Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community

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

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, oche balboa said:

Love it 

Glad to have you along as always Oche

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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 😂

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

September 2016.

After congregating at the airport, the Under-19 squad flew out to China on the Tuesday morning, heading East, for the Northern city of Shijiazhuang, which is home to over 10 million people. It's not so far from Bejing, at least comparitivley by Chinese geography, and the city is home to Shijiazhuang Yongchang, a Chinese Super League club who are battling to preserve their top tier domestic status, and have a shot at doing so thanks mainly to the goals of their Argentine striker, Jorge Pereyra Diaz. Their Yutong International Sports Centre, which hosts Thursday's match, is a twenty year old venue that accomodates around 30,000, though is likely to be around 2 or 3% full at best for this match, the stadium is in good condition, the pitch hasn't been quite as well looked after. The Chinese FA are keen to let people see the next generation of Chinese footballers. Their Under-19 side have been regularly playing at home in stadiums of this size in cities such as Weihai, Panjin and Baotou this year. It's been a good year too, winning three of their four matches so far in 2016, though the standard of opposition often hasn't been particularly high when compared to the China ranking in World football. They beat Hong Kong, Bhutan and Brunei, while being held to a draw by Kuwait.

It was Wednesday lunchtime when for the second consecutive day, a party of Kyrgyz footballers were at the airport. This time, it was the Senior squad, and they were headed West, where they would play a Friday night Friendly against one of the nations that is a geographic gateway into Europe, the landlocked country of Armenia, which is bordered by Georgia to the North, Azerbaijan to the East, Turkey to the West and Iran to the South. We're headed to Yerevan, the capital, and where Armenia have played all of their matches so far this year. Two of the matches were played at Vazgen Sargsyan Hanrapetakan Stadium, leading side Pyunik's home accomodating just under 15,000. And Armenia started their 2016 calendar in promising fashion, beating Croatia 3-2 in a superb result for them. That was followed up with narrow defeats in Yerevan against both Sweden and Denmark, with the latter also featuring further down the fixture list, as the nations have been drawn together for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They are going to provide a stern test, and they have some fine individual players, including Manchester United's attacking midfielder, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and a striker who has been in scintilating goalscoring form since returning for a second spell in the MLS with Real Salt Lake, the former Spartak Moscow forward, Yura Movsisyan. The players of the Armenia squad are flung right across the globe, one of their players is even making his living in Argentina's Primera División.

The instructions from the clubs are received the day before the respective games. Ala-Too have requested that Janboto Yrysbek play no more than 45 minutes against China, which is perfectly reasonable as he is still recovering from the gashed leg that he suffered in training. For the Seniors, three of the defenders have been asked to play no more than a half of football, Tamirlan Kozubaev, Ulug'beq Mo'minov and Shuhrat Rahmonov. Goalkeeper Pavel Matyash is available, though he joins up with the squad late after playing in a League fixture for his club in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Rahmonov tells the press that he thinks we can cause Armenia some problems on Friday. First up though, it's the Under-19's match in China.

Thursday 1st September 2016 - 7:30pm
Under-19's International Friendly
Yutong International Sports Centre, Shijiazhuang, China
China Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
739. Weather :- 30c.

With the loss of some of our regular players, it's a chance for some other players to put their hands up for when the competitive football finally starts. Georgiy Slavnyi gets the start in goal, while the back four is pretty much business as usual, but the centre midfield requires an overhaul. Aidar Mambetaliev, Beksultan Kaipov and Ernist Batyrkanov will get the first chance to try and form a new engine room in our midfield. Vladimir Badalov is fit, and starts this match, where we're very much the underdogs.

The first five minutes consisted of China sending the ball wide and running at our full backs. In the sixth minute, the Chinese came up with a way of getting by our full backs, Shan Haiyang cutting inside our defence this time, and sending a low cross into towards the penalty spot, where he picked out Gao Huaze. The striker had his back to goal, but expertly rolled his marker, and then struck a low shot. Georgiy Slavyni will be disappointed, he was in a good position, and got a hand to it, but the ball squirmed by him and found the bottom corner. The wingers looked the best bet for us as well, though not neccesarily through the conventional methods. When a deep cross was headed clear, Vladimir Badalov was back on the edge of his own box, and he launched the ball long up the park, which Almaz Omoraliev latched onto. He had three defenders around him, and no support, so he twisted and turned, finding a yard of room, and unleashing a 30 yard effort that crashed back off the angle of crossbar and upright. But midway through the half, we became our own worst enemies. Nurtay Kurmantay had an opportunity to swing a free kick into the box from the right touchline. He instead tried to be clever, passing it to an unmarked player who had stayed out of the danger zone. But when the Chinese players immediately moved up, Beksultan Kaipov was left with nowhere to go, and lost the ball. It was immediately played into the right channel for Gao Huaze set out on a counter attack. He showed great pace, and when our retreating players all gravitated towartds him, he sent found Lin Liangming with a cross field pass, and he cushioned it down for Zu Pengchao, who beat Slavnyi at his near post, and we were two down.

I made only one change at the break, Ulugbek Salamatov had a tough first half at centre back, and I replaced him with unattached Maka Sakebaev, a Kyrgyz of Nigerian heritage, who's strong and powerful attributes have lifted him up the queue. We started the second half trying to put some passes together, and it looked a lot better. But then once misplaced pass would see China counter attack at pace, and it was the same three players that combined for their second goal, but it was Gao Huaze on the end of it this time, and he missed the target. I made another change in the 53rd minute, with Kaipov being replaced by Adurashit Saydirakhmatov in the midfield. Within moments, we created our best chance so far, Aidar Mambetaliev lifted the ball over a static Chinese back four, and Omoraliev broke the trap. He took the ball into the box, and attempted a shot across goal, but Li Weijie pushed it away, and the chance had gone. From a less likely scoring position on the hour, Badalov sent a low curling shot just past the far post. With the substitutions becoming frequent from both teams now, the chances were becoming a little more difficult to come by, Zu Pengchao and Gao Huaze both chancing their arms from a long way out. As the clock ticked towards the 80 minute mark, right back Tong Yei overlapped at pace and sent a cross into the box. Slavnyi came off his line to claim the ball, but dropped it, and Maka Sakebaev prevented Du Changjie from reaching the loose ball by holding his shirt. Once again, we had given away a spot kick, and Gao Huaze sent Slavnyi the wrong way to add a bit of a gloss to the scoreline for the Chinese youngsters.

China Under-19's (2) 3 - Gao Huaze (6,79 pen), Zu Pengchao (23)
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 0

Georgiy Slavnyi (Ilijas Ormombekov 81); Danislam Zagidulin (capt - Igor Ashirbekov 75), Ulugbek Salamatov (Maka Sakebaev 45), Ayzar Akmatov (Ulan Taalaybek 75), Nurtay Kurmantay (Akram Ernis 75); Aidar Mabetaliev (Azamat Omuraliev 64), Beksultan Kaipov (Adurashit Saydirakhmatov 53), Ernist Batyrkanov; Viktor Kelm (Kanat Yuldashev 64), Vladimir Badalov (Abror Sataev 81); Almaz Omoraliev (Kadyrbek Shaarbekov 75).
Unused Substitutes :- Abdulnur Mamytov (GK), Janboto Yrysbek.
Possession :- 47% - 53%. Shot on Target :- 3 - 2. Man of the Match :- Gao Huaze (China Under-19's).

Ok, that wasn't great, as we were played off the park by a nation with huge resources. It raises an interesting question as to whether the Under-19's would provide a glimpse into the future fortunes of a National side, or whether it had no impact at all. If it was to be taken as an indicator, then we were not looking in good shape at all.

Edited by neilhoskins77

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

September 2016 (cont).

Let's hope that our Under-19's current dismal form isn't a glimpse of what is to come for the future of Kyrgyzstan football, and that the form of our Senior side is a much better indicator. They are unbeaten in three since my opening game in charge in the Philippines, but will face a step up in quality today, with a trip to Armenia.

Friday 2nd September - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Vazgen Sargsyan Hanrapetakan Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia
Armenia v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
8,048. Weather :- 31c.

Vitalij Lux gets the nod to start the match as our striker, favoured in front of clubless Ildar Amirov, and potential debutant, Tosin Aleriwa. There is a debut however, for Kara-Balta midfielder, Bakyt Kashkaev, who forms a midfield trio with Pavel Sidorenko and Sergej Eljuskin, which is selected with an aim of cutting off the space and time for Armenia's gifted playing midfielders. The back four is starting to become more of a settled unit, while Kirill Priadkin continues in goal, the recently turned 39 year old still regarded as our best bet in goal for the immediate future.

For a nation such as ours, it's daunting coming up against a star player such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and this is the first time we've been in this situation since I took over the side. The Manchester United attacking midfielder started to pull the strings early on, twice spraying the ball out wide to Hovhannes Hambardzumyan, a right back who is always keen to get forward, and Kirill Priadkin had to come off his line and deal with some traffic to claim a deep cross. They were not the only ones capable of creative forward play though, and Viktor Maier grazed the outside of the post with a volley following an Edgar Bernhardt corner. Tne next cross was delivered by Yura Movsisyan, and he picked out Mauro Guevgeozian, but his header was right at Priadkin. The crossing was more effective than the free kick efforts though, as Mkhitaryan and Bernhardt both traded efforts that were well off the target. So we went back to crossing, and from the corner of the penalty box, Sergey Evljuskin sent the ball to the far post, where Vitalij Lux connected with a header that left Gor Elazyan stranded, but bounced back out off the base of the far upright. Our luck wasn't in five minutes before the break either, some beautiful slick passing dragged the Armenian defence out of position, and Maier sent the ball back to Kharchenko, who shaped to cross, but instead sent it square to an unmarked Bakyt Kashkaev on the edge of the box, but his hopes of a debut goal were dashed when the ball crashed back off the crossbar. We would create one more chance before the break, Manas Zhutanov sending the ball from the back to Bernhardt. Via Kashkaev, the ball was sent to an overlapping Valery Kichin, and he crossed into the middle. It was headed clear, Pavel Sidorenko headed back into the box, and as it dropped, Bernhardt hit it on the half volley, and guided it inside the far post. We had our lead, and it was almost perfect timing as well.

