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(FM'17) Кracking Кyrgyzstan - An Impossible International Dream. The Reboot.

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Earlier in the year, I started a save called 'The Impossible Dream - An International Football Experiment'. The save followed the progress of a minnow football nation as I attempted to drag them into a competitive state by controlling their International side through all levels from the Senior side, down through the age group sides to the Under-19's. In the fifteen months or so that the save covered, we managed a modicum of success, competing well in the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifers, failing to make the the final round of Qualifiers, but finishing third in a Group we were seeded fourth in. The Under-23's missed a great chance to put the nation into a major tournament Finals, the Under-20's and Under-19's struggled to find any consistency. The save would eventually become and unstable, and unplayable, but if you haven't already done so, and would like to read the story of that save, you can find it right here <.

For those who have read it, thanks very much. I can only apologise that the story had to end at that point, but this is the way I chose to play the game, and I'm not prepared to change that. I like to start at the low levels, and work my way up, and the use of expansion data makes those lower levels more realistic. As the title says, this is the reboot, this time using FM'17. As I'm using the new version of the game, and a whole new set of data expansions, there will be changes, which is regretable.

On the plus side, the game will pick up very close to where it finished, February 2016, with the World Cup Qualifiers done and the Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers to be drawn soon. If we're lucky, we'll get a draw as seemingly kind as the one we got first time around, where I really fancied our chances of reaching a major tournament Finals for the first time. There's one less side to manage this time around, as the Under-20's side does not exist in the '17 version of the game, though there is an Under-21 League, which may help some of younger players get some regular football. The National Pool is much bigger than it was last time around, there are plenty of players who featured last time around who are here again, there are also some new names as well. In addition, you can expect to see some position changes, just to confuse matters even further.

Asia is about to get even more competitive as a continent, as many nations now have their League system enabled in the game, giving them the same opportunities as Kyrgyzstan to develop young players and threaten the status quo of the traditional heavyweights. I've also made sure the countries around the Baltic, Southern and Eastern areas of Europe are enabled, which will hopefully create opportunities for clubs to bring in players from those nations, and maybe even export their best players through those gateways into Europe. The full list of nations that have their Leagues enabled is listed at the foot of this post.

My first job is to move every single available player to Kyrgyzstan into the National Pool. That gives us a total of 328 players, of which 112 players are players aged 15 or 16 with no club right now. I'm hoping not to find myself in a position similar to the one in the original save, where I felt like I had no option but to take a club job to try and save the careers of some players who might otherwise have retired. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I'll be so successful that clubs will be falling over themselves to employ me and I won't be able to resist. One challenge at a time though, eh? 

Start Point :- February 2016
Sunday League Footballer. National 'A' Licence Holder.
Large Database (approx 100,000 players).
Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulagria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Faroe Islands, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, New Zealand, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the read. As always, questions and comments are always welcome. Cheers.

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Great to see you picking this one up off the floor and having another go - I don't know how you go into so much detail, but it must be so frustrating to be constantly thwarted by crashes. Hopefully the issues that plagued the last one have vanished on the new version - I'll be reading along and seeing what you manage to do with the mighty Kyrgyz!

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4 hours ago, EvilDave said:

Great to see you picking this one up off the floor and having another go - I don't know how you go into so much detail, but it must be so frustrating to be constantly thwarted by crashes. Hopefully the issues that plagued the last one have vanished on the new version - I'll be reading along and seeing what you manage to do with the mighty Kyrgyz!

The detail is on account of me being an absolute sad case Dave haha. I was really enjoying the original, and fancied our chances of getting a spot in the Asian Nations Cup Finals. Hopefully the draw is kind to us again. Thanks for the comments, always good to have you along.

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February 2016.

37 year old Alexandr Krestinin has been axed as Manager of Kyrgyzstan, and I take his place. The FA are paying me £350 a week to take the role, and at this point they have not announced their expectations for the role. They are going to wait until the next competitive fixtures are announced before setting any targets. I will be making myself unsackable from the role to allow the project to continue. Kyrgyzstan start the save in 129th place in the FIFA World Rankings, which is considerably higher than we managed in the fifteen months I had in charge last time around. There is one Friendly booked into the calendar to date, with a match scheduled in the Philippines for next month. The Under-23's and Under-19's will also take teams to South East Asia for matches against the same opposition. The managers of both of those age group sides have been released from their duties, and I will take control of both. There is also a 'B' side, but I don't envisage there being many, if any, fixtures for the second string.

The press conference is the usual barrage of questions that you can't answer when you've been in the job less than a day. They want to know if Vadim Kharchenko will continue as Captain, and if I'm up to the task of progressing the nation forward. To help with that, I'm on the lookout for some staff to come in and assist. 32 year old Ulugbek Esenkulov comes in as the Assistant Manager for the Under-19's, while 33 year old Ulugbek Joldoshov is the Senior National sides new Goalkeeping Coach. Another 33 year old accepts the same position with the Under-23's, that person being Murolim Akhmataliev. 32 year old Ernist Dolzhenko is next in through the door, and he will be the Senior sides Coach, while 33 year old Sergey Aryee will take on the Goalkeeping Coach role for the Under-19's. To date, no one appointed has any International experience, something the media have been all too quick to point out. That is quashed when 40 year old Valeriy Berezovskiy is appointed as Assistant Manager for the Under-23's, as he has 24 Senior caps and 1 goal for his country. He is quickly joined in the top age group setup by Sergei Ivanov, a 15 times capped player who spent most of his career in Kazakhstan, and had a spell in Russia. He is the Under-23's new Coach. Last in through the door is another formaer International, 43 year old Zakir Jalilov, who with 29 caps is the most experienced of the lot and was only two caps away from being the joint record cap holder. He will fulfill a Coach role for the Under-19's.

The fixture list for the next International Window is padded out a little bit, as the Senior's game with the Philippines is now the first part of a double header for us, as right after that we'll travel back to Bishkek where we'll play Sri Lanka. The Under-19's will also return home to play another match, as they will host Brunei Darussalam. Without playing a match, we have moved up three spots in the FIFA World Rankings this month, and we now find ourselves in 126th spot. The highest ranking the nation has ever achieved is 100th place, and that sounds like a good target to try and hit for us.

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March 2016.

This will be a much busier month for us, with five fixtures in all, including three in the Philippines. During that International Window, the race to earn a spot in the 2019 Asian Nations Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates, will begin, with the Qualifying rounds being drawn for the smaller nations. Our prospects in that draw are enhanced just three days before we name our Senior, Under-23 and Under-19 squads, as the latest FIFA World Rankings are released. We're up another three places, taking us into 123rd spot and right behind Bahrain and North Korea. We're now ranked above countries who might be expected to be stronger than us, such as Thailand and Kuwait. It remains to be seen whether that will do us any favours when the draw is made, which will happen on the day I take control of the Senior side for the first time (in this save at least). Speaking of first games, the squads for those matches have now been named.

Kyrgyzstan Senior National Squad Announcement
Philippines - Away (25/3/16 at Iloilo Sports Center, Iloilo City, Philippines) International Friendly
& Sri Lanka - Home (29/3/16 at Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) International Friendly

| Name               | Position           | Age      | Club                    | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Kirill Priadkin    | GK                 | 38       | Kaisar (KAZ)            | 6'3"     | £2.8K    | 8        | 0        | 
| Pavel Matyash      | GK                 | 28       | UiTM (MAS)              | 6'6"     | £9.75K   | 8        | 0        | 
| Ruslan Amirov      | GK                 | 25       | Alga Bishkek            | 6'1"     | £800     | 2        | 0        | 
| Manas Zhutanov     | D (RLC)            | 24       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Marat Ajiniyazov   | D (RC)             | 25       | Dordoy                  | 5'3"     | £925     | 0        | 0        | 
| Valery Kichin      | D (LC)             | 23       | Yenisey (RUS)           | 5'11"    | £125K    | 14       | 0        | 
| Sergei Kutsov      | D (C)              | 38       | Spartak Semei (KAZ)     | 6'3"     | £2.2K    | 1        | 0        | 
| Shuhrat Rahmonov   | D (C)              | 27       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £1.1K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Tamirlan Kozubaev  | D (C)              | 21       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £1.4K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Sherzod Shakirov   | D/WB (L)           | 25       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'11"    | £1.9K    | 8        | 0        | 
| Vadim Kharchenko   | D/WB/M (R)         | 31       | Dordoy                  | 5'9"     | £325     | 23       | 1        | 
| Daniel Tagoe       | DM                 | 30       | Hala (BRH)              | 5'10"    | £2.8K    | 13       | 0        | 
| Sergej Evljuskin   | DM, M (C)          | 28       | Kassel (GER)            | 5'10"    | £58K     | 0        | 0        | 
| Anatolii Vlasichev | M (C)              | 27       | Omani (OMA)             | 6'0"     | £30K     | 13       | 0        | 
| Pavel Sidorenko    | M (C)              | 28       | Alga Bishkek            | 5'9"     | £1.1K    | 7        | 0        | 
| Anton Zemlianukhin | M/AM (RC)          | 27       | Sukhothai (THA)         | 5'9"     | £275K    | 19       | 6        | 
| Karim Izrailov     | M/AM (LC)          | 29       | Navy FC (THA)           | 6'0"     | £62K     | 3        | 0        | 
| Edgar Bernhardt    | AM (RL)            | 29       | Rödinghausen (GER)      | 5'9"     | £56K     | 8        | 1        | 
| Viktor Maier       | AM (RC)            | 25       | FC Emmen (NED)          | 6'0"     | £81K     | 9        | 0        | 
| Ahletdin Israilov  | AM (RC), ST (C)    | 21       | Cherkaskyi Dnipro (UKR) | 5'7"     | £185K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Mirlan Murzaev     | ST (C)             | 25       | Uşakspor (TUR)          | 6'0"     | £1.1K    | 22       | 4        | 
| Vladimir Verevkin  | ST (C)             | 28       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £1.2K    | 9        | 4        | 
| Vitalij Lux        | ST (C)             | 27       | Unterhaching (GER)      | 6'0"     | £45.5K   | 13       | 3        | 

Looks like I might get a tough time trying to keep the Kyrgyzstan media happpy. They're not happy that a pair of 38 year olds have been selected in the squad. In all fairness, I would rather not have to select players of that age either, but Kirill Priadkin is still the best keeper available to us, and Sergei Kutsov has spent fourteen seasons playing in Kazakhstan's Premier League, and I believe he can still cut it at the top level. He should easily have more than just one cap for his country.

The media think I should be selecting younger players, but then they say that they don't understand why players like the defensive trio of Tamirlan Kozubaev, Shuhrat Rahmonov and Marat Ajiniyazov have been selected. They are much happier with the inclusion and possible first caps for Sergej Evljuskin and Ahletdin Israilov, who take their place in the selection of midfielders who all play outside of their home country. Israilov has just been granted a Ukrainian passport, and while he says this is simply for the purpose of not being classed as a foreign player, I'm not prepared to risk losing him from our National Pool. The large number of overseas players in mentioned, though not necessarily as a negative. This is probably the lowest numbers of players from Dordoy Bishkek and Alay Osh ever in a Senior National Squad.

