games. He returned to being assistant coach for the remainder of the season under Martin Andermatt. Together, they coached Schaffhausen to a second place finish in the 2021-22 Swiss Challenge League, but missed out on promotion in the promotion playoff.

On 4 June 2022, he was confirmed as the new head coach at Schaffhausen, as Andermatt’s contract was not renewed. This appointment is contingent on Yakin receiving his UEFA Pro Licence.


The match was played on Wednesday, July 30, 1997 as Coleraine hosted the second leg of their UEFA Cup tie. The Bannsiders had lost the first leg 3-0 a week prior to the Swiss side coming to the Ballycastle Road, with Yakin on the scoresheet.

He goes by the name of Augustine Ahinful and the midfield genius that tormented Coleraine certainly proved to be a handful as the Swiss giants turned on the style against their mesmerized opponents.

Grasshoppers had a deflected shot and two own goals to boost their tally, also a controversial goal when the Coleraine defence hesitated when the linesman’s flag was raised, then lowered!

A brilliant dipping 25-yard drive from O’Dowd shocked the visitors for Coleraine’s goal and a quick Tommy McCallion free from the half-way line dropped over the bar with the ‘keeper beaten.

COLERAINE: Lamont, McAuley, Brunton, Aspinall, Gaston (Clanachan ’46 mins), Young, Shiels (Shipp ’85 mins), O’Dowd, McCallan, McAllister (McKeever ’18 mins), McCallion.

Subs Not Used: Surgeon, McIvor, Canning.

GRASSHOPPER ZURICH: Walker, Thuler, Christ. Esposito (Tickva ’46 mins), Moldovan (Yakin ’59 mins), Haas, Ahinful, Magnin (Gamperle ’65 mins), Mazzarelli, Subiat, Smijanic.

Subs Not Used: Turkyilmaz, Vogel, Gren, Kobel.

Referee: Algirdas Dubinskas (Lithuania)