That had been a really good half of football for us, and I didn't really want to make any changes at all. But I wasn't prepared to give clubs more excuses to do what the Thai team had done to deprieve of us of Anton Zemlianukhin, and replaced Tamirlan Kozubaev with Azamat Baymatov. I told the players that they had the Armenians on the run, and told them to make sure that they finished their chances when they presented themselves. My players didn't disappoint. In the 53rd minute, a sweeping move from the back, that involved almost every player, including Priadkin, saw us cut Armenia open. Evljuskin played a through ball between their defenders, and Lux ran off his markers shoulder, and surprised the keeper with an early shot, that flashed past Elazyan and found a home high into the net, silencing the Yerevan crowd. The hosts weren't prepared to give up, and Mkhitaryan tried to weave his way into our penalty box, but he was crowded out and dispossessed without getting a shot away. They were more successful with a counter attack after Vadim Kharchenko's cross was easily caught. Azamat Baymatov was beaten in the air by Guevgeozian, and he managed to get the ball to Movsisyan, and he sent in a low left footed shot that was out of Priadkin's reach and found the bottom corner. It would have been easy for my team to collapse after seeing their lead get halved, but the lads rolled up their sleeves. I still didn't really want to make any changes, but the legs were starting to go, and Valery Kichin and Bakyt Kashkaev were replaced with Sherzod Shakirov and Anatolii Vlasichev with just over a quarter of an hour left. Armenia had used all six of their changes by this point as they tried to salvage a result. We weren't just defending superbly though, we were also offering a threat on the counter, and Maier sent in a cross that Elazyan had to collect virtually off the head of Bernhardt. I could see my players starting to sink back deeper, and figured if that was going to happen, we may as well have the right personnel in place. Bernhardt came off, the inside forwards were dispensed with, and we switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Bernhardt replaced by Daniel Tagoe, and he sat in front of the defence with Evljuskin. We would need hero's if we were going to see this out, and Zhutanov put his head in where it hurt to prevent Movsisyan having an open goal when Guevgeozian sent in a cross from the left. Lux was doing what he could to hold up the ball when it was launched up the park away from our goal, but this was a great time to introduce Tosin Aleriwa, who is a very direct running forward, and would force Armenia to keep some players back to keep an eye on him. We still had a mistake in us though, and in the 90th minute, we pushed too many players up when we won a free kick. The delivery didn't beat the first man, and it was headed to Mkhitaryan, and we looked in trouble. He dribbled past one player, crossed halfway, and sent sub Aras Ózbiliz into acres of space on the right. The Besiktas midfielder had time to do whatever he wanted, and he drew Priadkin off his line, and curled a sidefooted shot past the keeper, and then looked dismayed with himself as it spun the wrong side of the far post, at least as far as he was concerned. The final change was made for no other reason than to run down the clock, Ahletdin Israilov brought on to replace Pavel Sidorenko. But Armenia had missed their best chance to deny us today.

Armenia (0) 1 - Yura Movsisyan (63)
Kyrgyzstan (1) 2 - Edgar Bernhardt (43), Vitalij Lux (53)
Kirill Priadkin; Vadim Kharchenko (capt), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Azamat Baymatov 45), Manas Zhutanov, Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shakirov 73); Pavel Sidorenko (Ahletdin Israilov 90), Sergej Evljuskin, Bakyt Kashkaev (Anatolii Vlasichev 73); Viktor Maier, Edgar Bernhardt (Daniel Tagoe 82); Vitalij Lux (Tosin Aleriwa 86).
Unused Substitutes :- Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Pavel Matyash (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Raul' Dzhalilov, Ildar Amirov, Vakhitzhan Akbaraliev (GK).
Possession :- 44% - 56%. Shots on Target :- 3 - 3. Man of the Match :- Yura Movsisyan (Armenia).

This smile is going to take some wiping from my face. This was easily the hardest test since I took charge of the team, and despite missing our best player, we passed, maybe not with flying colours, but a good solid grade for sure. This was a side on the up in the FIFA World Rankings, and who took a win over Croatia earlier in the year. We managed to keep their stand out player reasonably quiet on the whole, and I can confidently say that we have moved up a step in our development with this win, which is our fourth victory in a row. Armenia will now look to regroup, as they begin their 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in a few days, a competition that they had been cautiously optimistic of showing some improvement of their own in.

For ourselves, it is a trip home, where we will look to make it five in a row next week when we host next door neighbours, Tajikistan. There is a good feeling around the National side right now, summed up by midfielder Pavel Sidorenko, who told Kyrgz media that the squad believe that they are gaining momentum now, and that they can't wait to get stuck into some competitive football. I have to say, that I wholeheartedly agree.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

September 2016 (cont).

It had been a very pleasant trip back to Bishkek, and once there, the Senior squad checked into the hotel where the Under-19's were already based after returning from China. For both sides, there would now be challenges against Tajikistan to round off this International Window. The Under-19's would train with the Senior players in a shake down session on Sunday morning, hopefully the good feeling in the Senior squad would have a positive impact on the youngsters, who would play on Monday. The Seniors would have another session on Sunday evening before their match on Tuesday.

Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia have asked that Almaz Omoraliev play no more than 45 minutes. It's a very strange request, as they played on Saturday and a win at Aldier Kurshab Reserves, combined with Neftchi Kochkor-Ata's draw at home to FC Jalalbat, means they have secured the Pervaya Liga Zone B Title, and the promotion that goes with it. Their next, and final game of the season, is in two months time, which makes the request pretty bizarre. The pre match rallying call comes from Ala-Too Naryn right back, Danislam Zagidulin. He tells the press and his team mates that it's time the side put a win on the board, and tells the media that the young side are hoping to get that elusive victory in front of their home crowd on Monday.

There are requests from clubs to limit half a dozen of the Senior squad to no more than 45 minutes of football on Tuesday. Malaysian side UiTM's request for Pavel Matyash is more than reasonable, he's currently their number one, and they play again on Friday night in a Malaysian Premier League match. Alay Osh have made the same request for both Ulug'beq Mo'minov and Shuhrat Rahmonov, the club have had an awful season in the Top Liga, and have a Cup Semi-Final coming up to try and salvage their domestic season. Surprise league leaders, Abdysh-Ata Kant, have less justification for the request for Manas Zhutanov, as they have no game for a fortnight. Alga Bishkek and Kara-Balta have games a good ten days after the Tajikistan fixture, so in my opinion also have little grounds for their requests to limit the time given to Pavel Sidorenko and International new boy, Bakyt Kashkaev.

With game day almost upon us, it was left to Viktor Maier to have the final word to the press. The 26 year old winger who plays his club football in Holland's second tier with FC Emmen, has urged his International team mates to make sure they don't fall into the trap of underestimating Tajikistan after the win in Armenia. He warned all who would listen that there are no easy International games, and that we would need to put in another good performance to increase our winning run. He finished by suggesting that with increased performance levels, come increased expectations from both media and fans. The Senior players would spend the evening before their match at the stadium shared by Alga Bishkek and Dordoy, as they went along to support the Under-19 side in their match.

Monday 5th September 2016 - 19:30pm
Under-19's International Friendly
Dolon Omurzakov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's v Tajikistan Under-19's
Attendance :-
306. Weather :- 13c.

A second match in three days meant some rotation would be required for our youngsters, though not all changes were for that reason. Georgiy Slavnyi was exactly held responsible for the result in China, but he didn't have a particularly good game either, and Abdulnur Mamytov is given his chance for this match. The back four is left as it is, but there are two changes to the midfield trio, with Beksultan Kaipov and Ernist Batyrkanov replaced by Azamat Omuraliev and Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov brought in to replace them. In the final change, Vladimir Badalov is rested, and Abror Sataev comes into the side on the left wing.

A quiet opening spell of the game was broken when Danislam Zagidulin sent the ball down the right touchline, and Almaz Omoraliev beat a player in the air and flicked the ball on for himself. He whipped a cross into the middle, where Abror Sataev got on the end of it with a sidefooted shot back across goal, but it crept just wide of the post. Still, just over five minutes later, Sataev would get on the end of another cross, this time from Viktor Kelm after Omoraliev held the ball up well. The young winger used his left foot to hook the ball goalwards from an awkward height, once again going back across goal, but this time seeing his shot find the corner of the net to put us ahead. That lead wouldn't even last ten minutes though, as we fell asleep at the back on the half hour. Shavqat Habibulloev delivered an inswinging free kick from the right touchline that was headed right back out to him. He had a better angle this time, and drove the cross in low, while our defenders had gone too deep and failed to mark properly. Oleg Shirinbekov didn't show any mercy, powering home a right footer from ten yards out, and levelling the match. Despite being pegged back, we were still in control of the game, and Kelm flicked the ball through, and a defender underestimated Omoraliev's pace, the striker getting onto the ball despite being second favourite, and his low shot sent Azimchon Murtazoev scrambling across his goalmouth, and turning it around the post. We wouldn't be denied though, and moments before the break, Kelm sent a free kick into the box, Nurtay Kurmantay volleyed it into the ground, and the ball pinged around the box before arriving at the feet of midfielder Azamat Omuraliev, and he found the net from the edge of the six yard box to send into half time with a slim advantage.