Kyrgyzstan Under-23 National Squad Announcement
Philippines Under-23's - Away (24/3/16 - Panaad Sports Complex, Bacolod, Philippines) International Under-23 Friendly

| Name                   | Position          |  Age  | Club                 | Height    | Value     | Caps      | Goals     | 

| Roman Mirzakandov      | GK                | 23    | Abdysh-Ata           | 6'2"      | £650      | 0         | 0         | 
| Kalysbek Akimaliev     | GK                | 23    | RUOR-97              | 6'5"      | £0        | 0         | 0         | 
| Marsel' Islamkulov     | GK                | 21    | Astana-64 (KAZ)      | 6'2"      | £1.5K     | 0         | 0         | 
| Kayrat Kol'baev        | D (R)             | 23    | Ala-Too              | 5'10"     | £775      | 0         | 0         | 
| Bekjan Kurmanbek       | D (L)             | 22    | Kara-Balta           | 5'10"     | £775      | 0         | 0         | 
| Sanjar Sharsheev       | D (L)             | 21    | Dordoy               | 5'10"     | £375      | 0         | 0         | 
| Nursultan Atamurzaev   | D (C)             | 24    | Alay                 | 6'4"      | £950      | 0         | 0         | 
| Nursultan Aripov       | D (C)             | 21    | Ala-Too              | 6'0"      | £900      | 0         | 0         | 
| Ilgiz Ermekov          | D (C)             | 22    | RUOR-97              | 5'11"     | £0        | 0         | 0         | 
| Akramzhon Umarov       | D (C), DM         | 21    | Alay                 | 6'1"      | £1.2K     | 1         | 0         | 
| Omurbek Joroev         | D/WB (R)          | 21    | Aldier               | 6'0"      | £475      | 0         | 0         | 
| Temirlan Keneshov      | WB (L)            | 23    | Abdysh-Ata           | 5'10"     | £1.1K     | 0         | 0         | 
| Ermek Nusubaliev       | D (C), DM, M (C)  | 22    | Alga Bishkek         | 5'11"     | £475      | 0         | 0         | 
| Kayrat Jyrgalbek       | M (R)             | 21    | Abdysh-Ata           | 6'1"      | £1K       | 0         | 0         | 
| Raul' Dzhalilov        | M (L), AM (RL)    | 21    | Tobol (KAZ)          | 5'10"     | £12K      | 0         | 0         | 
| Bekjan Sagynbaev       | M (C)             | 21    | Ala-Too              | 5'9"      | £1K       | 0         | 0         | 
| Bahtiyar Duyshobekov   | M (C)             | 20    | Unattached           | 5'9"      | £0        | 0         | 0         | 
| Sharshenbek Bakyt      | M (C)             | 21    | Alga Bishkek         | 5'7"      | £1K       | 0         | 0         | 
| Bektur Talgat          | M (C)             | 21    | Churchill Bros (IND) | 5'9"      | £13K      | 0         | 0         | 
| Bekmyrza Duvanaev      | AM (C)            | 23    | Alay                 | 5'8"      | £1.2K     | 0         | 0         |
| Alexandr Tolkanev      | AM (R), ST (C)    | 23    | Kara-Balta           | 6'1"      | £1.1K     | 0         | 0         | 
| Kayumjan Sharipov      | ST (C)            | 24    | Unattached           | 5'10"     | £0        | 5         | 1         | 
| Bolot Ernis            | ST (C)            | 21    | Aldier               | 5'10"     | £575      | 0         | 0         | 

For the Under-23's, I've gone for almost entirely elder players, as I believe this group could be competitive, though there may be some time to wait before they get the chance to prove it in any kind of competitive match. The weakest part of this squad is in goal, where Marsel' Islambukov is head and shoulders above the competition, and is currently the Vice Captain for his club in Kazakhstan. In defence, Akramzhon Umarov has a cap for the Senior side, and has been playing regularly for Alay Osh in the Asian Confederations Cup. He's going to need to need to produce some scintilating form to get back into that squad, as statistically, he is lacking top quality. Ermek Nusubaliev plays much deeper than he does in the original save, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, while Raul' Dzhalilov is the most likely to make the step up to Senior duty in the near future. Bektur Talgat has made a brave move by going out to play in India's top tier I-League, though that move would've been sweetened by the much higher wages on offer. Bahtiyar Duyshobekov has taken a big step forward from the original save, and is included to put him in the shop window as he is currently unattached. It's the same deal for Kayumjan Sharipov, who would likely have been adding to his five Senior caps if he had a club. Instead, he'll increase his sharpness in a highly competitive group of strikers in this Under-23 squad.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19 National Squad Announcement
Philippines Under-19's - Away (24/3/16 - Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila, Philippines) International Under-19 Friendly
& Brunei Darussalam Under-19's - Home (28/3/16 - Dolon Omurzakov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) International Under-19 Friendly

| Name                      | Position          | Age      | Club                | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 

| Sergey Skorik             | GK                | 19       | Dordoy              | 5'9"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Georgiy Slavnyi           | GK                | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'4"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdulnur Mamytov          | GK                | 18       | Alay                | 6'5"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Danislam Zagidulin        | D (R)             | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Munosib Samsaliev         | D (R)             | 16       | Unattached          | 5'1"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Boris Drozdetskiy         | D (C)             | 19       | Dordoy              | 5'6"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Almazbek Malikov          | D (C)             | 19       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'4"     | £240     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ayzar Akmatov             | D (C)             | 17       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulan Taalaybek            | D (C)             | 17       | Kara-Balta          | 6'0"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Timur Jumashev            | D/WB (L)          | 19       | Dordoy              | 5'7"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Nurtay Kurmantay          | D/WB (L)          | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ernist Batyrkanov         | DM, M (C)         | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Vladimir Badalov          | M (L)             | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'0"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov | M (C)             | 18       | Alay                | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Aidar Mambetaliev         | M (C)             | 17       | Alga Bishkek        | 6'2"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Temirlan Atabaev          | M/AM (R)          | 20       | Ala-Too             | 5'7"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Semetey Daniyarov         | M/AM (C)          | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'6"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Dastan Kylychbekov        | M/AM (C)          | 20       | Ala-Too             | 5'7"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Viktor Kelm               | AM (RL)           | 19       | Bezanija (SRB)      | 6'1"     | £3.1K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Almaz Omoraliev           | ST (C)            | 18       | Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia  | 6'0"     | £250     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kadyrbek Shaarbekov       | ST (C)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'10"    | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Artur Il'yaev             | ST (C)            | 19       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Eldar Taalaybek           | ST (C)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £500     | 0        | 0        |

There's plenty of famliar names from last time around in this Under-19 squad that is selected almost entirely from domestic based clubs, with Ala-Too providing a starting lineup's worth of players by themselves alone. Maybe there is set to be a shift in power in the coming years from the traditional front runner's in this country. The one player selected who ply's his trade outside the borders of the homeland is Viktor Kelm, a quick and talented winger who is currently playing for Serbian second tier side, FK Bezanija, who are based in the capital city of Belgrade. We're short at right back, so clubless 16 year old Munosib Samsaliev is drafted in, and no, that isn't a typo, he really is just 5'1 tall. There is a place in the squad for the very unfortunately named Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov, while one of the favourable things to happen with the loss of the original save is that we have Dastan Kylychbekov back in the ranks, after he retired early in the first attempt. Up front, the Ala-Too lads may not have things all their own way, as versatile striker Almaz Omoraliev may take some keeping out of the side.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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March 2016 (cont).

The sides congregate at a Bishkek hotel, before the entire camp of players and staff travel en masse on a specially chartered flight to the Philippines. After arriving in Manila, The Under-19 squad move to their capital city hotel, while the Senior and Under-23 squads continue their journey south east. They play their fixtures on two seperate islands amongst the vast array of settlements that make up this South East Asian nation. The Seniors disembark next, heading to Iloilo City, where they will play their match in the smallest venue of the three that will host a Kyrgyzstan side over the next few days. The Under-23's move on across the bay, past Guimaras Island, and onto Bacolod. All three teams will meet again in Manila in a few days to make the return trip back to Bishkek.

At a time of year where winter is just starting to give way to the spring in Kyrgyzstan, the conditions that greet us in the Philippines, are nothing short of sweltering. The mid afternoon thunderstorms that are an every day part of life here, bring relief after an almost stifling day in the heat. Training is done early in the morning, and then again in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Out in the provinces where the Senior's and Under-23's are based, there is little to do, and boredom is a danger for the players. Internet speeds are not good, so it's fortunate that I have the gift of time travel to manage both sides. Mark Caterall* and the English FA's remote management plan would find huge problems in the corners of Asia that we will find ourselves in over the coming years @CFuller. Besides, we spent all our money on the chartered flight.

Vadim Kharchenko is to continue as the Captain of the Senior National side. The 31 year old Dordoy right back is the best full back we have, and one of the few who will be a clear first choice. Nearing the quarter century of appearances, he's the favourite to beat Vyacheslav Amin's record total of 31 caps for Kyrgyzstan. His Vice Captain was nothing like as easy a choice. It's a man who will need to find a club before he can truly compete for selection, and to find a club, he'll need to get over his current injury issues. 27 year old striker Ildar Amirov is short on height at 5'5, but large on heart and skill. You won't find a shorter guy who competes better in the air, and he's a superb finisher too. He has played football in Thailand, Turkey and India as well as in his homeland. I certainly hope he can get himself fit and find a club soon.

While attention is mainly focussed on the Senior sides match tomorrow, the Under-23's and Under-19's have Thursday appointments, and it's the Under-23's who are up first of all.

Thursday 24th March 2016 - 17:00pm
Under-23's International Friendly
Panaad Sports Complex, Bacolod, Philippines
Philippines Under-23's v Kyrgyzstan Under-23's
Attendance :-
17. Weather :- 31c.

Slightly strangely, this 15,000 capacity bowl of a stadium is the largest of the three venues that will host a Philippines v Kyrgyzstan fixture over the back end of this week. It's even more bizarre when there's only just over a dozen souls present to watch the match, making it a very strange atmosphere to play in, and the late afternoon heat isn't going to make things very pleasant either. We'll be playing this match in a basic 4-4-2 formation, with the wingers deployed in a defensive role to help try and prevent the oppositions full backs find time and space to send in crosses.

From the outset, it was clear that Raul' Dzhalilov was going to be able to get at home right back, John Rances. He jinked past his twice in the opening two minutes, the first time his cross was blocked, the second it sailed right into the waiting arms of Philippines keeper, Florenco Badelic. Our winger was involved again five minutes in, when he struck a free kick from a dangerous position with a lot of power, which just cleared the cross bar. In the 14th minute another set piece produced the breakthrough. After a corner into our box was only half cleared out to Luke Woodland, the ball found it's way to Rances, and he crossed to the near corner of the six yard box, where John Regis, who as far as I can make out is not the former British sprinter, collected the ball and slammed a shot inside the near post to open the scoring. They nearly doubled that lead just two minutes later, Regis involved again after picking up a pass from John Kanayama, moving into the box and then passing square to David Diamante. He smashed his shot towards the target, Marsel' Islamkulov produced a stunning stop to keep the ball out. Midway through the half, from out just beyond the left corner of our penalty box, Diomante sent a curling effort towards the top corner, Islambukov ending up in the back of the net, the ball didn't, though our keeper needed every inch of his height to reach it and push it over the top. Our keeper would make a further stop from a well struck Regis effort, while Kanayama fired a free kick wide of the target. From the resulting goal kick, we launched our first attack for quite some time, Kayrat Kol'baev making ground down the right before sending the ball forward to Kayrat Jyrgalbek. With his path blocked down the wing, he sent the ball into the centre circle for Bahtiyar Duyshobekov, who switched play with a raking 40 yard pass out to Dzhalilov. The winger turned the jets on, and made ground quickly down the left, before sending a low pass skidding into the centre, where Reynald Villareal never managed to sort his feet out, and he deflected the cross past his own keeper and the match was all square.

Both sides made a change at the break, Philippines withdrawing Jorrel Aristorenas after he took a knock, while we took off Jyrgalbek as he had been pretty ineffective, Bolot Ernis came on to replace him, and would go up front, with Alexandr Tolkanev moving out to the right wing. Kayumjan Sharipov came close to putting us in front, he was an inch away from getting on the end of Kol'baev's cross from deep. But we found ourselves behind for a second time just over ten minutes after the restart, and this time it was the hosts who would benefit from a deflection. Everyone was waved into the box as the free kick was lined up, but then the ball was passed short and square to O.J Porteria, who had been on the park all of thirty seconds. He danced past two defenders who came out of the wall to close him down, and then let fly with a shot that was heading well wide, until it struck the foot of Ilgiz Ermekov and looped over the head of Islambukov, into the net. That was bitter pill to swallow. Still, the players didn't let their heads drop, and Dzhalilov took the ball on the left edge of the box, and sent it backwards to Duyshobekov. The midfielder wanted to let a shot go, he really did, but there just wasn't an opening to do that. So instead, he sent the ball right back to Dzhalilov, who had moved into the box and ran off the shoulder of a defender. He let the ball run onto his favoured left foot, and then held off a defender, before hitting a hard rising shot past Badelic, inside the near post, and high into the roof of the net. We'd dragged ourselves level for a second time, and this match was now there for the winning. I made my five remaining subs, centred around my defence and midfield. Both sides would create chances to win this one, Porteria's cross to the far post picked out Regis, but he couldn't guide his header on target. Dzhalilov had the same problem with a free kick that he tried to get to dip and curl, and just ended up missing the target wildly. Philippines would have one last chance to win with five minutes to go, as the ball was curled down the right channel. Jesus Melliza chased it down, and kept the ball in play. With players moving into dangerous areas, he picked out the run of Richard Talaroc who was just moving into the box, and he smashed a first time shot that crashed back off the underside of the bar and was hacked clear.

Philippines Under-23's (1) 2 - John Regis (14), Ilgiz Ermekov (57 og)
Kyrgyzstan Under-23's (1) 2 - Reynald Villareal (33 og), Raul' Dzhalilov (64)
Marsel' Islambukov; Kayrat Kol'baev (Omurbek Joroev 66), Ilgiz Ermekov (Nursultan Aripov 66), Nursultan Atamurzaev (Akramzhon Umarov 66), Bekjan Kurmanbek; Kayrat Jyrgalbek (Bolot Ernis 45), Bahtiyar Duyshobekov (capt - Sharshenbek Bakyt 66), Ermek Nusubaliev (Bektur Talgat 66), Raul' Dzhalilov; Alexandr Tolkanev, Kayumjan Sharipov.
Unused Substitutes :- Roman Mirzakandov (GK), Sanjar Sharsheev, Temirlan Keneshov, Bekjan Sagynbaev, Bekmyrza Duvanaev, Kalysbek Akimaliev (GK).
Possession :- 45% - 55%. Shots on Target :- 7 - 1. Man of the Match :- Raul' Dzhalilov (Kyrgyzstan Under-23's).

