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How’s the Psychic Saiga Shaping Up?

23 Jun
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Psychic Saiga Predicts World Cup Winner

12 Jun

A  saiga with psychic powers, located in a secret location somewhere on the steppe in Kazakhstan is predicting a victory for Argentina in the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil.

Eingebaute Klimaanlage. Die bucklige Nase hilft den Saiga-Antilopen, Atemluft anzuwärmen und abzukühlen. So kommt sie im extremen Wetter der Steppe zurecht. Foto: dpa

A shaman contacted kazaxia  about the psychic saiga – it points a horn at one of two lamb bones bearing an etching of the national flags of the competing teams to select the winner. The unnamed saiga predicts that Argentina will triumph over England in the final. Brazil and Germany will be the unlucky losing semi-finalists, with the Germans grabbing third place on penalties.

For the competition’s opening match between Brazil and Croatia the long-nosed antelope refused to select a bone, suggesting the game could be a draw. For more predictions you can follow @psychicsaiga on twitter.

Saigas, which are members of the antelope family, once roamed the Eurasian steppe from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the Caucasus into Mongolia and Dzungaria. Their numbers are now critically endangered with herds restricted to  areas of Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.  

 

Alga Shaky Kangaroos!

1 Oct

Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy, better known to some UK supporters as the Shaky Kangaroos, is set to make its home debut in the Europa League this Thursday with the visit of Israel’s Maccabi Haifa to the Astana Arena, where Shakhter are playing its home legs. It is the first time a team from Kazakhstan has reached the group stages of Europe’s second tier contest.

Kazaxia is predicting a close run thing with both clubs losing their openers in Group L, with Shakhter losing 2-1 to Greece’s PAOK and Maccabi going down 1-0 at home to Holland’s AZ Alkmaar.

According to Lord Venal, the result will hinge on whether or not Shakhter will be allowed to sacrifice a sheep before the match. It was prevented from doing this before its second leg tie with Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic and subsequently lost 3-0 and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

The match has sparked a lot of interest in Kazakhstan with some fans even prepared to travel overnight by bus from the business hub of Almaty to the capital Astana.

For 20,000 tenge ($130) the bus will take the fans from Almaty’s Central Stadium to the Astana Arena with guaranteed match tickets, before making the 12-hour or so journey back down south. Kazaxia hopes that the trip will be worth it for these die hard fans.

Contrasting Marathon Responses in Central Asia

27 Apr

There have been contrasting responses to the Boston marathon bombings in Central Asia. While Uzbekistan has decided to cancel its marathon, Kazakhstan has decided to press ahead with its event in Almaty on 28 April.

The Almaty marathon will begin with a minute of silence for the Boston victims. The charity marathon is being run for the second year running and it’s expected to attract around 5,000 participants.

Meanwhile in Uzbekistan, the organisers pulled the plug on its race because of unspecified security threats. The marathon was being overseen by organisations close to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of President Islom Karimov.

Instead, a charity concert will be held – although at the time of writing it was not clear if Gulnara’s alter-ego, GooGoosha would be taking to the stage.

These two reactions show the contrasting natures of the Central Asian neighbours – Uzbekistan always plays up threats to its security and is spooked by terrorism, whereas Kazakhstan seems to be opting for the path of not giving in to terrorists.

Kazakhstan Cool on Links with Georgia, Azerbaijan Football League

17 Apr

Could Kazakhstan be on the verge of joining forces with Georgia and Azerbaijan to form a trans-Caspian football league?

If reports from NEWS.am, an Armenian source, are to be believed then the Georgian Football Federation is about to submit plans to the Union of European Football Unions (UEFA) for a super league combining the leagues of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. It appears that the Armenians are not invited.

The report ends with a denial from the Kazakhstan Football Federation, announcing that it has no plans to join such a league. This is probably a wise move as the travel for away matches would be huge. If, for instance, FC Dinamo Batumi were to face Almaty’s FC Kairat, they would be looking at an 8,600 km round trip. Not a very attractive prospect for either the players or the travelling supporters.

An added complication would be the fact that Kazakhstan’s top division plays its football from March to November, while Georgia and Azerbaijan play in the winter months from September to May.

Kazakhstan’s Rio Hopes Crash in Vienna

17 Oct

Kazakhstan’s extremely faint hopes of making it through the group stages to the Rio 2014 World Cup were finally extinguished last night as it crashed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Austria.

Having drawn 0-0 with the Austrians last Friday in Astana to get its first point of the campaign on the board, Kazakhstan crumbled in the return fixture. In its opening four games Kazakhstan has conceded eight goals while scoring only one.

Only the Faroe Islands has a worse record with no points on the board, nine goals conceded but two scored.  Next up for the Kazakhs will be Germany in Astana in March, but realistically its hopes for more points will come in its clashes with the part-timers of the Faroe Islands in the battle for group C’s wooden spoon.

Kazakhstan: Beware of Flying the Flag

12 Oct

Kazakhstan will be hoping this evening to get their attempt to qualify for the Rio 2012 World Cup back on track as they entertain Austria in the Astana Arena. Having lost the opening two matches, Kazakhstan will be desperate to get some points on the board. Last October, when the Austrians were last in town, the Kazakhs pulled off a surprise 0-0 draw.

One thing Austrian supporters should be careful of is displaying their national flag as it is an offence in Kazakhstan to display the flags of other nations in public.

Kazakh fans should also be wary after a 23-year-old Atyrau resident was fined in excess of $2,000 for displaying the Kazakh flag on the bonnet of his car, as reported on Bnews.kz.

Under Kazakh law, the flag can only be placed in official places. The display on the car’s bonnet was felt to diminish the importance of the flag.

I just hope the authorities don’t discover the Kazakh flag bathtowel I was given as a birthday present a few years back. I’m sure my bathroom cannot be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be an official place!