The visitors made one change at the break, removing their goalscorer, while I left my side as it was. There would be a reward for that just two and a half minutes after the restart. Zagidulin was involved initially once again, intercepting the ball, and then turning defence into attack quickly, sending it down the touchline and putting Kelm into space again. The winger went to the byline, and then crossed to the penalty spot, Sataev hitting his shot, Mrtazoev making a great stop. The ball bounced back to Satev near the byline, and he cut it back into the middle to Omoraliev. With two defenders around him, there was no chance of getting a shot away, but he had an easy pass to Kelm, and he smashed it into the top corner to increase our lead. Tajikistan missed an immediate chance to peg us back again, Umejon Rustamov getting between our centre backs, but guiding his shot wide of the target. But just after the hour, we tried to overplay the ball too much from a set piece and lost the ball. The counter was speedy and precise, with three subs combining. Samad Khamrakulov receiving the ball on the left, making good ground and then sending it to the edge of the box for Tagi Negmatov. He drew in the defence, and then rolled it right and into the path of Mirzo Qodirov, and he ran into the box, rounded Abdulnur Mamytov, and tucked it in to bring the match back to 3-2. It had got to the point where changes were needed, and Ayzar Akmatov and Aidar Mambetaliev were replaced by Maka Sakebaev and Ernist Batyrkanov. The centre back got involved immediately, a headed interception found its way to Kurmantay, and he picked out Sataev. The winger dribbled infield, and with all the attention from the defence on Omoraliev, he picked out Kelm, who drove his shot inches over the crossbar. Our striker would be the next one to be subbed off, Omoraliev replaced by Janboto Yrysbek, who would now get his chance to impress in the National shirt, albeit fairly briefly. As the match entered it's final five minutes, I made two more changes, Zagidulin and Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov came off for young Igor Ashirbekov and Beksultan Kaipov. As the clock wound to ninety, Tajikistan were putting on pressure, and won a corner. They committed almost everyone forward, but when Ulan Taalaybek, just on in place of Ulugbek Salamatov, headed it clear and found Kelm, we had a three on one in our favour. With the lone defender starting to move towards our winger, he played an angled pass to Omuraliev, who in turn pushed it on for Janboto Yrysbek to run onto. The striker sprinted into the box, and fired low, sub keeper Rahmonali Toshov making the save, but the ball rebounded right back to Yrysbek, and he tucked it home at the second attempt to wrap up the win. I made a pair of injury time subs to wind down the clock, and allow Kelm and Sataev deserved ovations from the sparse crowd, Kanat Yuldashev and Vladimir Baladov coming on for them. Finally, the Under-19's had produced a win.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (2) 4 - Abror Sataev (21), Azamat Omuraliev (43), Viktor Kelm (48), Janboto Yrysbek (90+1)
Tajikistan Under-19's (1) 2 - Oleg Shirinbekov (30), Mirzo Qodirov (62)
Abdulnur Mamytov; Danislam Zagidulin (capt - Igor Ashirbekov 86), Ulugbek Salamatov (Ulan Taalaybek 89), Ayzar Akmatov (Maka Sakebaev 66), Nurtay Kurmantay; Aidar Mambetaliev (Ernist Batyrkanov 66), Azamat Omuraliev, Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov (Beksulta Kaipov 86); Viktor Kelm (Kanat Yuldashev 90+1), Arbor Sataev (Vladimir Baladov 90+2); Alamaz Omoraliev (Janboto Yrysbek 72).

Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Akram Ernis, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov, Iljas Orombekov (GK).
Possession :- 62% - 38%. Shots on Target :- 9 - 3. Man of the Match :- Viktor Kelm (Kyrgyzstan Under-19's).

The watching on Senior players couldn't fail to be impressed with their young colleagues, as they finally put a win on the board, and they did it in some style. Viktor Kelm was the player singled out for the bulk of the plaudits, the winger based in Serbia, and being utilised mostly by his club for their Under-19 side, ran riot down the right wing, and showed why he is one of the most important members of this age group side. Ideally, he'll get a loan move, or whatever he needs to do to get some First Team football and continue his development.

As our young players pack up to return to their clubs, I'm told their is a noticeable uplift in the mood around the camp. They are now looking forward to the next set of fixtures, eager to try and get some more results of the kind they have achieved today. With the Senior side looking to make it five wins in a row tomorrow night, there is a feel good factor starting to develop in Kyrgyzstan football.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

September 2016 (cont).

Tuesday 6th September 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan v Tajikistan
Attendance :-
6,769. Weather :- Gusty, 17c.

I would have liked to leave the same side that started against Armenia to start this match. But the club requests made that impossible when I started to look at them. Manas Zhutanov drops to the bench, replaced by Azamat Baymatov, with the intention being that he'll come on at the break to replace Tamirlan Kozubaev. It's an identical situation in midfield, where Pavel Sidorenko comes out of the lineup, replaced by Anatolii Vlasichev, but he'll also be introduced at the break for Bakyt Kashkaev barring any unforseen circumstances. The final change is simply by choice, as Ildar Amirov, still clubless, is given another oppourtunity to impress potential suitors, and also address his match fitness, and morale.

The new playing surface at the Dolena is a thing of beauty, and it suits our passing game perfectly. We attempt to take advantage early, confidently passing our way out of trouble at the back, and getting the ball to Edgar Bernhardt. The winger cut infield and made a long driving run through the centre of the park, before lifting it over the full back and into the run of Viktor Maier. He didn't have too many options in the box, but Ildar Amirov intelligently moved back out from the edge of the six yard box, and back to the penalty spot. Maier picked him out, and Amirov let a shot go, Naim Ulmasov bravely threw himself in front of it to send it spinning away from goal. Tajikistan were struggling to get the ball, and when they did get it, they lost it quickly. In the 20th minute, their right back attempted to make some ground down the right, but Bakyt Kashkaev moved across, dispossessed him, and got the ball to Valery Kichin. Our full back lifted the ball over the retreating right back, and Bernhardt angled his run into the box. The defender who had lost the ball did manage to get back and put in a challenge, but Bernhardt rode it, and from the angle lifted the ball over the shoulder of Nikola Stosic, and put us in front. Bernhardt would then miss a much easier chance to get a second just moments later, Kichin switching the play from left to right, picking out Maier, and again he sent cross out of reach of the defensive line, and back into an area where our players were arriving. Bernhardt would take this one on his less favoured left foot, but shanked it horribly wide. And if he had put that one away, he would have been on a hatrick when Maier and Amirov cut the Tajikistan defence open, and Bernhardt shot across goal, but sent it agonisingly past the far post. We might be improving as a team, but we're not yet anywhere near at the level where we can afford to waste chances. Which made it very frustrating when Tajikistan equalised right on the stroke of half time, Nuriddin Davronov picked out Hamdi Dahmani on the corner of our box, and he drifted past Kichin, and hit a shot with the outside of his boot, the spin generated catching out Kirill Priadkin, it should have been a comfortable save, but spun out of his grasp and found it's way into the net.

I made my two planned changes at the break, while Hokim Fuzaylov, our guests manager, tinkered with his options by making three changes. Some of the personnel may have changed, but the pattern of play remained as it had been in the opening forty five minutes, as we continued to play the ball to Bernhardt at every opportunity, and he continued to terrorise the opposition defence, winning a couple of early second half corners that led to nothing. Then Tajikistan created a great chance to take the lead, Ma'ruf Mahmudon flicking the ball up the park on, and sub Muhammad Sultonov tricked his way past Manas Zhutanov, and then tried an audacious lob over Priadkin, but didn't get enough on it, and the keeper gratefully caught the ball. Bernhardt tried his luck with a pair of free kicks, the first hitting the wall, the second grazing the cross bar on it's way over. I made a triple change in the 63rd minute, it had been a mixed evening for Kichin, and he was replaced by Sherzod Shakirov. I also took off Maier and Amirov, bringing on the fresh and enthusiastic legs of Ahletdin Israilov and Tosin Aleriwa. They would turn out to be a profitable changes, as Saidjon Ergashev earned a yellow card for halting an Israilov run twenty yards out, and the youngster picked himself up to curl the 77th minute free kick with plenty of power around the wall, and high into the top corner, restoring our lead. It was his first International goal, and came moments after Ulug'beq Mo'minov had been introduced as a sub. The former Uzbek was involved when he skipped past a challenge and played in former Nigerian, striker Aleriwa in the 82nd minute. The speedy forward left the defenders for dead as he chased the ball through, but lost his composure and fired over when Stosic came out to narrow the angle. They tried to repeat the trick in the 87th minute, but the ball was too far in front of our striker this time. But fortune would smile on him, as Stosic lashed his clearance straight at a defender, and the keeper could only watch as the ball bounced back past him, and right to Aleriwa, who turned and sidefooted the ball into the unguarded net, and became the second player to get off the mark in International football tonight.

Kyrgyzstan (1) 3 - Edgar Bernhardt (21), Ahletdin Israilov (77), Tosin Aleriwa (87)
Tajikistan (1) 1 - Hamdi Dahmani (45)
Kirill Priadkin; Vadim Kharchenko (capt - Ulug'beq Mo'minov 76), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Manas Zhutanov 45), Azamat Baymatov, Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shairov 63); Anatolii Vlasichev, Sergej Evljuskin, Bakyt Kashkaev (Pavel Sidorenko 45); Viktor Maier (Ahletdin Israilov 63), Edgar Bernhardt; Ildar Amirov (Tosin Aleriwa 63).

Unused Substitutes :- Pavel Matyash (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Daniel Tagoe, Raul' Dzhalilov, Vitalij Lux, Vakhitzhan Akbaraliev (GK).
Possession :- 54% - 46%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 4. Man of the Match :- Ahletdin Israilov (Kyrgyzstan).

You'd have to think that Edgar Bernhardt would be a bit disappointed not to be named man of the match after a superb performance, but Ahletdin Israilov didn't put a foot wrong in his cameo of around half hour, ending the match with a perfect 100% passing completion ratio. Stood on the touchline watching the match, there was never really any feeling that we wouldn't come away with the win, and while Tajikistan were resilient, we had too much for them in the end.