That was certainly an entertaining start to the International Window, and the only fixture for the Under-23's in this run of games. There were some good outings, particularly from Raul' Dzhalilov on the left wing, and Marsel' Islambukov in goal. We had plenty of possession, especially for an away game, but our shooting was poor, with just one shot on target from nine chances created. There is much work to do with this group, though they don't appear to have any competitive matches for around a year. Their International duty has come to an end, and they will have a day or two to relax before linking back up with the Under-19's and Senior's and travelling back to Bishkek.

*Did you just say Mark who? Are you joking? Keep up will you! I'm referring to the latest offering from Chris, where a former professional footballer is the latest man tasked with ending England's miserable record in major tournaments. If you're still none the wiser, you should get caught up right here <

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Cheers for the nice little reference to my story, Neil. (By the way, it's Catterall with two T's. :p)

Also nice to see that John Regis has found a new sporting career after retiring from athletics. Not sure about his change of nationality, though, nor the doctoring of his passport to make him about three decades younger. :lol:

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12 hours ago, CFuller said:

Cheers for the nice little reference to my story, Neil. (By the way, it's Catterall with two T's. :p)

Also nice to see that John Regis has found a new sporting career after retiring from athletics. Not sure about his change of nationality, though, nor the doctoring of his passport to make him about three decades younger. :lol:

With a change in date of birth like that, you'd have thought it would've Cameroon where he might have ended up. That's not the biggest change though, he's actually quite fast these days 😂

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March 2016 (cont).

After the Under-23's kicked off proceedings, the Under-19's were next into action shortly after they finished their game. Around 450 miles north in the capital city of Manila, in a stadium that was build in 1934, yet looked at least 100 years older than that, and had a pitch that looked like it had been prepared by a tractor, our Under-19's were ready to kick off their first match of a double header. The heat had been stifling nearly three hours earlier in Bacolod, but someone had turned the oven up another few notches in the city of Manila, where at 7:30pm, the mercury was still at 40c.

Thursday 24th March 2016 - 7:30pm.
Under-19's International Friendly
Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila, Philippines
Philippines Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
246. Weather :- 40c.

Lining up in exactly the same 4-4-2 formation that the Under-23's had deployed a few hours earlier, our Under-19's side look fairly strong on paper, and also have some capable player on the bench once the First XI is selected. Viktor Kelm is the player who looks like a future star on this side, though it's very difficult to ignore the potential of striker Almaz Omoraliev as well.

We nearly had the lead with just 25 seconds on the clock, Semetey Daniyarov sent the ball to the edge of the box, where Ernist Batyrkanov met it with a half volley from 20 yards out that whistled just past the far post. In the tenth minute, Viktor Kelm had his first chance to run at the opposition defence, and it resulted in the ball eventually being switched to the other wing, and then back into the middle, where Daniyarov picked out Eldar Taalaybek, who hit a shot on the turn that was caught fairly comfortably by Carl Rodriguez. We would create another chance in the 14th minute, this time down the left wing. Young winger Vladimir Badalov crossed it, Daniyarov took the ball down, and then found Almaz Omoraliev, who twisted his body well to take on the volley at an awkward angle, and caught it sweetly, beating Rodriguez and finding the net just inside the far post to put us ahead. The Philippines came roaring right back at us, and Eric Giganto chased the ball down the left, and then sent a low cross in for Troy Limbo. The striker took the ball under control, and tried to place his shot, Sergey Skorik saved with his feet, kicking the ball wide. We really should have doubled our lead when Danislam Zagidulin whipped in a cross that Miguel Severino tried to send back to Rodriguz, but Taalaybek got in between them, and Rodriguez had to make a superb point blank save, though our striker really should've buried that one. Both sides would create more chances before the break, with our hosts coming closest, Skorik forced into a good low save when Limbo struck a shot from the edge of the box. Boris Drozdetskiy picked up a yellow card late in the half.

Both sides made a pair of changes at the break, with Philippines making a change at each end, with Giganto coming off, and 16 year old Mark Reyes replacing Rodriguez in goal. We brought on a teenager of our own, with Munosib Samsaliev coming on at right back for Zagidulin. In our other change, Baktyrkanov was replaced in centre midfield by Dastan Kylychbekov. We would continue our nice play down the flanks in the early stages of the second half, and that would result in an effort from Badalov that skidded past Reyes, but just beyond the far post. By the time we reached the hour point, Philippines had made another five changes, while I made another two of my own just after that mark, with Almazbek Malikov replacing Ayzar Akmatov in our back four, and Artur Il'yaev coming on up front to replace Taalaybek. Within moments, we had found a way to double our lead, Kylychbekov not only making a tackle in midfield, but then slicing the home defence open with a long ball, and Omoraliev easily outpaced a defender to reach the ball, and then when Reyes charged out towards him, the striker slipped the ball under the keepers dive to net his second of the evening. Now, we were cruising. Carlo Casambre missed a chance to bring the Philippines back into the game in the 78th minute, his free kick effort cleared the ball, but just brushed the angle of upright and cross bar on it's way over. However his fellow substitute colleagues found a way through with ten minutes remaining, Andrew Santiago lifting the ball over our defensive line, and picking out David Fornea, who thumped an unstoppable volley past Skorik and just under the cross bar to make it a contest once more. He had done more than that though, he had clearly caused a sense of panic in my young players, and as I had players warm up with a sense of urgency, Severino found Norman Francisco, and he picked out Fornea, who was strong enough to hold off Drozdetskiy, and clinical enough to lift the ball past Skorik and level the match in the 83rd minute. He would have the only real chance to win the match too, but his effort in the first minute of injury time only grazed the outside of the post.

Philippines Under-19's (0) 2 - David Fornea (80,83)
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (1) 2 - Almaz Omoraliev (14,66)
Sergey Skorik; Danislam Zagidulin (Munosib Samsaliev 45), Boris Drozdetskiy (Ulan Taalaybek 84), Ayzar Akmatov (Almazbek Malikov 63), Nurtay Kurmantay; Viktor Kelm (Timur Jumashev 84), Semetey Daniyarov (capt - Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 84), Ernist Baktyrkanov (Dastan Kylychbekov 45), Vladimir Badalov (Temirlan Atabaev 74); Eldar Taalaybek (Artur Il'yaev 63), Almaz Omoraliev.
Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Aidar Mambetaliev, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov, Abdulnur Mamytov (GK).
Possession :- 50% - 50%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 4. Man of the Match :- Almaz Omoraliev (Kyrgyzstan Under-19's).

With the exception of the last ten minutes, that was a very nice outing from the youngsters, and in particular, Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia's captain and gem, Almaz Omoraliev. If the striker can get regular football with the Pervaya Liga Zone B side this season, he could improve enough to earn a move quickly to a higher level, maybe even abroad. The Asian Under-19 Championship Qualifiers don't start for another year, so like the Under-23's, these players will be waiting a while for competitive International football, and quite a few will be over-age to play at this level. They'll play again after the weekend, and I hope to see another good outing from them. Any time we get together as a squad is going to be limited, and we need to make the most of it. For now, attention switches to the Senior's match though.

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March 2016 (cont).

It wouldn't be much cooler the following evening when the Senior's played their first match under my charge in Iloilo City. We were second favourites against the home side, despite being ahead of them in the latest FIFA World Rankings, where the Philippines were ranked in 136th place. Their current star players are Javier Patino, a striker playing for Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League, and Stephan Palla, a left back turning out for Austrian Bundesliga club, Wolfsberger Athletik Club. Both start against us.

Friday 25th March 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Iloilo Sports Center, Iloilo City, Philippines
Philippines v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
3,125. Weather :- 32c.

We would change tactics for this match from the 4-4-2 that the age group sides had both deployed. Instead, we would test a tactic aimed at counter attacking that had been used at FC Belovodsk in the previous incarnation of this save. Two centre backs, two defensive midfielders right in front of them, and wing backs either side. One centre midfielder sat in the middle of the park, who would act as the first line of defence. At the sharp end, three strikers, who would be looking to benefit from the players at the back moving the ball upfield quickly when they win it. The players need a chance to utilise this system, as they need to be proficient at it when we get ourselves into position to see out games late on. The man my plans could impact on the most is Anton Zemlianukhin. The player regarded as the star in this nation doesn't necessarily fit into the plans right now, though he will start today in the centre midfield role. Once we start to learn more about the players, the tactis will revolve around them, but right now, it's a learning process for all involved.

After getting through a quarter of the match very comfortable holding Philippines at arms length and forcing them to shoot unsuccessfully from range, and cross from deeper areas than they would have liked, we were cut open from a set piece. Everyone was expecting Stephan Schróck to send the free kick into the danger area. Instead they worked a planned move, sending the ball towards the edge of the box for Misagh Bahadoran, which meant a few of our players charging out towards it. He sent it right back out to the left wing, and picked out Stephan Palla. Now our players had lost their plan, and no one had any idea who was supposed to be picking up which player. No one was picking up Kevin Ingreso, a ball winning centre midfielder, who netted his first International goal with a sidefooted finish in his third appearance for his nation. In goal, Kirill Priadkin couldn't do much about that one, but he was having a mixed evening, Schróck came close to beating our veteran keeper at his near post, then the keeper plucked a cross out of the air despite heavy traffic in his goalmouth, but then he dropped an easy one and had to kick the ball off his own line to stop us going two behind. We reached half time one behind, perhaps fortunately to be just one down.

We had created nothing of our own, and while the exercise had been required, I wasn't prepared to simply write this match off. We switched to the 4-4-2, with Daniel Tagoe being replaced by Pavel Sidorenko, who would join Sergej Evljuskin in centre midfield. Mirlan Murzaev and Anton Zemlianukhin were also withdrawn replaced by wingers, Edgar Bernhardt on the right, Karim Izrailov on the left. It would be Bernhardt who would provide our first threat, drifing in field, collecting the ball in the middle of the park, moving right with it while getting into the box, and letting fly with a hard right footed shot that Walsall keeper Neil Etheridge did well to hold onto. Despite now showing our ability to pass the ball fluently, it would be our hosts who would come closest to adding anything to the scoreboard next, Palla sending in a cross that was only half cleared, Manuel Ott knocked it down to Javier Patino, and the striker struck a first time shot that rattled the frame of the goal before being hacked clear. They would get the next chance too, on the hour, Sergej Evljuskin caught in possession, and Philippines sprung the counter attack in a way that we failed to manage in the first half, but Patino put this one over the bar when better placed than he had been a short while ago. The chances continued to come for our hosts, and Ott forced a superb save from Priadkin, our keeper tipping over the midfielders effort that looked destined for the top corner. I needed to make changes, Evljuskin and an ineffective Vitalij Lux replaced by Anatolii Vlasichev and debutant Ahletdin Israilov. The ship is steadied, and we start to take control back, a nice slick passing move from left to right saw Sidorenko tee up Bernhardt, who got plenty of power into his shot, beating Etheridge, but hitting the top of the bar and the ball flew up into the largely unoccupied stands. It had been a tough, and unsuccessful evening for us, but it wasn't without it's plus points.

Philippines (1) 1 - Kevin Ingreso (26)
Kyrgyzstan (0) 0
Kirill Priadkin; Sergei Kutsov (Tamirlan Kozubaev 83), Manas Zhutanov; Vadim Kharchenko (capt), Daniel Tagoe (Pavel Sidorenko 45), Sergej Evljuskin (Anatolii Vlasichev 65), Valery Kichin; Anton Zemlianukhin (Karim Izrailov 45); Mirlan Murzaev (Edgar Bernhardt 45), Vladimir Verevkin, Vitalij Lux (Ahletdin Israilov 65).
Unused Substitutes :- Marat Ajiniyazov, Ruslan Amirov (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Sherzod Shakirov, Viktor Maier, Pavel Matyash (GK).
Possession :- 46% - 54%. Shots on Target :- 2 - 1. Man of the Match :- Kevin Ingreso (Philippines).

I'll have to hold my hands up and take the blame for that result, we were on the back foot for the majority of the first half due to my tactics. I will however maintain that we needed that game time to give that formation a run out, and isn't that what Friendlies are for after all? We played some nice passing football in the second half, though we will need to tighten up in defence. We have a chance to redeem ourselves on Tuesday night of course when I take charge of my first match in Bishkek.

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March 2016 (cont).

Vadim Kharchenko tells the press in an interview that the team are a bit disappointed with their display in Iloilo City, stating that he feels Kyrgyzstan should be looking to win these games, and they are glad to have the opportunity to make amends in a few days time. There were four players who made their International debuts in the match, Tamirlan Kozubaev, Manas Zhutanov, Sergej Evljuskin and Ahletdin Israilov. It's great to be able to set some players on their journey in the International game, and I hope they can contribute to some success down the line.

