Tag Archives: UEFA

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.

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Kazakhstan Victory Sparks Fury in Baku

6 Jun

Astana Arena ... the new home of Kazakh football

Football fans in Kazakhstan are in a state of shock after the national team managed to beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Astana last Friday. The victory gave Kazakhstan its first points in attempting to qualify for Euro 2012. In its five previous outings, the Kazakhs had failed to even score a goal.

Across the Caspian Sea in Baku, the reaction was one of anger at Azerbaijan manager Berti Vogts, who had toilet paper thrown at him at a press conference on his return from Kazakhstan. He was also presented with a ceremonial pitcher used for ritual ablutions.

There were other reports that Vogts had an ’emotional conversation’ with head of Azeri football Rovnag Abdullayev on his return to Baku. This result was a blow to the pride of the Azeris who now find themselves in a desperate struggle with the Kazakhs for the wooden spoon.

On the night in Astana, Kazakhstan’s hero was Sergei Gridin,  who was making his international debut He marked the occasion in great style with two second-half goals. The 24-year-old is a midfielder with FC Tobol Kostanay, who won the Kazakhstan league in 2010.

Vogts’s charges now have to play Germany on 7 June on home soil. When the teams met in Cologne in September 2010, the Azeris suffered a 6-1 defeat, so things do not look too bright for Vogts’s future on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Futsal Finals Come to Almaty

26 Apr

Baluan Sholak Sports Palace Almaty - venue for UEFA Futsal Cup finals 2011

Almaty will put itself on the map of international sporting events this weekend as it hosts the  UEFA Futsal Cup finals. It’s the first time ever that Kazakhstan has been chosen to host the finals of a UEFA tournament.

Local favourites Kairat Almaty will face off with Sporting Clube de Portugal on April29. Later that day SL Benfica, also from Portugal, will take on Italy’s  ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5. The winners of these two games will battle it out in the final on May 1.

Futsal is basically five-a-side football played in an indoor arena. The match consists of two halves of 20 minutes and unlimited substitutions are allowed at any time from a pool of 12 players.

Kairat are a force to be reckoned with in Futsal – it has made the semi-finals of this annual  tournament three times since 2006. Kazakh midfielder Dinmukhambet Suleimenov is confident that Kairat, which has eight Brazillians on its books, can use its home advantage and be crowned UEFA Futsal champions for 2011