Tosin Aleriwa is a very interesting option for the future for us. The 26 year old Abdysh-Ata Kant striker is quick, and very direct, and he has the dribbling ability to frighten the life out of defenders when he runs at them. It's not something we've had available to us up to now, and adds something else to our armoury.

Life is never dull when you're managing a minnow nation though, and just when it feels like we're starting to get somewhere, especially with the young age group side, then a spanner is thrown in the works to make you feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall.............

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

September 2016 (cont)

Asian Nations Cup Qualifying, Playoff Second Round, First Leg
Bhutan 1-5 Cambodia, East Timor 3-0 Maldives, Yemen 1-0 Chinese Taipei

The three final places in the Qualifying Groups for the 2019 Asian Nations Cup are up for grabs, though after the First Leg, that may just be one place. Cambodia and East Timor certainly have a foot in the Group Stages, and the tie between Yemen and Chinese Taipei looks like being the only competitive Second Leg.

Since leaving I-League side East Bengal FC in India, 28 year old striker Ildar Amirov has only played International football, as he failed to reach terms with any of the club sides who showed an interest in signing him. Now he has decided to retire, and we have lost a striker who showed that not only could he hit the net, but he could also be an effective link with the inside forwards after his performance against Tajikistan. He intends to become a Scout, so will at least be remaining in the game, but his retirement turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

In total, 103 players from our National Pool retired, taking the number of players in the Pool down to 225 from 328. Losing nearly a third of the available talent is a rough hand to be dealt, but it was the fact that a lot of those who retired were younger players who had been developing for a year, and some of the better ones were starting to get involved with First Teams at their clubs, and the Under-19's at International Level. No fewer than five players from the last International age group side have quit the game, with prospects such as right back Igor Ashirbekov, promising centre backs Maka Sakabaev and Akram Ernis all turning their back on the game. Even more surprising was the retirement of goalkeeper Iljas Ormombekov, and left winger Abror Sataev, who found the net just days ago against Tajikistan.

I made my feelings known to the Kyrgyzstan FA, that things need to change, and we need to do more to find ways to keep these promising young players in the game. Little issues like a new pitch, they would deal with. Big stuff like the core and infrastructre of the game in the nation, they didn't want to hear about. They reasoned that I was no worse off, the clubs of the nation had just welcomed a new 101 strong group of Youth players. They couldn't, or wouldn't, understand my point that it's pointless repeating the same cycle year after year if those players are then simply going to walk way in another years time and the time and effort put into their development wasted. We need more stories like that of 22 year old left winger, Farkhat Musabekov. The uncapped former Abdysh-Ata Kant player has made the breakthrough with Moldova's top tier Divizia Nationalá club, Academia Chisináu. His upturn in fortune has now made him the second most valuable Kyrgyz footballer at £105k, behind only Ahletdin Israilov, and in front of Anton Zemlianukhin. None of the top fifteen most valuable players from the nation play their football in Kyrgyzstan currently. The player in 16th is Tamirlan Kozubaev, who has requested a transfer from Dordoy. There is interest in him from clubs in Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

It's looking like the Under-23 side may well have some football on the horizon, as I'm asked to select both a Captain and Vice Captain for the eldest age group side. The armband is given to 21 year old centre back and defensive midfielder, Akramzhon Umarov. Already a holder of a full International cap, he has been on loan this season at Alay Osh, but is actually contracted to Belarusian Vysheyshaya Liga side, Krumkachy Minsk, who surprised a lot of people by finishing third last season after being promoted to the top tier, and have settled into a mid season spot this time around. His deputy is also playing his football overseas as well, Bektur Talgat. The 22 year old centre midfielder has enjoyed a superb run of form in the season opening Goa Professional League for Churchill Bros, averaging an assist a game in the opening seven matches. He will be hoping to continue that form when the I-League gets underway in the new year. A new Vice Captain is also required for the Senior side, to replace the now retired Ildar Amirov. I select Sergej Evljuskin to the role. The centre midfielder debuted in my first match in the Philippines in March, and has been involved ever since, the German based player turning in some good performances as well.

It would have been reasonable to expect a marked increase in our FIFA World Ranking after another pair of wins, one away to a side ranked twenty places higher than us. But the Rankings being what they are, we moved up just one spot to 111th, the progress will be slow it seems. With little to report in the Rankings itself, I decided to have a look at how we are comparing against the rest of the nations in the continent of Asia. There are 46 Asian nations that fall under FIFA's umbrella and are in the Rankings, and as of mid September's updated list, we're now ranked 15th in the continent. Palestine and North Korea are both less than half a dozen spots in front of us. Bahrain and Oman are both within a handful of places behind us.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, oche balboa said:

Good story. You possibly best bet is installing In-game editor and use it to transfers these players to clubs

While it's a good idea, and I already have the editor, I think I'm just going to let the game take it's course, and if it continues to happen, then we'll just see it as part of the challenge.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016.

Just days before the squads were due to be announced, we suffered a double winger injury which had an impact on both the Senior and Under-19 squads. Viktor Maier has sprained his ankle in a training session with his Dutch club, FC Emmen. He will be out for around six weeks, which means he is going to be doubtful for November's International Window as well. Also unavailable will be Vladimir Badalov, the sixteen year old winger of Neftchi Kochkor-Ata has suffered a pulled hamstring, which will mean he misses the chance to add to his ever growing reputation. One of the newspapers in Kant has been running a campaign for Abdysh-Ata's 31 year old centre back, Rustem Usanov, to be recalled back into the International fold. As far as I'm concerned, they can get the signature and support of every citizen of the country, and eight times capped Usanov will still stay quite some way down the pecking order.

Kyrgyzstan Senior National Squad Announcement
Singapore (167th) - Away (7/10/16 at Jurong Stadium, Jurong, Singapore) International Friendly
Hong Kong (=147th) - Away (11/10/16 at Meong Kok Stadium, Meong Kok, Hong Kong) International Friendly

| Name               | Position            | Age      | Club                    | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Kirill Priadkin    | GK                  | 39       | Kaisar (KAZ)            | 6'3"     | £550     | 12       | 0        | 
| Pavel Matyash      | GK                  | 29       | UiTM (MAS)              | 6'6"     | £2.8K    | 9        | 0        | 
| Maxim Agapov       | GK                  | 28       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £775     | 5        | 0        | 
| Manas Zhutanov     | D (RLC)             | 25       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 6        | 0        | 
| Valery Kichin      | D (LC)              | 23       | Yenisey (RUS)           | 5'11"    | £74K     | 19       | 0        | 
| Azamat Baymatov    | D (C)               | 26       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £975     | 25       | 3        | 
| Shuhrat Rahmonov   | D (C)               | 28       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £950     | 2        | 0        | 
| Tamirlan Kozubaev  | D (C)               | 22       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £1.3K    | 5        | 0        | 
| Ulug'beq Mo'minov  | D/WB (R)            | 31       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £240     | 2        | 0        | 
| Sherzod Shakirov   | D/WB (L)            | 25       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 13       | 0        | 
| Vadim Kharchenko   | D/WB/M (R)          | 32       | Dordoy                  | 5'9"     | £180     | 27       | 1        | 
| Daniel Tagoe       | DM                  | 30       | Busaiteen (BHR)         | 5'10"    | £0       | 17       | 0        | 
| Sergej Evljuskin   | DM, M (C)           | 28       | Kassel (GER)            | 5'10"    | £55K     | 6        | 0        | 
| Bakyt Kashkaev     | DM, M (C)           | 27       | Kara-Balta              | 5'11"    | £1.1K    | 2        | 0        | 
| Raul' Dzhalilov    | M (L), AM (RL)      | 22       | Tobol (KAZ)             | 5'10"    | £3K      | 0        | 0        | 
| Anatolii Vlasichev | M (C)               | 28       | Omani (OMA)             | 6'0"     | £14.75K  | 19       | 0        | 
| Anton Zemlianukhin | M/AM (RC)           | 27       | Sukhothai (THA)         | 5'9"     | £79K     | 23       | 8        | 
| Karim Izrailov     | M/AM (LC)           | 29       | Navy FC (THA)           | 6'0"     | £52K     | 7        | 0        | 
| Edgar Bernhardt    | AM (RL)             | 30       | Rödinghausen (THA)      | 5'9"     | £27K     | 14       | 3        | 
| Ahletdin Israilov  | AM (RC), ST (C)     | 22       | Cherkaskyi Dnipro (UKR) | 5'7"     | £110K    | 5        | 1        | 
| Ivan Filatov       | ST (C)              | 28       | Minerva Punjab FC (IND) | 5'11"    | £27.5K   | 3        | 0        | 
| Tosin Aleriwa      | ST (C)              | 26       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'8"     | £1.2K    | 2        | 1        | 
| Vitalij Lux        | ST (C)              | 27       | Unterhaching (GER)      | 6'0"     | £27K     | 17       | 6        | 