Speaking of success down the line, after travelling back from the Philippines as a squad following various pickup's, the Under- 19's who we're looking to make into the next stars of Kyrgyz football, will kick off consecutive days of International football back in Kyrgyzstan, as they host Brunei Darussalam in the stadium that is shared by both Dordoy and Alga.

Monday 28th March 2016 - 19:30pm
Under-19's International Friendly
Dolon Omurzakov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's v Brunei Darussalam Under-19's
Attendance :-
305. Weather :- Wet, 15c.

There are just two changes to the starting lineup that managed a draw in the Philippines last week, one in midfield where Dastan Kylychbekov moves into the side in place of Ernist Batyrkanov, while up front, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov comes into the side in place of Eldar Taalaybek. The side continues in the 4-4-2 formation, though Viktor Kelm is pushed forward a little more on the right wing to try and utilise his skill and pace.

This match started almost a quietly as the crowd were in this vast stadium. Muhd Azrin Untong produced the first shot on target in the 13th minute, curling his effort from the edge of the box straight at Sergey Skorik who caught it easily. Meanwhile, we were starting to pass the ball around a bit ourselves, but we were struggling to get beyond a well organised Brunei defence. Kadyrbek Shaarbekov took a shot that hit two defenders on it's way through before trickling wide of the target, while Vladimir Badalov moved down the left, and then centred with a low cross that was just behind Almaz Omoraliev and Shaarbekov just missed it on the stretch. Midway through the half, on the counter attack, we had our best chance yet. After breaking up play just outside his own penalty box, Kylychbekov sent the ball down the left channel for Omoraliev to chase down. His cross into the centre fell right into the strike of Shaarbekov, but his shot was blocked point blank by En Jamil in the Brunei goal. Semetey Daniyarov got to the ball first as it rolled towards the penalty spot, but his low effort was blocked by Maten Said. This time it fell to Viktor Kelm, but his shot was partially blocked as well, and the chance had gone. Then ten minutes before the break, after Skorik had pushed Suny Mat Jerah's shot behind. Mohd Armus sent in the corner to the back post, and Atifuddin Momin arrived late and unmarked to volley the ball home from fifteen yards out. When we conceded a goal in Manila last week, we started going rapidly downhill, and it looked like happening again here, and Danislam Zagidulin looked close to losing his head when he squared up to Untong, fortunately the ref considered it a 50/50 incident and booked both players. Just as half time was about to arrive, Kylychbekov headed the ball over the Brunei defensive line, and Omoraliev was in the clear, his shot was low, but En Jamil got just enough on the shot to turn it around the post.

I feel we deserved to be level at least going into the break, and told the players that there was still all to play for here. I made three changes, including replacing the booked Zagidulin at right back, another change in the middle of the defence, and Semetey Daniyarov came off too. But our plans were ruined by our visitors, who kept the ball greedily for themselves right from the restart. Khairuddin backheeled the ball into the box for Mat Jerah, and just on the park Almazbek Malikov mis-timed his tackle. The ref was spared making a decision, as Muhd Hassan swept the loose ball into the bottom corner and we were two down. The torture wasn't over yet either, Khairuddin made a run against our defence, and then slipped a pass to Mat Jerah again. He passed to Hassan, who's shot stung the hands of Skorik, who couldn't hold on, and Mohd Izzat Omar buried the loose ball. We were falling apart at the seams!

I instructed one of my players to go down with an injury and the rest of the team were called to the sidelines where they were told in no uncertain terms how angry I was with the opening three or four minutes of the second half. We settled somewhat, and Brunei were forced to shoot from range, which Mohd Armus did three times from free kicks, missing the target each time. I made five more changes, and we started to click. The ball was being passed around nicely now, and when it went down the right channel, we had moved enough of their defence around that Kelm wasn't marked properly. He fizzed a low cross into the box, and Badalov connected with a first time shot. It took enough of a deflection to wrong foot Mohd Shafee Asaduzzaman, and the youngster was credited with the goal, as his original shot was on target. Suddenly, confidence was corsing through our side, and Badulov teased his marker with just a few minutes remaining. He lifted the ball into the left channel of the box for Omoraliev to chase down. The striker reached the ball, and had options in the centre. But a striker on form had just thing on his mind, angling his run, and using his weaker left foot to shoot between the outstretched leg of sub keeper Asaduzzaman, and find the net to reduce the arrears to a single goal. It was a very frustrating few moments afterwards, the ball wouldn't go out of play, and I wanted to get another forward on and give instructions to the players to push forward. By the time that got done, we were into injury time, and we never managed to get far enough up the park to create anything.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 2 - Vladimir Badalov (74), Almaz Omoraliev (88)
Brunei Darussalam Under-19's (1) 3 - Atifuddin Momin (35), Muhd Nasy'rul Wafiy Hassan (46), Mohd Adi Shahirol Izzat Omar (48)
Sergey Skorik (Georgiy Slavnyi 67); Danislam Zagidulin (Munosib Samsaliev 45), Boris Drozdetskiy (Ulan Taalaybek 67), Ayzar Akmatov (Almazbek Malikov 45), Nurtay Kurmantay (Timur Jumashev (67); Viktor Kelm, Semetey Daniyarov (capt - Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 45), Dastan Kylychbekov (Ernist Batyrkanov (67), Vladimir Badalov Eldar Taalaybek (90); Kadyrbek Shaarbekov (Artur Il'yaev 67), Almaz Omoraliev.
Unused Substitutes :- Temirlan Atabaev, Aidar Membataliev, Abdulnur Mamytov (GK)
Possession :- 48% - 52%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 6. Man of the Match :- Vladimir Badalov (Kyrgyzstan Under-19's).

When the players leave the hotel with Under-19 duty finished for this International Window, it's reported by the staff that the players are downbeat, and their spirits may take some time to be lifted. Despite the defeat, I'm not downhearted by what I've seen though. We knew already we had a couple of pretty good players, and now we can add Vladimir Badalov into the mix. I wasn't sure about the sixteen year old when we called him up, but he has been impressive over the week together, and if he can force his way into Neftchi Kochkor-Ata's side, he is only going to get better. We're short at right back, it's clear that Danislam Zagidulin is a bit of a hothead, but he isn't without talent. If he can settle down a bit, he doesn't have too much competition right now unless one of the younger lads has a top drawer start to the domestic campaign. Mentally, we were naíve in Manila, whereas in Bishkek, we were just poor for too much of the game against an opposition that we should, in all fairness, be dealing with reasonably comfortably. I'm sure given a bit of work and some time spent together, this group of players can still come together as a strong enough unit to make their mark.

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March 2016 (cont).

The Under-19's would of course get time to build something together. The Senior Squad would get no such time of course. The cut and thrust of International football, and a country still seeking to find their identidy in the world of football meant that results were almost the be all and end all. After a defeat in the Philippines, another would unlikely be tolerated against 194th placed visitors to Bishkek, in the form of Sri Lanka. The nation currently has just one player earning their living outside of Sri Lanka itself, that would be 21 year old right sided midfielder, Ahmed Razeek, who is playing for German third tier side, 1.FC Magdeburg. If we can't get the job done here, questions are going to be asked early regarding whether I'm the man to take football in Kyrgyzstan onto the next level.

Tuesday 29th March 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan v Sri Lanka
Attendance :-
6,574. Weather :- 13c.

Changes have been made, not least with the team shape, as we got into the 4-4-2 that has been used by the age group sides. The personnel is switched around as well, with only four of the players who started last Friday in Iloilo City, retained in the starting XI for today. Ruslan Amirov takes over from Kirill Priadkin in goal, while both Vadim Kharchenko and Valery Kichin are left out, Marat Ajiniyazov making his debut at right back, Sherzod Shakirov coming in on the left. Manas Zhutanov is retained at centre back, joined by another debutant, Shuhrat Rahmonov replacing Sergei Kutsov. There is a place once more in the midfield for Sergej Evljuskin, who also takes over the captaincy today, while Pavel Sidorenko starts alongside him. Daniel Tagoe and Anton Zemlianukhin are both left out, as is Mirlan Murzaev up front, replaced by Karim Izrailov and Viktor Maier on the wings, while Vitalij Lux and Vladimir Verevkin complete the lineup.

It was clear right away that a formation that allowed our players more options to attack suited them far more, and the wingers were utilised early on, particularly Viktor Maier on the right, who dropped his shoulder in the fourth minute and sped past a defender, his cross was only cleared to the edge of the box, where skipper for the day Sergej Evljuskin met it with a shot that was well over the cross bar. He was much closer when he skimmed the top of the cross bar with a free kick on the quarter hour mark. The pressure would continue with Vladimir Verevkin ruffling the side netting with a curling shot, not once, but twice, and Evljuskin's cheeky attempt to lob Kumara in the Sri Lankan goal was easily caught by the keeper. A series of corners produced nothing, and neither did Verevkin's lung busting run on the counter attack after Sri Lanka threatened, albeit very briefly, with a corner kick. We had dominated proceedings, but were so far unable to find a way through.

I settled for just one change at the half time break, replacing Manas Zhutanov with Tamirlan Kozubaev. We were still having very few problems with our guests, a hopelessly off target Zarwan Johar free kick as close as they had got. But the tempo was starting to noticeably drop, and I had subs making their final preparations to come on as the midway point of the second half approached and we were awarded a free kick just inside the Sri Lankan half. It was played short to Pavel Sidorenko, who lifted the ball barely over the head of a centre back, allowing Vitalij Lux to run shoulder to shoulder against the right back. The striker easily out paced him, and by the time the defender realised he was in trouble and tried to bring our German based striker down, it was too late. Lux was in full flow, running into the box, drawing the keeper off his line, and then guiding the ball past him and into the net via the inside of the far post, much to the delight of the home fans who had waited patiently for the opening goal. Five of my players, including the goalscorer and the man who set him up, were all replaced before the match got back underway. I had changed all of my players from midfield forward, with the exception of Maier on the right wing. He would nearly add his name to the scoresheet in the 74th minute, reacting to an Ahletdin Israilov knock down from a Edgar Bernhardt cross, and Kumara had to scramble across his goalmouth to keep the ball out. We continued to create chances, a Bernhardt corner was flicked on by Anatolii Vlasichev, and Sherzod Shakirov came very close to applying the finishing touch. A few moments later, when Bernhardt swung another corner into the box, Johar was judged to have shoved Kozubaev, and the ref pointed to the spot. That gave Anton Zemlianukhin a chance to extend his scoring record for his nation, and the Thailand based midfielder duly obliged, rolling the ball low into the bottom corner and giving the scoreboard a bit more of a look that reflected our dominance in this match. Sri Lanka should have grabbed themselves a goal back as the minutes ticked away, a long straight ball through the middle cut open our defence, and Hashan Thilinda arrived with an angled run that got him around Ruslan Amirov, but he was off balance when he shot, and sent it high and wide of the target. Never mind, the job was done, though we didn't get the number of goals that perhaps our play deserved.

Kyrgyzstan (0) 2 - Vitalij Lux (66), Anton Zemlianukhin (78 pen)
Sri Lanka (0) 0
Ruslan Amirov; Marat Ajiniyazov, Shuhrat Rahmonov, Manas Zhutanov (Tamirlan Kozubaev 45), Sherzod Shakirov; Viktor Maier, Pavel Sidorenko (Anton Zemlianukhin 66), Sergej Evljuskin (capt - Anatolii Vlasichev 66), Karim Israilov (Edgar Bernhardt 66); Vladimir Verevkin (Ahletdin Israilov 66), Vitalij Lux (Mirlan Murzaev 66).
Unused Substitutes :- Vadim Kharchenko, Kirill Priadkin (GK), Sergei Kutsov, Valery Kichin, Daniel Tagoe, Pavel Matyash (GK)
Possession :- 55% - 45%. Shots on Target :- 7 - 1. Man of the Match :- Vitalij Lux (Kyrgyzstan).

It wasn't perfect, but it's rarely likely to be. Vitalij Lux's fourth goal for his country, followed by Anton Zemlianukhin's seventh from the spot had got the job done for us today, and I was fairly pleased with that I had seen. It was certainly nice to round off the International Window with a win on the board, and the players could return to their clubs in good spirits. Lux had certainly impressed with his fine solo effort, and the striker who has spent his entire club career floating around clubs in Germany, will be hoping he can secure a spot when the next Window comes around. Ahletdin Israilov, now with two full caps to his name, summed up the mood in the camp as the group started to leave again for their clubs. 'There are no easy matches in International football of course, but we now know that there is an expectation on us to consistently beat nations considered lower down the line than ourselves. Since the new boss took over, we've heard a lot of talk of taking the step to the next level. We believe we are good enough to do that, but now we have to prove it to everybody else.' Wise words young man, wise words indeed.

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April 2016.

All things considered, it had been a pretty satisfying five match spell over the various levels. Ok, there might have only been one win to celebrate, but some important foundations were laid. Six players had made their Senior International debuts as we increased the pool of players available to us, while a host more have taken their first steps on the International ladder at age group level in the red and yellow colours of their homeland.