The Senior National squad is starting to get a pretty settled look about it these days, with changes limited this time around. In goal, Vakhitzhan Akbaraliev is replaced by Maxin Agapov of the Dordoy club. Anton Zemlianukhin is back as the domestic season has finished in Thailand, which means that Pavel Sidorenko misses out, as I prefer to keep Bakyt Kashkaev in the squad. Viktor Maier's absence is covered by the returning Karim Izrailov, with Edgar Bernhardt to be moved across to the right, where he is equally as comfortable. There was a spare spot up front, due to Ildar Amirov's retirement. Based on his club form, the best candidate for the spare spot was deemed to be Ivan Filatov, who has been playing well in India, with his club Minerva Punjab FC recently winning the Punjab State Super League for the first time in their relatively short history. Unfortunately, within days of the squad being announced, Filatov twisted his knee, and was ruled out of the squad. He was replaced by the man who ran him close for the spot originally, the more experienced Vladimir Verevkin, who plays for Alay Osh and has four goals from thirteen caps so far.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19 National Squad Announcement
Singapore - Away (6/10/16 at Jalan Besar Stadium, Jalan Besar, Singapore) Under-19's International Friendly
India - Away (10/10/16 at Kanchenjunga Stadium, Siliguri, Indian) Under-19's International Friendly

| Name                      | Position        | Age      | Club                | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Georgiy Slavnyi           | GK              | 19       | Ala-Too             | 6'4"     | £300     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdulnur Mamytov          | GK              | 18       | Alay                | 6'5"     | £300     | 0        | 0        | 
| Mirlan Orozbek            | GK              | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'3"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Danislam Zagidulin        | D (R)           | 19       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £350     | 0        | 0        | 
| Muhamedjan Grischenko     | D (L)           | 16       | Dordoy              | 5'7"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ayzar Akmatov             | D (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulugbek Salamatov         | D (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulan Taalaybek            | D (C)           | 17       | Kara-Balta          | 6'0"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Manas Smatov              | D (C)           | 17       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kursanbek Akmatov         | D/WB (R)        | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 5'3"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Nurtay Kurmantay          | D/WB (L)        | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £450     | 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        | 
| Beksultan Kaipov          | M (C)           | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £450     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov | M (C)           | 18       | Alay                | 5'9"     | £650     | 0        | 0        | 
| Aidar Mambetaliev         | M (C)           | 18       | Alga Bishkek        | 6'2"     | £450     | 0        | 0        | 
| Azamat Omuraliev          | M (C)           | 19       | Kara-Balta          | 5'7"     | £450     | 0        | 0        | 
| Marlen Dubanaev           | M/AM (L)        | 16       | Alga-Chuy           | 5'3"     | £0       | 0        | 0        | 
| Ivan Biyaliev             | M/AM (LC)       | 16       | 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"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Janboto Yrysbek           | ST (C)          | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kadyrbek Shaarbekov       | ST (C)          | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'10"    | £475     | 0        | 0        | 

Fresh from it's latest involuntary cull, six changes are required for this squad, with only one down to injury. Abdulnur Mamytov is recovering from a broken finger, and is going to be doubtful for the two matches, which may leave an opportunity for 16 year old Neftchi Kochkor-Ata keeper, Mirlan Orozbek, who is the latest young keeper to be drafted into the squad. The general core of the defence is still intact, but there are new faces. Another pair of sixteen year olds will provide back up at the full back positions, and Manas Smatov gets the job of stepping into the role that Maka Sakebaev has vacated. With Vladimir Badalov injured and Arbor Sataev back at his paper round, we have two young wingers who will be hoping to emulate Badalov's rise on the left side of the team. At least the striker options have remained as they are to provide a shred of consistency to the squad.

Edited by neilhoskins77

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

The Senior and Under-19 squads both travel out to Singapore together on the Tuesday morning, and will split off after their matches as they move on to seperate destinations for their second matches of this Window. There was another rallying call from the teenager who is becoming the voice of this side, and one of it's important players, Danislam Zagidulin. The right back used the media to tell his team mates that Singapore shouldn't be taken lightly, but with some confidence from their recent maiden victory, he was certainly expecting to get another win on the board.

I'm delighted to report that there are no club instructions issued at all to impact the Under-19's side, which is great news. They can really go for it and hopefully we'll get a couple of good performances out of them. Unfortunately, we can't say the same for the Senior's, who once again have to deal with a deluge of instructions. More about that later.

Thursday 6th October 2016 - 19:30pm
Under-19's International Friendly
Jalan Besar Stadium, Jalan Besar, Singapore
Singapore Under-19's v Kygyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
219. Weather :- Breezy, 31c.

And so it begins again, and a new batch of Under-19 players will attempt to intergrate themselves into the setup with the older and more experienced players who have been the mainstay's of this squad this year. Left winger Marlen Dubanaev is the only one who gets a start today out on the left wing. Two more will definietly be coming on at the break, as both our full backs are pretty tired, and neither has more than a half of football in them at the moment.

The game was very uneventful until the quarter of an hour mark. Gareth Low drifted in a corner for Singapore that was headed as far as Haziq Abdur Raheem. A cross field pass was sent to Amer Hakeem Nazri, who sent a threaded ball down the left channel for midfielder Shaqi Sulaiman to chase after. Ernist Batyrkanov got in front of him, but he didn't clear the ball well, as it went right to Herman Nulhaqiem. He volleyed it to the far post, where Ikhsan Fandi headed it against the post, the ball broke to Low, but his shot was blocked, before it rolled to Sulaiman, who blasted a shot that Georgiy Slavnyi got a hand to, but couldn't keep out. We tried to get ourselves back on level terms, Batyrkanov sending in a low skidding shot that beat Hafiz Ahmad, but just went past the post. Almaz Omoraliev was next to try his luck, connecting with a Viktor Kelm corner delivery, but again, the ball went just past the same upright. Chances continued to be created, new boy Marlen Dubanaev was next to try and find the net, a shot on the turn with his weaker right foot that Ahmad held onto. Singapore came back into the game later in the half, Low's cross picked out Joshua Pereira, who forced a smart low stop at his near post out of Slavnyi. Then the wonderfully named Joan Hairey curled a shot from distance that had Slavnyi moving his feet to get across his goalmouth, but it went just inches past the far post.

I made the change at both full back positions as anticipated at the break, with youngsters coming on for more experienced, but fatigued players. I made three other changes at the same time, two in the midfield, and another at left wing, where youngster Dubanaev was replaced by another debutant, Ivan Biyaliev. Maybe there is more to be said for cohesion though, as within two minutes of the restart, we fell further behind. Taking the blame for this one unfortunately, would be wet behind the ears rookie right back, Kursanbek Akmatov. He tried a cross field ball from right back that was outside of his current skill range, and Joan Hairey easily picked it off, and sent it right to Alif Iskandar. He sent in a quick cross, and Ikhsan Fandi unleashed an unstoppable volley to make it 2-0. Making the decision that the result was likely beyond us tonight, I made another pair of changes. Slavnyi, who probably should have done better on the first goal, but made a couple of good saves later on, was replaced by another youngster being exposed to International football for the first time, Mirlan Orozbek. At the same time, centre back Ulan Taalaybek was replaced by Ulugbek Salamatov. Ten minutes after those changes, there was a chance for Pereira to test our new keeper, as a long ball over our defence sent him in on goal, but as Orozbek came out to narrow the angle, Pereira blasted his shot over the bar. Chances were starting to be at a premium for us, though a free kick from Almaz Omoraliev did bring a save out of Ahmad. I made my final changes with just over a quarter of an hour left on the clock, giving another pair of youngsters a run out at centre back and right wing, and bringing in Janboto Yrysbek to finish the match up front. By the latter stages, the game had really fizzled out, though Singapore nearly got another via a pair of subs, Danish Uwais' low cross was turned goalwards by Syukri Bashir, but he just missed the target.

Singapore Under-19's (1) 2 - Shaqi Sulaiman (15), Ikhsan Fandi (47)
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 0
Georgiy Slavnyi (Mirlan Orozbek 50); Danislam Zagidulin (capt - Kursanbek Akmatov 45), Ulan Taalaybek (Ulugbek Samatov 50), Ayzar Akmatov (Manas Smatov 73), Nurtay Kurmantay (Muhamedjan Grischenko 45); Aidar Mambetaliev, Azamat Omuraliev (Beksultan Kaipov 45), Ernist Batyrkanov (Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 45); Viktor Kelm (Kanat Yuldashev 73), Marlen Dubanaev (Ivan Biyaliev 45); Almaz Omoraliev (Janboto Yrysbek 73).
Unused Substitutes :- Abdulnur Mamytov (GK), Kadyrbek Shaarbekov.
Possession :- 45% - 55%. Shots on Target :- 4 - 3. Man of the Match :- Alif Iskandar (Singapore Under-19's).

The media called this a surprise result, and at first glance, it certainly looks that way. Delve a little deeper though, and maybe not so much. First of all, an easy one to look at is the age of the players. The youngest players in Singapore's squad are 17, of which there are only five. There are a further eight players who are now 19, while the remainder of the squad is currently 18. For comparison, we have six players who are just 16, and then another couple of 17 year olds. That's not the biggest difference though. The biggest single difference is the level that the players play at on a week to week basis. Singapore's S-League is a franchise League, where there is no relegation. It's also classed as a 'top tier' League in Asia, the winners go into the Continents premiére club competition, the Asian Champions League, rather than the Asian Confederations Cup, where the clubs from Kyrgyzstan go. Even further down the levels, the second tier of football in Singapore is ranked around 60th, while the equavilant tier of our own League is around 105th. These aren't excuses, simply observations. Our Under-19's are finding wins very difficult to come by. The facts show that may be something they should get used to.

The performance itself was a lacklustre one. We didn't create too much, and defensively, the Singapore side were very opportunistic. Georgiy Slavnyi is starting to concern me as a goalkeeper, he seems unable to show a level of consistency throughout a match, much less a sustained period of time. We need to see our players get regular competitive football, and implement a culture where those players are given chances to play at age group International level, enhance their reputations, and hopefully move on to bigger and better things, eventually making the jump up to the Senior National side. There is no pyramid and logical route right now. We need to do better with that to make things better for ourselves. It's not going to be a quick fix.

Edited by neilhoskins77

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

For the woes of the Under-19 side, see the exact opposite for the Senior side right now. Five wins in a row, and closing in on a record high FIFA World Ranking, our Senior National side has been running like a well oiled machine pretty much since I took over. Fingers crossed, I haven't jinxed it now. Next week, these players are going to find out who we're getting in our Group for the Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers, and the way things are going, I wish those Qualifiers were starting right now.

At least when we play competitive matches, we won't have to deal with the club instructions that we are continuing to get every time we play. Once more we have half a dozen requests, and again, it mostly impacts the defence. Pavel Matyash in goal, Tamirlan Kozubaev at centre back, and both right backs, Ulug'beq Mo'minov and Vadim Kharchenko, are all asked to play for no more than a half of football. In addition, midfielder Bakyt Kashkaev and striker Vladimir Verevkin are given the same instructions by their club sides as well.

Friday 7th October 2016 - 7:30pm
International Friendly
Jurong Stadium, Jurong, Singapore
Singapore v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
4,249. Weather :- 35c.

Once more, the Senior International match is held in a smaller venue than the one used for the Under-19 match, though at least it's three quarters full or thereabouts today. I've decided to make a change to the formation slightly today. I want to see if we can force the match a bit more when we're facing opposition that we're expected to beat, so one of the midfield trio is removed, and an extra striker is deployed, which with advanced wingers makes for a modified 4-4-2 formation. Ulug'beq Mo'minov gets a start at right back, aware he'll have to be switched at the break, while Tamirlan Kozubaev takes the first half at centre back, being paired up with Azamat Baymatov. There is a centre midfield pairing of Anatolii Vlasichev and Sergej Evljuskin, who wears the Captain's armband today. Rather than switching Edgar Bernhardt across from the left to the right, he is left where he is and Ahletdin Israilov starts on the right wing, with Vladimir Verevkin partnering Vitalij Lux up front.

It's a sensational start, or as sensational as it gets for a low key Friendly. Tamirlan Kozubaev collected an attempted through ball, and sent it right down the centre of the park, where the Singapore defenders all left it to each other, and Vladimir Verevkin raced through after it. The striker gave himself plenty of angle to use, and then slotted the shot low past Hassan Sunny, and into the far bottom corner. The goal was timed at 35 seconds, and would soon be verified as the quickest goal in Krygyzstan's International football history. Singapore weren't about to sit back though, and Nazrul Ahmad Nazari sent in a deep cross from the right, and Irwan Shah jumped between two defenders, beating both of them in the air, though they at least did enough to put him off, and he put his header well wide of the target. When Ahmad Nazari tried the same cross moments later, Kirill Priadkin was more assertive, coming off his line and jumping well to collect the cross and nullify the danger. The next time Ahmad Nazari tried to create something, skipper Sergej Evljuskin took the ball from him, and via Edgar Bernhardt, got the ball to Vitalij Lux on the halfway line. The striker held the ball up, while the Singapore defence all kept an eye on Verevkin to make sure he didn't repeat the trick. Nobody was watching Anatolii Vlasichev, and the midfielder made the run, and Lux picked him out. Vlasichev sauntered in on goal, and as Sunny made his move, he lifted the ball over the keeper, and notched his first ever International goal in his 20th cap. The new formation was going well, but that brings with it a new issue. Stick or Twist? I went with stick, and we were almost rewarded when Lux and Verevkin combined well, sending Vlasichev through the middle once more, but this time he ballooned his shot well over the bar. Hariss Harun tried his luck from range, and Priadkin couldn't hold onto that one, eventually managing to shovel the ball away from danger. The resulting set piece would lead to nothing, but in the 26th minute, Azamat Baymatov commited a foul that earned him a yellow card. Irwin Shah drifted the free kick in, and Edgar Bernhardt was deemed to have wrestled Harun to the floor. The ref awarded a penalty, and dished out a second yellow card in quick succession. Ahmad Nazari went low and hard down the centre of the goal with his penalty, the ball just avoiding Priadkin's feet as he tried to halt his dive, and our scoreboard advantage had been halved. The score remained 2-1 in our favour when we reached the break.

I used four of my six allocated changes at the break, three to satisfy club instructions. Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Tamirlan Kozubaev and Vladimir Verevkin were replaced by Vadim Kharchenko, Manas Zhutanov and Tosin Aleriwa. The other change saw Bernhardt come off. He had given away a spot kick, been booked, and generally not had a very good half of football, so Karim Izrailov came on in his place. Singapore made five of their six changes ten minutes after the break, which was slightly strange timing as they were putting some pressure on at that point. Priadkin was nearly caught out when Madhu Mohana tried to cross the ball from an almost impossible angle. Our keeper appeared to lose his bearings a bit, and not knowing who was in his goalmouth, he elected to push the ball behind. He didn't realise how close he was to his near post though, and pushed the ball against the upright, having to then use his feet to kick the ball away from danger. I made my final two changes in the 72nd minute, taking off Valery Kichin and Vlasichev to replace them with Sherzod Shakirov and Anton Zemlianukhin. It may have been a good time to go back to the three man midfield, as Singapore were looking the more likely, Firdaus Kasman taking a shot from the edge of the box, fortunatley that one was straight at Priadkin. The keeper had more work to do when he had to scramble across his goalmouth to claw away a Zulfadli Zainal cross that nearly crept in at the near post. Suria Prakash would have one final half chance to earn Singapore a draw, but his effort never really looked like troubling the target.

Singapore (1) 1 - Nazrul Ahmad Nazari (28 pen)
Kyrgyzstan (2) 2 - Vladimir Verevkin (1), Anatolii Vlasichev (13)
Kirill Priadkin; Ulug'beq Mo'minov (Vadim Kharchenko 45), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Manas Zhutanov 45), Azamat Baymatov, Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shakirov 72); Anatolii Vlasichev (Anton Zemlianukhin 72), Sergej Evljuskin (capt); Ahletdin Israilov, Edgar Bernhardt (Karim Izrailov 45); Vladimir Verevkin (Tosin Aleriwa 45), Vitalij Lux.

Unused Substitutes :- Pavel Matyash (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Daniel Tagoe, Bakyt Kashkaev, Raul' Dzhalilov, Maxim Agapov (GK).
Possession :- 52% - 48%. Shots on Target :- 6 - 3. Man of the Match :- Anatolii Vlasichev (Kyrgyzstan).

Well, that was an interesting evening. The formation change had us quickly into a two goal lead, but we kind of switched off after that to a large degree. As an option, it's a good one, but we'll have to be tactically savvy if we use it, and learn when it's going to be effective, and when it's time to hold onto what we have. Anatolii Vlasichev was delighted after the match. Not only had he broken his goalscoring duck for his nation, but he had earned a man of the match award, with his 100% tackle completion rate standing out, particularly in a second half where we were on the back foot for periods of time. He also covered 7.1 miles oin distance on the park this evening, quite an effort considering the heat and humidity.

National Team Captain and right back, Vadim Kharchenko, tells the press after the game that the players were a bit surprised to be run so close by Singapore, but there is a sense of relief that the job is done, and they can now move onto the next challenge. The win saw Kharchenko come off the bench to win his 28th cap for his country, and assuming he plays in Hong Kong, he will be on course to become Kyrgyzstan's joint record cap holder in November's fixture against Cyprus, equalling Vyacheslav Amin's current record of 31 caps. Speaking of records, six wins in a row and six games without defeat are both new National Team records.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

By the time the Senior side got back to the hotel later that night, the Under-19's had already checked out, and were on the way to the airport for the red eye flight out to India, where they would play on Monday. The Senior side would stay the night in Singapore, before making the flight North-East in the opposite direction tomorrow morning, as they head to Hong Kong for the Tuesday fixture.

The Under-19's are back in action on Monday afternoon following their flight to India. There is one club request for this match, with Almaz Omoraliev asked to play no more than 45 minutes by his club side. The match is taking place in the Eastern Indian city of Siliguri, home to nearly three quarter of a million people, and close to the borders of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and sits right at the foot of the Himalayas. The stadium hosting the game is the Kanchenjunga Stadium, which is unneccesarily large for this match with a capacity of 40,000, and used to be the home of Prayag United SC, before they moved to a smaller, and more suitable venue. The stadium was built in the 1980's, and is in reasonably good condition.

Monday 10th October 2016 - 15:30pm
Under-19's International Friendly
Kanchenjunga Stadium, Siliguri, India
India Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
239. Weather :- 29c.

Abdulnur Mamytov gets his shot to make his claim for the number one jersey, as he takes over in goal today. There is one change in the back four as Ulugbek Salamatov comes into the side in place of Ayzar Akmatov. There are two other changes made to the starting lineup as well. One is in the midfield, with Aidar Mambetaliev rotated out, and Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov starting in his place. Finally, on the left wing, Marlen Dubanaev is replaced by Ivan Biyaliev.

It could have been a great start, when in the 10th minute Rohit Kumar miscontrolled the ball from a throw in, and Almaz Omoraliev took it off him. He ran diagonally across the park, taking it past a defender, but then wasted his good work by firing his shot over the top. Six minutes later, we were behind instead. A long ball towards the edge of the Indian box was headed clear, and Ronald Singh turned and launched a counter attack. He pushed the ball into the right wing for Myron Bawdekar to run onto, and he crossed to the far post, where Kumit Lalthathanga arrived to sidefoot the ball high into the net. We set about trying to get our way back into the match, Azamat Omuraliev tried a shot from range that hit Gursimrat Singh, which took all the pace off the effort and Phurba Tempa Lachenpa made an easy save. He was called into action again shortly after, Viktor Kelm skinned two defenders on the right wing, and Lachenpa had to pluck his cross out of the air to prevent young Ivan Biyaliev having a chance to equalise. Midway through the half, we nearly fell a pair behind, Bawdekar was again the supplier, sending a through ball in for Ronald Singh, who pushed his shot into the side netting. Nurtay Kurmantay had the next try, but his free kick went just over the top. Kelm was still looking our best creative source, and he sent in a cross that Omoraliev got on the end of, but his shot was blocked. The loose ball rolled out to Ernist Batyrkanov, and the midfielder made to shoot, and then slipped the ball to Biyaliev. He tried to put his shot inside the near post, but Lachenpa denied him, pushing the shot away. With just under five minutes to go to half time, we launched a counter attack, Omoraliev played a one-two with Omuraliev, and then squared it to Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov, who slid it under Lachenpa's dive to square it at one apiece. Our time on level terms reached almost an entire four minutes, before Lalthathanga sent the ball back the middle and Ronald Singh diverted it inside Mamytov's post to put India back in front. It didn't take us nearly as long to equalise this time, Kurmantay sending a corner into the box, Lachenpa came off his line to claim the ball, but Ulan Taalaybek connected with a header that left the keeper stranded, and we would go into half time level after all.