The next International window is in June, and with the backroom staff not looking likely to arrange fixtures, I decide to do it myself. The team will be making their way to Europe for a double header of fixtures that I sincerly hope we are able to win. We'll take on Gibraltar first of all at the Victoria Stadium on the 10th June, followed by a trip to face Andorra at the Estadi Comunal on the 14th. I'm not able to arrange fixtures for the Under-23's, but I can do so for the Under-19's. To keep costs down, they will play the same double header as the Senior's, in each case on the day before. For many of our young players, this will be their first trip to Europe. It will be a great experience for them.

When the FIFA World Rankings for April are released, we have dropped three places back down to 126th. It's not the end of the world, and in fact, we were quite fortunate for the lift in our ranking over previous months, as it may have helped us avoid having to play a First Round Playoff for the Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers. That's a fate that befalls ten Asian nations, and they will play a two legged tie against each other in late May and early June. The winners of the ties will progress onto the Group Stage of the Qualifiers, while the losers will move into a Second Round Playoff tie. At this point, I have no idea which stage we'll enter at, though I hope it may be the Group Stage. These are the ties that are drawn for the First Round Playoff.....

East Timor (177th) v Tajikistan (147th)
Bangladesh (178th) v Chinese Taipei (185th)
Laos (176th) v Cambodia (182nd)
Malaysia (164th) v Maldives (174th)
Yemen (163rd) v India (153rd)

May 2016.

A six place rise in the FIFA World Rankings moves us up to 120th spot, and while the company is not exactly illustrious, we're now ahead of European nations such as FYR Macedonia, Georgia and Lithuania. Again, we're in a position where the increase may aid us when we get to the draw being made for Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers. I live in hope of a kind draw.

FIFA World Rankings. Correct as of Wednesday 18th May 2016.

| 112th          | Nicaragua                | North America  |  2             | 313            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 113th          | Palestine                | Asia           | -1             | 310            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 114th          | Cuba                     | North America  | -1             | 309            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 115th          | Mauritania               | Africa         |  2             | 301            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 116th          | North Korea              | Asia           |  1             | 300            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 117th          | Kazakhstan               | Europe         |  3             | 298            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 118th          | Bahrain                  | Asia           | -3             | 296            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 119th          | Central African Republic | Africa         |  5             | 293            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 120th          | Kyrgyzstan               | Asia           |  6             | 292            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 121st          | Tanzania                 | Africa         |  1             | 288            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 122nd          | Chad                     | Africa         |  7             | 287            | 
|                | Faroe Islands            | Europe         | -8             | 284            | 
|                | Burundi                  | Africa         |  1             | 284            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 125th          | Lithuania                | Europe         | -4             | 282            | 
|                | Georgia                  | Europe         |  3             | 282            | 
|                | Sudan                    | Africa         | -6             | 282            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 128th          | Puerto Rico              | North America  |  2             | 281            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 129th          | Liberia                  | Africa         |  2             | 279            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 130th          | Malawi                   | Africa         | -7             | 278            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 131st          | FYR of Macedonia         | Europe         | -4             | 269            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 132nd          | Swaziland                | Africa         |  3             | 265            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 133rd          | Ethiopia                 | Africa         | -1             | 263            | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 134th          | Philippines              | Asia           |  -             | 260            | 

Kyrgyzstan's leading sports publication has run an article on which clubs have been producing players for the National Side since I have was appointed into the job. The fact that they're even running the article shows that the tide may be turning in domestic football in this country, and Ala-Too Naryn are the surprising name at the top of the list, Abdysh-Ata Kant and Alay Osh follow them, with perennial heavyweight club Dordoy Bishkek down in fourth place, with city rivals Alga behind them in fifth place.

The month ends with speculation which players will be included for the Senior squads trip to Europe next month, with the announcement due to be made in just a few days time. One of those that won't be in line for a spot in the squad is recently turned 39 year old centre back, Sergei Kutsov. The Spartak Semei player has damaged his foot in a training session with his club in Kazakhstan, and will not be available to add to his second International cap won in the Philippines last time out.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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June 2016.

Asian Nations Cup Qualifying, Playoff First Round, First Leg
Bangladesh 3-2 Chinese Taipei, East Timor 1-1 Tajikistan
Laos 0-0 Cambodia, Malaysia 3-1 Maldives, Yemen 1-0 India

Competitive International football has returned to the continent, and some of the countries further down the rankings start their campaign on the road to the United Arab Emirates, where the Finals will take place in January 2019. With the possible exception of Malaysia, who would certainly have been favourites against the Maldives anyway, all the other ties are close, and there is all to play for in the Second Legs that will take place in five days time. We'll have to wait a little while longer for competitive football, but it is time to name squads for the trip to Europe, where we will be looking to put a couple of wins on the board.

Kyrgyzstan Senior National Squad Announcement
Gibraltar - Away (10/6/16 at Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar, Gibraltar) International Friendly
Andorra - Away (14/6/16 at Estadi Comunal, Andorra la Vella, Andorra) International Friendly

| Name               | Position              | Age      | Club                    | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 

| Kirill Priadkin    | GK                    | 38       | Kaisar (KAZ)            | 6'3"     | £1.8K    | 9        | 0        | 
| Pavel Matyash      | GK                    | 28       | UiTM (MAS)              | 6'6"     | £7K      | 8        | 0        | 
| Ruslan Amirov      | GK                    | 25       | Alga Bishkek            | 6'1"     | £800     | 3        | 0        | 
| Manas Zhutanov     | D (RLC)               | 24       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 2        | 0        | 
| Valery Kichin      | D (LC)                | 23       | Yenisey (RUS)           | 5'11"    | £105K    | 15       | 0        | 
| Azamat Baymatov    | D (C)                 | 26       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £1K      | 22       | 3        | 
| Shuhrat Rahmonov   | D (C)                 | 28       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £1K      | 1        | 0        | 
| Tamirlan Kozubaev  | D (C)                 | 21       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £1.4K    | 2        | 0        | 
| Ulug'beq Mo'minov  | D/WB (R)              | 31       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Sherzod Shakirov   | D/WB (L)              | 25       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'11"    | £1.7K    | 9        | 0        | 
| Vadim Kharchenko   | D/WB/M (R)            | 32       | Dordoy                  | 5'9"     | £275     | 24       | 1        | 
| Daniel Tagoe       | DM                    | 30       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'10"    | £2.2K    | 14       | 0        | 
| Sergej Evljuskin   | DM, M (C)             | 28       | Kassel (GER)            | 5'10"    | £58K     | 2        | 0        | 
| Anatolii Vlasichev | M (C)                 | 27       | Omani (OMA)             | 6'0"     | £24.5K   | 15       | 0        | 
| Pavel Sidorenko    | M (C)                 | 28       | Alga Bishkek            | 5'9"     | £1.1K    | 9        | 0        | 
| Anton Zemlianukhin | M/AM (RC)             | 27       | Sukhothai (THA)         | 5'9"     | £190K    | 21       | 7        | 
| Karim Izrailov     | M/AM (LC)             | 29       | Navy FC (THA)           | 6'0"     | £58K     | 5        | 0        | 
| Edgar Bernhardt    | AM (RL)               | 30       | Rödinghausen (GER)      | 5'9"     | £44.5K   | 10       | 1        | 
| Viktor Maier       | AM (RC)               | 26       | FC Emmen (NED)          | 6'0"     | £85K     | 10       | 0        | 
| Ahletdin Israilov  | AM (RC), ST (C)       | 21       | Cherkaskyi Dnipro (UKR) | 5'7"     | £160K    | 2        | 0        | 
| Ildar Amirov       | ST (C)                | 28       | Unattached              | 5'5"     | £0       | 7        | 1        | 
| Vladimir Verevkin  | ST (C)                | 29       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 11       | 4        | 
| Vitalij Lux        | ST (C)                | 27       | Unterhaching (GER)      | 6'0"     | £39K     | 15       | 4        | 

It's a fairly settled squad, with few changes from the previous double header against Philippines and Sri Lanka. While the injured Sergei Kutsov may have the experience in terms of age, his place in the squad goes to someone with considerably more International experience, as 22 times capped Alay Osh defender, Azamat Baymatov, is recalled to the fold. The other change in the defensive ranks is slightly more surprising. Right back Marat Ajiniyazov did take a knock in mid April, but that didn't keep him out of this squad. What did keep his name out of the selection was the new eligibility of 31 year old Uzbek full back, Ulug'bek Mo'minov. He has been turning in some impressive performances for Alay Osh in their Asian Confederations Cup campaign, and when it became knowledge that he was going to be available, he always had an shot of making the squad. He brings another dimension to our attacking threat, something which gives him the upper hand over Ajiniyazov. His inclusion is the main talking point of the squad announcement, with most pundits believing he doesn't have the quality to improve our fortunes. He wasn't the only new player to be added to the National Pool recently. Also joining him is Nigerian born striker, Tosin Aleriwa, who has now claimed Kyrgyzstani citizenship after spending the required amount of time in the country. He doesn't earn his first call up though, as out of form Mirlan Murzaev's place in the squad goes to clubless forward, Ildar Amirov. The man who I named as National Vice-Captain a few months ago, badly needs some game time. A trip to face Gibraltar and Andorra could be just the fixtures to not only give him a chance to show his talent, but also put himself in the shop window with regards to finding a new club.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19's National Squad Announcement
Gibraltar - Away (9/6/16 - Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar, Gibraltar) Under-19's International Friendly
Andorra - Away (13/6/16 - Estadi Nacional, Andorra la Vella, Andorra) Under-19's International Friendly

| Name                      | Position         | Age      | Club                | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 

| Sergey Skorik             | GK               | 20       | Dordoy              | 5'9"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Georgiy Slavnyi           | GK               | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'4"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdulnur Mamytov          | GK               | 18       | Alay                | 6'5"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Danislam Zagidulin        | D (R)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Igor Ashirbekov           | D (R)            | 17       | Unattached          | 5'6"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Almazbek Malikov          | D (C)            | 19       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'4"     | £170     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ayzar Akmatov             | D (C)            | 17       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulugbek Salamatov         | D (C)            | 17       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulan Taalaybek            | D (C)            | 17       | Kara-Balta          | 6'0"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Timur Jumashev            | D/WB (L)         | 19       | Dordoy              | 5'7"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Nurtay Kurmantay          | D/WB (L)         | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ernist Batyrkanov         | DM, M (C)        | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £600     | 0        | 0        | 
| Vladimir Badalov          | M (L)            | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'0"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov | M (C)            | 18       | Alay                | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Aidar Mambetaliev         | M (C)            | 17       | Alga Bishkek        | 6'2"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Temirlan Atabaev          | M/AM (R)         | 20       | Ala-Too             | 5'7"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abror Sataev              | M/AM (L)         | 17       | Unattached          | 5'5"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Semetey Daniyarov         | M/AM (C)         | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'6"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Dastan Kylychbekov        | M/AM (C)         | 20       | Ala-Too             | 5'7"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Viktor Kelm               | AM (RL)          | 19       | Bezanija (SRB)      | 6'1"     | £3.1K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Almaz Omoraliev           | ST (C)           | 19       | Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia  | 6'0"     | £180     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kadyrbek Shaarbekov       | ST (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'10"    | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Eldar Taalaybek           | ST (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £750     | 0        | 0        | 

There are three changes to the Under-19 squad from the last get together, with a taller clubless right back, Igor Ashirbekov, brought in as a replacement for Munosib Samsaliev to cover for Danislam Zagidulin. Height is also part of the reason why Boris Drozdetskiy is left out, replaced by Ulugbek Salamatov so we can see what the seventeen year old has to offer going forward. There would be an almost immediate reprieve for Drozdetskiy however, as Almazbek Malikov suffers a groin injury that means he will miss the trip, Drozdetskiy brought back into the fold as his replacement. The other change is a positional one. With the possibility that we'll utilise a formation with just one out and out striker on this trip, I drop the number of strikers selected from four down to three, and bring in a young left winger as cover, Abror Sataev. This seventeen year old is likely to be a back up to sixteen year old Vladimir Badalov, who is in the squad on merit after his impressive showings against the Philippines and Brunei. There is another injury scare just before we leave, with Ulan Taalaybek suffering concussion symptoms in a training session. However, the medical staff assess the centre back and decide it's safe to keep him in the squad and use him if necessary.

The action continues in the Asian Nations Cup Qualifying, Playoff First Round, with the Second Legs taking place as we're preparing at the hotel to travel to Europe.

Cambodia 2-7 Laos (Laos win 7-2 on aggregate)
Chinese Taipei 2-1 Bangladesh (4-4 on aggregate, Bangladesh win on penalties)
India 1-0 Yemen (1-1 on aggregate, India win on penalties)
Maldives 1-3 Malaysia (Malaysia win 6-2 on aggregate)
Tajikistan 3-0 East Timor (Tajikistan win 4-1 on aggregate)

That was some performance from Laos to claim their place in the Group Stage of Qualification, though they were aided by Cambodia having no less than three players sent off in the first hour. Next door neighbours Tajikistan have progressed as well, following a comfortable second leg performance to get by East Timor. The five winning nations have done their job for now, while the five losing nations now have just one more chance to move into the Group Stage. They are joined by Bhutan, the lowest ranked nation still alive in the process, and the three ties are drawn. The matches will be played in September and October, which means we have some while to wait yet before we can get stuck into competitive action ourselves.

Yemen (166th) v Chinese Taipei (186th)
Bhutan (189th) v Cambodia (182nd)
East Timor (183rd) v Maldives (173rd)

Edited by neilhoskins77

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On ‎23‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 18:15, lukafanzer said:

Great challenge!!, I'm following it :D

Thanks very much Lukafanzer. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far.

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June 2016 (cont).

The Senior and Under-19 sides have arrived at their hotel in the first port of call on this short tip, which is in Gibraltar. Two clubs who have players in the Under-19 squad have requested they play no more than half the match against our first opponents, Kara-Balta are keen to make sure no risks are taken with Ulan Taalaybek, which is understandable due to his concussion, while Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia have no obvious reason for asking for Almaz Omoraliev to be used sparingly.

Thursday 9th June 2016 - 7:30pm
Under-19 International Friendly
Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar, Gibraltar
Gibraltar Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
139. Weather :- 28c.

In twenty four hours time, this stadium will be at capacity. More about that tomorrow. As it is today, the 2,226 capacity stadium has just 139 souls inside for and Under-19 International that is very much regarded as a contest between two minnow nations from different continents. Both nations will line up in fairly similar fashion, with the home side playing a 4-4-1-1, while we play with a 4-4-2, looking to utillise a formation that best suits the players we have on the trip.

On an artificial pitch and in our all white strip, we looked a bit tentative to start with. Both sides struggled to make chances early on, and when Gibraltar tried to create one with an 18th minute counter attack, Dastan Kylychbekov went to extra mile to stop it by taking Craig de la Rosa's legs from under him, taking one for the team and accepting the resulting yellow card. He got into position to make amends five minutes later, but the midfielder got his shot all wrong, sending the effort way over the cross bar. Gibraltar were being forced to shoot from range when the ball was down the other end of the park, while from a free kick, Nurtay Kurmantay got his free kick and down over the wall, but Mark Bryan held it comfortably on his goal line. A neat passing move from the hosts led to Javan Robertson sending a low shot skidding towards goal, Sergey Skorik getting down well to push it away. Robertson would have the last chance of the half too with five minutes to go before the break, getting in another effort from a similar position, this time beating Skorik, but also the near post, the shot ending up in the side netting, and the game still goalless at the break.

Gibraltar made a pair of changes at the break, while we stayed as we were for the time being. Kurmantay made a real hash of a far post clearance seconds after the restart, fortunately for the us at least, the full back wasn't punished. Robertson's latest effort to get himself and Gib on the scoresheet saw an effort from range graze the roof of the net, while a long ball upfield hit Leon Payas and Almaz Olmoraliev went in goal, however his usual finishing wasn't there, and he put this effort over the top. As the hour mark approached, we would get another free kick in a dangerous position. Kurmantay got this one up and over the wall as well, though it didn't quite come down enough. It beat Bryan, and thumped against the cross bar. With the keeper prone on the floor after being beaten by the first effort, and the race was on, with Kylychbekov getting there first and slamming the loose ball past Bryan to hand us the lead.

We were in control, and I made our first changes in the 63rd minute. On a yellow, goalscorer Kylychbekov came off, joined by Viktor Kelm and Omoraliev. The hosts made five changes just a moment later, including the removal of their primary goal threat, Robertson. As the rain started to fall, we started to play almost on instinct, in almost a counter attacking fashion, and that led to Ernist Batyrkanov breaking up play and finding sub striker Eldar Taalaybek, and he lifted the ball over the defence, with Kadyrbek Shaarbekov reaching it and going clear through on goal, drawing Bryan, before slotting past him, but just wide of the far post. That would be Bryan's last involvement, as he was replaced with twenty minutes remaining. I replaced my remaining two midfielders that had started with fifteen minutes left, while Gibraltar made their finak change at the same time. Clearly Taalaybek wasn't too impressed with Shaarbekov's earlier finish, as when a chance to play him in came up, he decided to go himself instead, not doing any better, and missing the target with a wild effort. Temirlan Atabaev was enjoying a good cameo outing on the right, and in the 83rd minute, produced a cross that picked out Taalaybek at the far post. The striker should have buried this one to put the game safe, but he sent his header just wide of the post, troubling only some advertising hoardings. At the back, we were still making it very tough for Gibraltar to get a clear look at our goal, and with five minutes remaining, I made two final changes to bring some fresh legs into our back four. As the clock drifted past ninety, without being asked to do, our side had become more and more defensive, sat back, and desperate to keep Gib out and record this victory. Raphael Peralta sent the ball forward from halfway, and Tito de Torres took it down. From 25 yards out, he just let fly. Skorik got fingertips to the ball, but not enough to keep it out, and a stoppage time goal meant our youngsters were denied their first win under my management. Heartbreak is too strong a word, but I was gutted for the lads.

Gibraltar Under-19's (0) 1 - Tito de Torres (90+1)
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 1 - Dastan Kylychbekov (58)
Sergey Skorik; Danislam Zagidulin (Igor Ashirbekov 85), Ulugbek Salamatov, Ayzar Akmatov (Boris Drozdetskiy 85), Nurtay Kurmantay; Viktor Kelm (Temirlan Atabaev 63), Semetey Daniyarov (capt - Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 73), Dastan Kylychbekov (Ernist Batyrkanov 63), Vladimir Badalov (Abror Sataev 75); Kadyrbek Shaarbekov, Almaz Omoraliev (Eldar Taalaybek 63).
Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Timur Jumashev, Ulan Taalaybek, Aidar Mambetaliev, Abdulnur Mamytov (GK).
Possession :- 45% - 55%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 3. Man of the Match :- Tito de Torres (Gibraltar Under-19's).

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and with that view, I'll have to hold my hands up to a rookie manager mistake. Those two late changes to the back four may well have turned out to be more of a hinderance than a help. The effort from de Torres was a bit of a dagger for us, but it had been a good competitive run out against an enthusiastic young Gibraltar side. They'll now move onto Andorra, where they will have another shot at getting a first win under their belts.

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4 hours ago, oche balboa said:

Good to see you posting again. Hope you are getting better too 

Thanks very much Oche. It's going to take a bit of time I'm being told, but being able to get a little bit done is at least making me feel better.

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June 2016 (cont).

The Under-19's are restricted to watching the Seniors match in the team hotel. That's exactly how much tickets are at a premium for the match on Friday evening. That's because the Gibraltar side have to play all their competitive matches outside of their own tiny nation. The Victoria Stadium doesn't meet UEFA or FIFA requirements for competitive International matches, and with neighbouring Spain not exactly considered friendly territory, the natives regularly make the near 400 kilometre trek through Southern Spain, and into Portugal, where the Estádio do Algarve has become their home away from home. There's probably people in the UK that own more land than Gibraltar has available, and until the government and the FA find a way to fit a new stadium into their tiny nation on the southern peninsula of Spain's mainland, then Friendlies such as this one are the only chance to watch Senior International football inside their own borders.

So that's Gibraltar and their problems, though I'm happy that my squad are here to take them on in their own home territory. We have our own problems though, firstly with club instructions, and no fewer than half a dozen players who have been asked to play no more than 45 minutes in this match. The players that are requested to adhere to this are Kirill Priadkin, Valery Kichin, Sergej Evljuskin, Anton Zemlianukhin, Edgar Bernhardt and Viktor Maier. It's not likely that the instructions will be adhered to, there's simply to many for us to be able to logistically do that and give ourselves the best chance to win the match. Our second issue is that as far as this match is concerned, we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't. The Kyrgyzstan media who have come on this trip consider this match fairly meaningless, and consider a win a foregone conclusion.

Friday 10th June 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar, Gibraltar
Gibraltar v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
2,226. Weather :- 27c.

As we the search continues to find a way to allow all our best players be on the park together, we have another tactical switch around here in Gibraltar for the Senior side. We'll try our hand at a 4-3-2-1 today, with the full backs of the back four asked to play almost exclusively defensivley. In front of then, a trio sat in the middle off the park. One is a ball winner, another is a box to box player, and sat in between them playing in his favoured advanced playmaker role, Anton Zemlianukhin, our talisman delighted with the new formation that plays very much to his strengths. Further up the park is a lone striker, supported by to inside forwards, who are not only being asked to supply the width, but also link up the midfield and that striker, both wide and through the middle.

A full house makes a hell of a difference to this stadium, as the locals come out in support of their Senior National team. They were given very little to cheer about in the opening ten minutes though, as we pinned our hosts into their own end, and passed the ball around nicely. Vadim Kharchenko found some room, and attempted a cross that was blocked, and the ball went right back to the skipper. He tried again, this time finding Vitalij Lux, who met the ball at the near post with a volley that found the bottom corner to given the German based striker his fifth goal for his country. Gibraltar went close to getting an immediate equaliser when George Cabrera hit an effort off the angle of bar and upright, and after a corner was only partly cleared, Tamirlan Kozubaev hit one off the top off the crossbar at the other end. Karim Izrailov showed a good understanding of what we wanted from an inside foward, coming off the left wing and infield, and then laying off a pass to Anatolii Vlasichev, the midfielder hitting a beautifully struck shot that was curling towards the top corner before Jordan Perez sent out an arm to push it over the bar. We were putting our stamp on this game, until Sergej Evljuskin held onto Roy Chipolina's shirt as we tried to get on the end of a corner, and the ref pointed to the spot. Liam Walker is one of Gibraltar's most experienced players, and sent the spot kick low and measured into the bottom corner to level the match. The score stuck through to the break, the closest anyone coming to adding to the score was a long range effort from Edgar Bernhardt that Perez held easily.

I'm not usually one for making half time switches unless things are going badly wrong, but today, we make four changes at the interval. Kirill Priadkin, Valery Kichin, Evljuskin and Bernhardt are all replaced, with Ruslan Amirov, Sherzod Shakirov, Pavel Sidorenko and Viktor Maier are come on, I ignore the instruction that Anton Zemlianukhin should only play 45 minutes. Gibraltar don't make their first change until the 57th minute, and a minute later, they fall behind for a second time. Scott Wiseman fouled Lux on the left edge of the 'D' on the edge of the box, and Zemlianukhin hit an unstoppable left footed free kick around the wall and into the top corner to reinstate our advantage on the scoreboard. Izrailov and Lux both failed to add to the lead with headers that didn't have enough power to unduly trouble Perez. When Gibraltar tried to get something going, Jean-Carlos Garcia got into the box, but never really made up his mind what he wanted to do, and was crowded out easily. I made my two final changes with fifteen minutes to go, Zemlianukhin replaced by Daniel Tagoe, who would now turn that advanced centre midfield role into a more withdrawn defensive role. At the same time, Lux was replaced up front by Vladimir Verevkin. With just five minutes to go, Gibraltar would get as close as they were going to as far as finding an equaliser would go, Alain Pons whipping in a cross, Walker connecting with a header that flew across the goalmouth and hit the outside of the far post. Unlike the Under-19's last night, the Senior side held on, claiming their second consecutive win into the bargain.

Gibraltar (1) 1 - Liam Walker (27 pen)
Kyrgyzstan (1) 2 - Vitalij Lux (10), Anton Zemlianukhin (58)
Kirill Priadkin (Ruslan Amirov 45); Vadim Kharchenko (capt), Tamirlan Kozubaev, Manas Zhutanov, Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shakirov 45); Anatolii Vlasichev, Anton Zemlianukhin (Daniel Tagoe 75), Sergej Evljuskin (Pavel Sidorenko 45); Edgar Bernhardt (Viktor Maier 45), Karim Izrailov; Vitalij Lux (Vladimir Verevkin 75).
Unused Substitutes :- Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Azamat Baymatov, Shuhrat Rahmonov, Ahletdin Israilov, Ildar Amirov, Pavel Matyash (GK).
Possession :- 39% - 61%. Shots on Target :- 2 - 8. Man of the Match :- Anton Zemlianukhin (Kyrgyzstan).

Ok, I know, 'it's only Gibraltar', but I'm still happy with that. When you have a guy like Anton Zemlianukhin in your lineup, you give yourself a chance of winning matches, and we may have a formation that will allow us to bring out the best in our midfield maestro. He now has eight goals in 22 caps, and has declared himself happy with the progress that Kyrgyzstan are starting to make. Less happy is his club manager. Sukhothai FC manager Somchai Makmul, told the sports press in Thailand that he was disappointed that one of his best assets was called away for International duty at all during a busy period of the Toyota Thai League, but it was a slap in the face that his well meant request was ignored. When given a right to reply, I asked if Makmul would have been as quick to request his player only play for 45 minutes if they'd been call up to the Thai National Squad. The silence as a reply for pretty deafening to me. We had other things to concern ourselves with, mainly packing up to leave Gibraltar, and head to our next destination. We would be heading North, with  the next port of call being another small European nation, Andorra.