We had a game on our hands, and there was no way I was taking off our best striker at this point. In fact, I wouldn't make any changes at all. Kurmantay would have the first chance of the second half, another free kick, this one curled past the wall, and it bounced just past the post. India had changed their keeper at the break, Francis Rodrigues was called into action when Kelm delivered another cross, this one brought down by Biyaliev, who then rolled it back into the path of Kelm, the new keeper pushed out his shot that was destined for the top corner. That wasn't even the worst part. The hosts went right back up the other end, won a free kick just outside the box, and Gursimrat Singh curled it home from 20 yards out to put India ahead for a third time in the afternoon. I made a treble change with just over twenty minutes left as we tried to get some fresh legs on the park to help us get level again. But every time we threatened, we risked being counter attacked. Aidar Mambetaliev had a shot cleared off the line, and they countered once more, sub Anirudh Thapa curling a shot just wide of the upright. I made the remainder of my changes, and sacrificed a midfielder to go to the same modified 4-4-2 that the Senior's had played with a few days ago. But the closest we got to even creating a chance was Beksultan Kaipov's attempted through ball for Kanat Yuldashev, the young winger not quite having to the pace to get there before Rodrigues in injury time.

India Under-19's (2) 3 - Kumit Lalthathanga (16), Ronald Singh (45), Gursimrat Singh (59)
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (2) 2 - Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov (41), Ulan Taalaybek (45+2)
Abdulnur Mamytov; Danislam Zagidulin (capt - Kursanbek Akmatov 84), Ulan Taalaybek (Manas Smatov 84), Ulugbek Salamtov 69), Nurtay Kurmantay (Muhamedjan Grischenko 84); Azamat Omuraliev (Beksultan Kaipov 69), Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov (Aidar Mambetaliev 69), Ernist Batyrkanov (Janboto Yrysbek 84); Viktor Kelm (Kanat Yuldashev 84), Ivan Biyaliev (Marlen Dubanaev 84); Almaz Omoraliev (Kadyrbek Shaarbekov 84).

Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Mirlan Orozbek (GK).
Possession :- 46% - 54%. Shots on Target :- 3 - 5. Man of the Match :- Kumit Lalthathanga (India Under-19's).

That was a spirited performance from our youngsters, and they were a little bit unlucky not to come away from Eastern India with some kind of result against a side made up primarily of players from the increasingly respected I-League, which is edging towards the top twenty in the continent, and attracting better players, and more money. The marquee player in that League was currently seen as Haiti's 27 year old forward, Sony Norde, who had been tearing up the Asian Confederations Cup, until his side were knocked out by Eastern of Hong Kong. But Brazilians and Spanish players are increasingly being lured to the League, and while there isn't expected to be a 'Chinese boom' when it comes to the finances, there is certainly some new money there. The League was also now also providing a platform for a player considered one of India's greatest ever football stars. 32 year old Bengaluru striker, Sunil Chhetri is just short of 100 caps, and has 53 International goals to his name.

Next month our youngsters will complete their 2016 calendar with two more matches, the first seeing them host a European visitor for the first time under my leadership. One of the world's youngest nations will visit us to play in Belovodskoye, as we welcome Kosovo for a match. Their Under-19's are in a similar position to us, having won only one match this year, which was early on against Andorra. They were pretty uncompetitive in their European Under-19 Championship First Qualifying Round Group. Maybe we can finish at home on a high before the lads go out to Hong Kong to finish their matches for the year. They are reported to be in reasonable spirits as they head back to their clubs.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

A new set of club instructions have been received for the Senior squad, as they arrive in Hong Kong, fresh from their victory in Singapore. Once more, our defenders are impacted the most, especially the centre backs. Of the four we have in the squad, three are asked to play no more than 45 minutes, Tamirlan Kozubaev, Manas Zhutanov and Shuhrat Rahmonov. On the left side of the back four, Valery Kichin is also put under the restriction. The one other player to be affected is striker Vladimir Verevkin. The new club instructions are in addition to the ones already in place on Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Vadim Kharchenko, Pavel Matyash and Bakyt Kashkaev.

It's an early evening kick off for us today, and that's good. It gives us some time to get back to the hotel after the match, get the players after match warm down's done, get them fed, and then gather as a group to discover our fate, as we finally find out who our opponents will be in the Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers.

Tuesday 11th October 2016 - 18:00pm
International Friendly
Meong Kok Stadium, Meong Kok, Hong Kong
Hong Kong v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
2,626. Weather :- 14c.

Thankfully, despite the earlier kick off, it's much, much cooler in Hong Kong than it had been in Singapore. 20 degrees cooler actually. With so many restrictions in place, and a limit of six substitutions, we would need to tinker with the lineup a little. After the decision was made to start the game once more in the modified 4-4-2 formation, the first change was made at left back, with Sherzod Shakirov given a rare start in place of Valery Kichin. There would be another start in midfield as Captain for Sergej Evljuskin, but he would have a new midfield partner today, with Anton Zemlianukhin brought in to replace Anatolii Vlasichev, who was man of the match last time out. On the wings, Edgar Bernhardt gets the chance to put his poor outing in Singapore behind him, as he stays in the side, but switches from the left wing across to the right. That means Ahletdin Israilov is left out, and there is a first cap for Raul' Dzhalilov on the left wing. Up front, Vitalij Lux starts once more, but this time Tosin Aleriwa partners him, with Vladimir Verevkin dropping to the bench.

It was a positive start for us, with plenty of possession despite the poor state of the playing surface, which is used day in and day out, and wasn't necessarily ideal for passing sides. Tosin Aleriwa held the ball up outside the box, and was shoved in the back, Sergej Evljuskin sent the free kick off the target. Good interpassing between Evljuskin, Anton Zemlianukhin and Edgar Bernhardt would provide a surprise chance for centre back Azamat Baymatov, who had stayed up following a corner. He came close too, his effort from the edge of the box just going past the near post and ruffling the side netting on it's way past. Our domination of the ball would continue, with Zemlianukhin in particular enjoying himself, producing a wonderful piece of skill just outside the box to evade two defenders, and passing to Evljuskin who's deflected shot nearly caught out Wang Zengpeng, but he just got back across his goal to keep his side level. From the corner, Baymatov came close for the second time, thumping his header flush against the near upright. When Hong Kong produced their first chance a bit over midway through the half, it was a long ball over our high defensive line that sent Sandro away, his first touch sent him a bit wider than he would have liked though as Tamirlan Kozubaev leant on him, and Sandro fired his shot into the near post's side netting. We created once more in the 28th minute, Evljuskin setting Raul'Dzhalilov into some space, and he made ground on the left. He tried to play it to the feet of Vitalij Lux, but a defender got a foot in. The ball went back to Evljuskin, and he sent it square to Zemlianukhin. From a bit over 20 yards out, he curled a shot that left Zengpeng stranded, and found the top corner. It was a quality strike from a quality player. That increased the tempo of the game, and Hong Kong's ambitions. That in turn increased the space we had to play in. When a cross into our box was headed clear, and Aleriwa took control on the right touchline. He sent the ball down the line for Zemlianukhin to run onto. He got to the byline and cut the ball back across goal, but just to heavy for either Lux or Dzhaliov to be able to finish it. But Dzhalilov retrieved the ball, and sent it back to Sherzod Shakirov, and he curled a cross right into the middle, which Aleriwa diverted into the bottom corner for his second International goal.

That first half went well, but we had to make changes at the break. Three of them were made, and all were in the back four, as Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Kozubaev and Baymatov who had picked up a booking, all came off the park, and were replaced by Vadim Kharchenko, Manas Zhutanov and Shuhrat Rahmonov. With a two goal lead, we could have considered switching back to the three man midfield again, but once more I went with the option of leaving it as we were for now. After Hong Kong tried to move themselves up the park a bit, normal service was resumed, and Bernhardt touched a free kick sideways for Dzhalilov, who attempted to add a first goal to his first cap, but he drilled the effort wide of the post. Before the hour mark, we had our third goal though, and Shakirov would once again be key. The left back won the ball initially himself inside his own half on the left touchline. He played it to halfway, and found the feet of Lux, but he had nowhere to go, and sent it back to Shakirov before making a run. The defender who had pressed Lux on the halfway line was slow to spot the danger, and Shakirov lifted it back over his head. Lux angled his run, and went in on goal, drawing Zengpeng, and then slotting the ball under his dive, extending our lead to three. Clearly this was most certainly the time to switch off the taps so to speak, but again, I just left things as they were. I'd pay for that very quickly, Nigerian born forward Alex involved twice, once to send the ball wide, and a second time to collect the ball on the edge of the box. With no option of a shot himself, he slipped the ball to sub Jaimes McKee, and he sent a low shot past Kirill Priadkin's dive, and into the bottom corner. I did make a change halfway through the second half, but it wasn't a tactical one, Evljuskin was replaced in midfield by Bakyt Kashkaev. The immediate threat from Hong Kong seemed to have gone, and Zemlianukhin came close to restablishing our three goal lead, but Zengpeng held onto his free kick effort. In the 72nd minute, Zemlianukhin was directing traffic again in the home sides half, and he spotted the deep overlap of Vadim Kharchenko. He lifted the ball out wide to the full back, and he clipped the ball into the middle for the quick arriving Dzhalilov, but Jason Eng was there with a timely header to deny our young winger once again. And wouldnt you know that Hong Kong would go right back down the other end, McKee taking a very quick free kick after a Bakyt Kashkaev foul, and the ball was sent left to Kwok Kin Pong, who had acres of space. He measured his cross into the box, and Alex beat Shuhrat Rahmonov in the air to connect with a downward header that beat Priadkin. Ok, now I was definitly making the change, but I wouldn't need to. Almost right from the restart, Alex clashed heads with Kharchenko, and he wouldn't be able to continue. Having used all their subs, Hong Kong would now need to finish the match with ten men. I would make my final pair of changes in the 81st minute, Zemlianukhin and Bernhardt being replaced by Anatolii Vlasichev and Ahletdin Israilov. Without their main attacking weapon, the home side now looked capable of providing almost no threat at all, and Ahletdin Israilov nearly made the scoreline look more respectable for us with a left footed free kick that was a whisker wide in injury time.