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June 2016 (cont).

We've relocated for the second part of our mini European tour of minnow nations, and we're now in Andorra. This small Principality is landlocked to the North East of Spain, and the South of France, right at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, making this prime skiing location in season. Football isn't, and never has been a big deal here, FC Andorra are the biggest club, and they play in the Spanish League system. Those left to fend for themselves in the Andorra's League setup have done so with little to no success. While the domestic League is competitive, the Andorran teams have failed to make a splash in Europe, even when competing against other minnow nations. Despite a twenty year headstart, and double the population, Gibraltar appear to have overtaken Andorra recently, and Andorra find themselves five places behind them now in the rankings, down in 205th spot.

After travelling north on the Saturday, we quickly settle into the hotel, before getting everyone out to stretch their legs in a light session in the evening. The youngsters will play on Monday, while the Seniors will finish the International Window on Tuesday night with their match as they go for three in a row. The instructions from the club are much more reasonable this time as well, with nothing to adhere to for the Under-19's, while there is just one request regarding the Seniors, with Thai relegation candidates Navy FC asking that Karim Izrailov plays no more than 45 minutes in this one. But it's the Under-19's that are up first.

Monday 13th June 2016 - 7:30pm
Under-19 International Friendly
Estadi Nacional, Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Andorra Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
299. Weather :- Drizzle, 13c.

Some of the Senior players must be wondering whats going on, as the Under-19's play their match in the two year old Estadi Nacional, with it's 3,300 capacity, while tomorrow nights match takes place in the stadium that has a capacity of only around a third of that, and nowhere near as modern facilities. Our youngsters have adopted the 4-3-2-1 formation that the Seniors used on Friday night in Gibraltar. There are changes in personnel as well, starting with Georgiy Slavnyi taking over in goal. There's a change in the back four, Boris Drozdetskiy coming into the side to replace Ayzar Akmatov. In midfield, Dastan Kylychbekov and skipper Semetey Daniyarov are joined by Aidar Mambetaliev, with Daniyarov playing the playmaker role in the middle. The two wide players are pushed up into the inside forward roles, while there is now just one striker, Almaz Omoraliev, which means Kadyrbek Shaarbekov loses his places in the side. The striker takes his place in a twelve strong bench for us, twice as many as Andorra have available as replacements this evening.

In the persistent rain, Nurtay Kurmantay was hoping a free kick would cause the Andorran keeper problems, but he couldn't get the ball beyond the wall. The ball pinged around a little on the edge of the box, before Iván Bezares showed safe hands when Aidar Mambetaliev tried to curl the ball past him. Inácio Ribeiro had earned a very early yellow card for the challenge that gave away the original free kick. Bezares needed to be alert when one of his centre backs ducked to allow a long ball to run through to him. It was poorly judged, as there was nothing like enough power for it to go all the way thorough, and Almaz Omoraliev set off towards the goal, but the keeper saved that one with his feet, and from the same player, tipping an effort from the edge of the box around the post after Vladimir Badalov had headed the ball down to Omoraliev. We had Andorra pinned in for long spells, and when they weren't pinned in, we were counter attacking them, Badalov sweeping the ball across the park for Viktor Kelm, and as the defence retreated, he cut it back to Dastan Kylychbekov, but the midfielder blasted his shot over the bar. We were in such control that it was annoying when seven minutes before the break Andorra won a corner near the right edge of our box. Diogo Furtado crossed it to the far post, and it was headed back into the middle for centre back Pablo Suárez. In a role reversal, our striker Omoraliev was more hinderance than help at the back, his clumsy challenge felling the Andorran, and the ref awarding the penalty. Suárez would take it himself, and he sidefooted down the middle after Georgiy Slavnyi had comitted to diving to his right, and against the run of play, we were behind. Briefly. Badalov was having another good game down the left, and after a nice run, he sent the ball back to Mambetaliev, who dropped it over the defence, Omoraliev making amends for his mistake by catching it sweetly with a half volley that left Bezares helpless and made sure we level heading into the break.

You'd have thought that Andorra would be pretty satisfied to be all square, such had been our domination over proceedings. Their five half time changes suggested otherwise, especially as they only had six available in total. I settled for just two changes, Boris Drozdetskiy and Badalov replaced by Ulan Taalaybek and Abror Sataev. We continued our control, and Kylychbekov continued to get forward whenever the chance presented itself, Omoraliev held the ball up before laying it into the path of the midfielder, he kept his shot low, but it drifted just past the far post. Andorra's changed their keeper, and José Antonio Menudo was called into action in the 68th minute, Kurmantay striking a free kick that was destined for the top corner, Menudo managing to get a fingertip to it and turn it over the bar. From the corner, Kelm waved everyone into the box, and then sent it to Kylychbekov outside the box. He drove a powerful shot through the crowd of players, but Menudo saw it, and oushed that one aside too. From another corner, Abror Sataev was put in a good position, but we didn't get enough power on his shot. I made three more changes, two in midfield, and another up front, with Eldar Taalaybek tasked with winning us the match. Andorra tried to catch us on the counter, and twice Slavnyi had to make saves from well struck shots by Jose Carlos de Aguiar Soler, the striker leaving the game in the 74th minute with a head injury that took Andorra down to ten men. Normal service was resumed when Kurmantay flashed another free kick just past the frame of the goal, and with just over ten minutes to go I made more changes, changing everyone who hadn't been changed apart from Mambetaliev, and bringing on players who hadn't yet seen any gametime. But we had run out of steam now, and a Mambetaliev shot wide of the target was as close as we got to winning this one.

Andorra Under-19's (1) 1 - Pablo Suarez (39 pen)
Krgyzstan Under-19's (1) 1 - Almaz Omoraliev (43)
Georgiy Slavnyi (Abdulnur Mamytov 79); Danislam Zagidulin (Igor Asirbekov 79), Ulugbek Salamatov (Ayzar Akmatov 79), Boris Drozdetskiy (Ulan Taalaybek 45), Nurtay Kurmantay (Timur Jumashev 79); Dastan Kylychbekov (Ernist Batyrkanov 70), Semetey Daniyarov (capt - Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 70), Aidar Mambetaliev; Viktor Kelm (Temirlan Atabaev 79), Vladimir Badalov (Abror Sataev 45); Almaz Omoraliev (Eldar Taalaybek 70).

Unused Substitutes :- Sergey Skorik (GK), Kadyrbek Shaarbekov.
Possession :- 45% - 55%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 8. Man of the Match :- Georgiy Slavyni (Kyrgyzstan Under-19's).

I agreed that a goalkeeper should be man of the match, but as well as he did when called upon, I think even Georgiy Slavnyi would struggle to argue with either of the Andorran keepers collecting that man of the match award. It's been a rocky International Window for the youngsters in Europe. They came up against two sides they would have expected to beat, should have won both, created enough opportunites to win both, and yet won neither. Better game management is needed from the Under-19's, and that doesn't just mean the players either. If I hadn't have made the late changes, we could have hung on for a win against Gibraltar. I also didn't need to give everyone a game against Andorra, and we could have maybe found a winner in a match we should have won. There's always things to be learned in International football.

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June 2016 (cont).

It's the final game of our summer International Window matches in Europe, and the Seniors are eying up a third successive win as they prepare to face Andorra. The deck will be shuffled here, which was always the intention. A couple of fringe players and those newer to the squad will get their opportunity to stake their claim for a place when the competitive action begins.

Tuesday 14th June 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Estadi Comunal, Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Andorra v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
1,299. Weather :- 21c.

Six changes are made from the win in Gibraltar, starting in goal, where Pavel Matyash takes over the gloves. In the right back spot, Ulug'beq Mo'minov makes his International debut at the age of 31 years old, not for his country of birth Uzbekistan, but for his adopted nation. At centre back, Tamirlan Kozubaev is left out today, with Azamat Baymatov brought in to his place. The midfield trio has one change, with Pavel Sidorenko brought in to replace Anatolii Vlasichev. There is an opportunity for Ahletdin Israilov to make an impression as he gets a start at the right inside forward role, with Edgar Bernhardt switching across to the left flank. Up front, unattached 5'5 tall striker Ildar Amirov gets a shop window to showcase his skills for any clubs thinking of giving him a route back into the game at a good level.

Another day, and another artificial surface to play on, not that it's necessarily a bad thing, it suits our passing football style. We started the passing from the first whistle, and had Andorra chasing shadows for the early stages. When they resorted to fouling us, Anton Zemlianukhin sent a free kick goalwards, and Oliveira pulled off a top drawer save to push it over the bar. A goal was coming, and it didn't take long. Andorra tried to push us back with a long ball that Ulug'beq Mo'minov easily dealt with. He headed the ball not just clear, but to the feet of Sergej Evljuskin. The counter attack was immediately launched from right to left, and Edgar Bernhardt swung the ball between the centre backs, and Ildar Amirov set off, getting to the ball first, rounding Oliveira, and sending the ball high into the net to put us ahead within ten minutes. Zemlianukhin was clearly in the mood today, and attempted to add to the scoreline, this time from open play. After some nice interplay, he hit a swerving and dipping left footed shot that had Oliveira beaten, but just went the wrong side of the post, hitting the side netting. We continued to rack up the chances, but none as good as the one hosts had on the half hour. When Bernhardt's free kick from out wide was easily dealt with, the very patriotically named Xavier Andorrá set off down the right. He kept going, and our defence was very slow to get back. By the time he got to the corner of the box, it was 3 on 1 in Andorra's favour, but he never really made a decision, and his team mates were left frustrated when he played somewhere between a square pass and a shot that just rolled through the goalmouth, and Pavel Matyash watched go well wide. Ildar Amirov had the ball in the back of the net a few minutes later after a great run from Evljuskin, but the striker didn't time his run well enough, and the offside flag cut short his celebrations. Before the break, Valery Kichin tried to catch out Oliveira from wide on the touchline, the keeping getting nowhere near it, but the ball landing on the roof of the net.

Kichin was the only player I switched at the break, bringing on Sherzod Shakirov at left back. Andorra made four changes at the break as they looked to turn the tide in this match. That hadn't really looked very likely so far, and five minutes into the second half arrived a chance to cushion our lead, a short throw in led to Evljuskin finding Bernhardt, who smashed a well struck shot off the near post. By the time the hour mark had arrived, Andorra had made all their changes, and tried to emulate what we were doing by pushing their defensive line further up the park to try and keep us from passing the ball around in their half. It worked for them for a little while as well, but some changes with twenty minutes to go seemed to open Andorra back up again. Karim Izrailov was the catalyst after replacing Bernhardt on the left in one of the three changes. Five minutes after coming on he took the ball on halfway and ran at his marker. It was barely even a contest, and Izrailov sent a cross into the middle. Amirov's shot from six yards out was saved by Oliveira, but he could only push it into the path of another sub Anatolii Vlashichev. The midfielder had plenty of net to aim at, but a last ditch block from a defender stopped him doubling the lead. The defender was out of luck though, as the riccocheted right back to Amirov, and tucked home his second of the evening. Our two goal striker left the park moments later, replaced by Vladimir Verevkin, and taking in the plaudits from the players and staff on the bench. Daniel Tagoe came on for Pavel Sidorenko at the same time. Ahletdin Israilov took advantage of Zelianukhin not being on the park to grab the ball when we were awarded a dangerous free kick. It wasn't a bad effort, but it missed the target. Daniel Tagoe had our last chance of the match with five minutes left, driving a vicious shot past the post. It wouldn't be the last chance of the game though, as sub Gabriel Riera sent the ball across the edge of the penalty box with a minute to play, and found fellow sub Joan Carles Toscano. The 31 year old forward had played 22 previous International games without finding the net, so it was a magic moment for him when he found the top corner from 20 yards out. It wouldn't ruin our day, but it did take the shine from it a little bit.

Andorra (0) 1 - Joan Carles Toscano (89)
Kyrgyzstan (1) 2 - Ildar Amirov (8,75)
Pavel Matyash; Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Azamat Baymatov, Manas Zhutanov (Shuhrat Rahmonov 69), Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shakirov 45); Pavel Sidorenko (Daniel Tagoe 77), Anton Zemlianukhin (Anatolii Vlasichev 69), Sergej Evljuskin; Ahletdin Israilov, Edgar Bernhardt (Karim Izrailov 69); Ildar Amirov (capt - Vladimir Verevkin 77).

Unused Substitutes :- Vadim Kharchenko, Ruslan Amirov (GK), Tamirlan Kozubaev, Viktor Maier, Vitalij Lux, Kirill Priadkin (GK).
Possession :- 46% - 54%. Shots on Target :- 1 - 10. Man of the Match :- Ildar Amirov (Kyrgyzstan).

I was happy with the performance, disappointed we didn't get more than two goals, and a bit annoyed that we switched off a little bit at the end, making the scoreline look a lot closer than the match actually was. We got the win that we were expected to get, both here and in Gibraltar, but I want us to start moving towards a place where we're expected to win convincingly, and no longer classed as one of the 'minnow' nations.

We still have a lot of work to do, so we need to keep the fixtures coming. I deal with that fairly quickly, and a block of fixtures are added to the calendar for both the Seniors and the Under-19's. I tried to keep the fixture lists as similar as possible, but there were instances where that wasn't possible due opponent availabilty, and sometimes frankly, because nations were happy to play our Senior side, but not interested in scheduling a match against our Under-19's. The Under-19's had rejections from nations such as Armenia, Estonia, Latvia and Cyprus. Clearly, they need to get some wins on the board to attract better nations to play them. That was less of a problem for the Seniors with some wins on the board and a FIFA World Ranking that, for the moment at least, is on the rise.

The next International on the calendar is on the 1st September, when our Under-19's play China, while the following day, our Seniors are in action in Yerevan against Armenia. The two sides will then head back home to Kyrgyzstan, where they will complete the September window with home matches for both against the neighbours from Tajikistan. In October, both sides will head to the same destination to start with, as fixtures are scheduled in Singapore. They will then go their seperate ways, with the Under-19's playing a Monday afternoon fixture in India, while the Seniors will remain in South East Asia for a Tuesday evening match in Hong Kong. There is less symetery in November's fixtures, which may well be subject to change depending on competitive fixtures to be added to the calendar. The Under-19's are scheduled to host Kosovo on a Thursday night in Belovodskoye, while the Seniors face an Friday afternoon fixture against India in Mumbai. The youngsters will then fly out to Hong Kong for a Monday evening fixture, while the Seniors return to Bishkek, where they are due to complete their 2016 fixture list with their toughest assignment to date, a home fixture with Cyprus at the Stadion Dolena Omurzakova. There is a fixture pencilled in for next summer as well, with both sides due to play home fixtures against Moldova in June. Hopefully, someone will see fit to organise some Under-23 games soon, as I'm unable to arrange matches for that age group.

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July/August 2016.

A indication of how quiet July was going to be came when the news that the Kyrgyzstan FA have had the pitch relaid at Stadion Dolena Omurzakova was actually considered news. Ok, so I jest somewhat. How many managers get to work for an FA that takes note of the way you get your side to play, and have a new and absolutely perfect pitch laid, allowing time for it to bed in a little before we host some matches too. A big thumbs up to the FA for that.

Vladimir Badalov has strained his abdomen lifting weights, and the 16 year old Neftchi Kochkor-Ata winger now has some work to do to make sure he is match fit when the next squads are named in the last week of August. It would be a real shame if he were to miss out, as Badalov has been superb so far this year for the Under-19's. In better news, our FIFA World Ranking continues to improve in July, as we move another three places up the standings into 117th place. We're edging closer to our target of breaking into the top one hundred and achieving the nations highest ever ranking.

July had been a tough month for Vladimir Badalov, and August wasn't about to get any better for the teenager. After recovering from his injury and returning to training, Badalov pulled a hamstring while getting himself back into action, and will now be out of action for another three weeks, making his participation in the September International Window questionable. The injuries were not exclusive to the Under-19's left winger, as the Seniors will be without Ruslan Amirov, the 25 year old Alga Bishkek goalkeeper suffering the same injury as Badalov sustained first time around, but the keeper will miss around a month.

Mid-August arrives, just over a week from naming the squads, and we receive more good news from FIFA. The latest World Rankings see us now placed in 112th, a rise of five more places. We're now just 24 points away from the top 100, and are just behind nations such as El Salvador and Canada. We're also in front of nations such as Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and FYR Macedonia. There are nations now below us that refused to give our Under-19's a match just months ago. I'm delighted with our continued progess.

Unfortunately though, on the eve of the squads being named, both the Under-19's and Seniors will lose another player each to injury. The age group side have lost their Captain and centre midfielder, Semetey Daniyarov. The 19 year old Ala-Too Naryn player has twisted his ankle in a training session and will be out for a couple of weeks. Seven times capped Thailand based left winger, Karim Izrailov, is also going to be absent. The 29 year old has twisted his knee in the lead up to Navy FC's vital relegation six pointer with Sisaket FC, and with only a month of the domestic season remaining, the three week lay off may bring an end to his club season.

As it turns out, Daniyarov is now considered too old to be selected for the Under-19's. He isn't the only one either, as Sergey Skorik, Boris Drozdetskiy, Timur Jumashev, Dastan Kylychbekov and Temirlan Atabaev are also now inelligible for the Under-19 side. That's a fair amount of talent and experience for us to lose in one go, and these next few International Windows are going to signal a changing of the guard to a certain extent for the young side.

Kyrgyzstan Senior National Squad Announcement
Armenia (92nd) - Away (2/9/16 at Vazgen Sargsyan Hanrapetaken Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia) International Friendly
Tajikistan (141st) - Home (6/9/16 at Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) International Friendly

| Name                  | Position             | Age      | Club                    | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Kirill Priadkin       | GK                   | 39       | Kaisar (KAZ)            | 6'3"     | £950     | 10       | 0        | 
| Pavel Matyash         | GK                   | 29       | UiTM (MAS)              | 6'6"     | £4.2K    | 9        | 0        | 
| Vakhitzhan Akbaraliev | GK                   | 26       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £825     | 0        | 0        | 
| Manas Zhutanov        | D (RLC)              | 25       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 4        | 0        | 
| Valery Kichin         | D (LC)               | 23       | Yenisey (RUS)           | 5'11"    | £89K     | 17       | 0        | 
| Azamat Baymatov       | D (C)                | 26       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £1K      | 23       | 3        | 
| Shuhrat Rahmonov      | D (C)                | 28       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £1K      | 2        | 0        | 
| Tamirlan Kozubaev     | D (C)                | 22       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £1.4K    | 3        | 0        | 
| Ulug'beq Mo'minov     | D/WB (R)             | 31       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £275     | 1        | 0        | 
| Sherzod Shakirov      | D/WB (L)             | 25       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'11"    | £1.3K    | 11       | 0        | 
| Vadim Kharchenko      | D/WB/M (R)           | 32       | Dordoy                  | 5'9"     | £220     | 25       | 1        | 
| Daniel Tagoe          | DM                   | 30       | Busaiteen (BHR)         | 5'10"    | £0       | 16       | 0        | 
| Sergej Evljuskin      | DM, M (C)            | 28       | Kassel (GER)            | 5'10"    | £56K     | 4        | 0        | 
| Raul' Dzhalilov       | M (L), AM (RL)       | 22       | Tobol (KAZ)             | 5'10"    | £4.9K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Anatolii Vlasichev    | M (C)                | 28       | Omani (OMA)             | 6'0"     | £17K     | 17       | 0        | 
| Pavel Sidorenko       | M (C)                | 29       | Alga Bishkek            | 5'9"     | £1K      | 11       | 0        | 
| Anton Zemlianukhin    | M/AM (RC)            | 27       | Sukhothai (THA)         | 5'9"     | £120K    | 23       | 8        | 
| Edgar Bernhardt       | AM (RL)              | 30       | Rödinghausen (GER)      | 5'9"     | £33K     | 12       | 1        | 
| Viktor Maier          | AM (RC)              | 26       | FC Emmen (NED)          | 6'0"     | £86K     | 11       | 0        | 
| Ahletdin Israilov     | AM (RC), ST (C)      | 21       | Cherkaskyi Dnipro (UKR) | 5'7"     | £130K    | 3        | 0        | 
| Ildar Amirov          | ST (C)               | 28       | Unattached              | 5'5"     | £0       | 8        | 3        | 
| Tosin Aleriwa         | ST (C)               | 26       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'8"     | £1.3K    | 0        | 0        | 
| Vitalij Lux           | ST (C)               | 27       | Unterhaching (GER)      | 6'0"     | £30.5K   | 16       | 5        | 

There are some changes to the squad that went to Gibraltar and Andorra, some forced, some not. Ruslan Amirov is replaced in the goalkeeper trio by uncapped Alay Osh stopper, Vakhitzhan Akbaraliev. We're quite forunate in that we seem to have a number of goalkeepers at a good age and getting regular football. There's not too much change in midfield, Daniel Tagoe has changed clubs, but remains in Bahrain, while Raul' Dzhalilov could make his Senior International debut after being called up to replace the injured Karim Izrailov. Up front, still unattached striker Ildar Amirov has earned another opportunity after his double in Andorra, while there is another potential new cap in the squad, as Nigerian born Abdysh-Ata Kant striker Tosin Aleriwa is called up in place of out of form Vladimir Verevkin.

However, things change just one day after the squad is named, when Sukhothai FC's manager, Somchair Makmul, informs the Kyrgyzstan FA that our star midfielder Anton Zemlianukhin, has been told he will not be released during this International Window, and that he has been withdrawn from the squad. The 40 year old Thai manager refuses to answer my calls, and will not enter into any dialogue on the matter, which is a real shame for us. I was hoping we could come to a an agreement where Zemlianukhin could come to Armenia, play in the game there, and then return back to Thailand, where they're not due to play again until the 10th. That clearly isn't going to be an option, and as the players contract with his Thai club expires at the end of the year, we can only really hope that he moves on at the end of the season. Called up in his place is a fourth uncapped player, FC Kara-Balta's defensive midfielder, Bakyt Kashkaev. The 27 year old has never played International football at any level, but he is very capable in playing several roles, and now has a chance to show what he can do at this level.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19 National Squad Announcement
China - Away (1/9/16 at Yutong International Sports Centre, Shijiazhuang, China) Under-19's International Friendly
Tajikistan - Home (5/9/16 at Dolon Omurzakov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) Under-19's International Friendly

| Name                      | Position         | Age      | Club                | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 

| Georgiy Slavnyi           | GK               | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'4"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdulnur Mamytov          | GK               | 18       | Alay                | 6'5"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Iljas Ormombekov          | GK               | 17       | Unattached          | 6'4"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Danislam Zagidulin        | D (R)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Igor Ashirbekov           | D (R)            | 17       | Unattached          | 5'6"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Akram Ernis               | D (L)            | 17       | Unattached          | 5'7"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Ayzar Akmatov             | D (C)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulugbek Salamatov         | D (C)            | 17       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulan Taalaybek            | D (C)            | 17       | Kara-Balta          | 6'0"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Maka Sakebaev             | D (C)            | 17       | Unattached          | 6'1"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Nurtay Kurmantay          | D/WB (L)         | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ernist Batyrkanov         | DM, M (C)        | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £625     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kanat Yuldashev           | M (R)            | 16       | Aldier              | 5'11"    | £575     | 0        | 0        | 
| Vladimir Badalov          | M (L)            | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'0"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Beksultan Kaipov          | M (C)            | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov | M (C)            | 18       | Alay                | 5'9"     | £600     | 0        | 0        | 
| Aidar Mambetaliev         | M (C)            | 18       | Alga Bishkek        | 6'2"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Azamat Omuraliev          | M (C)            | 19       | Kara-Balta          | 5'7"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abror Sataev              | M/AM (L)         | 17       | Unattached          | 5'5"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Viktor Kelm               | AM (RL)          | 19       | Bezanija (SRB)      | 6'1"     | £3K      | 0        | 0        | 
| Almaz Omoraliev           | ST (C)           | 19       | Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia  | 6'0"     | £95      | 0        | 0        | 
| Janboto Yrysbek           | ST (C)           | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £500     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kadyrbek Shaarbekov       | ST (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'10"    | £500     | 0        | 0        | 

Ala-Too Naryn may be struggling to preserve their top flight status this season, but with nine players in our Under-19 squad, they are certainly doing something right when it comes to producing young players. Considering that five of the remaining fourteen names on the squad list are currently without a club, then it's quite some going. Sergey Skorik no longer being available means that Georgiy Slavnyi and Abdulnur Mamytov are going to the battle for the keepers shirt for now. They should keep an eye on the youngsters behind them in the queue though, and if some of those lads find a club and get regular football, it could get very interesting. We have a decent defensive core, but really lack depth in this position, not helped by Boris Drozdetskiy now being too old to play at this level.

The midfield has been hardest hit, with the core ripped out of the side with the loss of Semetey Daniyarov and Dastan Kylychbekov. It's not all doom and gloom though, Viktor Kelm and the emergence of Vladimir Badalov gives us genuine threat on the wings. We'll need some of those in the squad to put their hands up over the coming months and claim the centre midfield roles. Up front, we're short of options, and Almaz Omoraliev is still the best we have by some way. Eldar Taalaybek has lost his place in the squad as his form for Ala-Too hasn't been good, and he didn't perform well in the last get together. He loses his place to team mate Janboto Yrysbek, who has done a much better job in the top domestic division so far. He does suffer a gashed leg a day or two after the squad was announced, but he should still be available as long as he heals quickly.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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