Hong Kong (0) 2 - Jaimes McKee (60), Alex (73)
Kyrgyzstan (2) 3 - Anton Zemlianukhin (28), Tosin Aleriwa (32), Vitalij Lux (59)
Kirill Priadkin; Ugug'beq Mo'minov (Vadim Kharchenko 45), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Manas Zhutanov 45), Azamat Baymatov (Shuhrat Rahmonov 45), Sherzod Shakirov; Anton Zemlianukhin (Anatolii Vlasichev 81), Sergej Evljuskin (capt - Bakyt Kashkaev 66); Edgar Bernhardt (Ahletdin Israilov 81), Raul' Dzhalilov, Tosin Aleriwa, Vitalij Lux.
Unused Substitutes :- Pavel Matyash (GK), Valery Kichin, Daniel Tagoe, Karim Izrailov, Vladimir Verevkin, Maxim Agapov (GK).
Possession :- 48% - 52%. Shots on Target :- 4 - 8. Man of the Match :- Anton Zemlianukhin (Kyrgyzstan).

Anton Zemlianukhin's goal was one that would be replayed many dozens of times in sports news bulletins across Asia over the coming hours. It was a timely reminder from the 27 year old just who the class player of our side is, and he is now just one goal away from becoming the first every Kyrgyzstani player to reach double figures in International football. With his contract running out in a couple of months time, and no extended offer seemingly on the table at the moment, it will be very interesting to see where he ends up playing his club football next season. His wage demands mean its 99.9% certain that it won't be back in his homeland.

I think it would be a fair comment to say that the scoreline didn't necessarily reflect the domination we had for long periods of that match. If we start with two strikers in competitive matches, we'll certainly have to be aware of when the time comes to close the game down. Speaking of competitive football, it's time for that long awaited and all important draw......

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

After securing our seventh consecutive victory, we hot footed it back to the team hotel for the big event of the day, much bigger than a Friendly against Hong Kong. It was finally draw day for the final Qualifying stage for the 2019 Asian Nations Cup Finals, which would be held in the United Arab Emirates. As it turned out, there was no need for us to rush at all. We'd had an earlier kick off than usual at 6pm local time, and also, Hong Kong is four hours ahead of the UAE where the draw was being held. So we had plenty of time to sit down to eat etc, as the draw wouldn't begin until midnight where we were.

There is limited call for Kyrgyz bars and restaraunts in Hong Kong, so the players, staff and myself, would have to content ourselves with the more than adequate surroundings of the hotel bar. The good thing about watching a draw, is that it doesn't really matter which language it's conducted in, it's still fairly easy to follow what's going on. That works especially well when it's not a UEFA draw, meaning we didn't have to sit through what felt like a week listening to Giorgio Marchetti explaining in tedious detail what was about to happen, without any real need.

Things are changing a little in Asian football, and much like their European counterparts, they too have taken the decision to expand the biggest International tournament in their continent that involves all of the member nations. For the first time, the Finals will feature 24 teams instead of 16. People might say that it means that some nations will get into the tournament through the side door. As far as I'm concerned, and I am fairly confident that I speak for the nation of Kyrgyzstan here, I couldn't give a stuff if it's through a side door, tradesmans entrance, or even a hole in the fence, if it means we qualify, it's all good.

So how's it going to work Giorgio? Well, if you're sitting comfortably, I'll begin. The twelve lowest ranked nations of the 46 Asian members would play in the First Qualifying Round in a two legged tie. The six winners would join the remaining 34 nations in the Second Round, and that would include the hosts, United Arab Emirates. But why are the hosts involved I hear you cry? Good question. It's because these Qualifiers were also going to double as Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia. If you have read the original carnation of this story, you'll remember that I was (technically, if you count this as a continuation), in charge for that Second Round. We finished third in our Group of five.

Anyway, I digress. So, eight groups of five nations, and the Group winners plus four best runner's up, would all go into the Finals in UAE, as well as continuing into the next stage of Qualification to be Asia's representatives at the World Cup. So these are the twelve nations that qualified for the 2019 Asian Nations Cup once the Second Round of Qualifiers were complete.

Saudi Arabia (Group A Winners), United Arab Emirates (Host and Group A Runner's-Up), Australia (Group B Winners), Qatar (Group C Winners),
China (Group C Runner's-Up), Iran (Group D Winners), Japan (Group E Winners), Syria (Group E Runner's-Up)
Thailand (Group F Winners), Iraq (Group F Runners-Up), South Korea (Group G Winners), Uzbekistan (Group H Winners)

Still with me? Excellent! So, half of the tournament places are now taken up, and that takes you up to the Asian Nations Cup Qualifying Playoffs that started in April, and were documented earlier through this story. There are now 24 nations fighting to take the twelve remaining spots. Six groups of four, and the top two qualify. With twelve of the continents leading nations already safely through, we would be one of the favourites to take a place in the Finals against what's left, certainly based on the FIFA World Rankings at least.

2019 Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers, Round Three.
Group A :- Oman (119th), Lebanon (141st), Vietnam (150th), Singapore (164th)
Group B :- Palestine (=105th), Tajikistan (143rd), Afghanistan (148th), Guam (177th)
Group C :- Jordan (90th), Hong Kong (151st), Yemen (156th), East Timor (173rd)
Group D :- Kyrgyzstan (=109th), Turkmenistan (=129th), Myanmar (163rd), Laos (172nd)
Group E :- North Korea (=105th), Kuwait (142nd), Malaysia (=157th), Cambodia (170th)
Group F :- Bahrain (=114th), Philippines (134th), India (153rd), Bangladesh (=178th)

*FIFA World Rankings in brackets - Rankings for October'16, announced a day after draw made*

We couldn't have asked for much better than that. While we got the highest ranked nation from the second pot, we have been grouped with two of the lowest ranked nations left in the competition, and will surely be fighting with Turkmenistan for the Group win. If we can't get through this challenge, particularly with recent form, I'll never be able to show my face in Bishkek again. We're up another two spots in the lastest FIFA World Rankings as well.

We now have a revised schedule going forward. Our Friendly double header, starting in India, and then back home to play Cyprus in November is still very much on. We'll start our Qualifying campaign away to Laos in late March of next year. There was a Friendly spot available before that, and I decided to take it as we wouldn't have been together as a group for around four months by that time. So on our way to Laos, we'll stop off in Nepal for our first 2017 fixture. The next matches are in June, which is Myanmar at home, which replaces our Friendly against Moldova. Again there is a Friendly spot available before this fixture, but Moldova were not available. Replacing them would be Latvia, who snubbed us for Friendlies on several occassions in the past, but are happy to come and play us now we're a dozen places higher up the rankings than them. Later in the year we'll face Turkmenistan at home in September, then it's Myanmar away in October, followed by Laos at home in November. Surely to God we'll be qualified by then, but if not, we'll need a result in Turkmenistan, which is our final fixture in March 2018, ten months before the Finals begin.

On our flight back to Kyrgyzstan from Hong Kong, the press are far more interested in my reaction to the draw than anything to do with the match in Hong Kong. I tell them that I fancy our chances of Qualifying for a major tournament for the first time in our history, and that we intend to make sure we take the opportunity we have been given. They ask if I agree with the general opinion that Turkmenistan are the toughest opponents in our Group. I decide to emphasise my confidence by stating that if indeed they are our toughest opposition, then we should consider that to be good news.

So good news apparently. And when I arrived in Bishkek, I would be greeted with more good news for us as well.......

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, ClemB said:

Great story:)

Thanks Clem. Glad you are enjoying it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont).

I'm not going to pretend I know what level of work goes into checking if a player is elgible to play for a certain country. Do you walk around the streets asking random people about their family tree, or lurk around outside the embassy of choice in random countries and interogate anyone who walks in and make them do some keepie uppies? Airports. That's got to be a good place to find people of a particular nationality. Maybe find an obliging check-in desk worker and get them to check every passport, do a bit of delegating? After all, that's all I've done.

It's my Scouting team who are supposed to be constantly checking for players who could be brought into our National Pool, and this particular player shouldn't have been too hard to spot. Born in Bishkek, playing in one of the top ten Leagues in Europe, and while it wouldn't be correct to say he's lighting it up, he'll do for us.

At just eighteen years of age, Ilzat Akhmetov isn't really supposed to be lighting it up just yet though I suppose. He left Kyrgyzstan at the age of fifteen, and signed up as a youngster in Russia with Rubin Kazan. He is still well over two years away from being eligible for Russia, and while the jury is out on whether he would have the quality to break into their squad, he is now just starting to make the breakthrough with Rubin.

Akhmetov is under the tutelage of Spanish manager, Javi Gracia, a 46 year old former Villarreal player who worked his way up the management ladder at his former club, but saw no way into the main hotseat, so moved to Greece. After a good couple of years there, he moved back to Spain, where a good season apiece with Almería and Osasuna earned him a bigger job at Málaga. Within two years, Gracia had the chance to move out to Kazan, and his first season with the Russian top tier side is going pretty well so far. As they head towards the winter break, they sit 5th in the table, and have a shot at potentially getting into next seasons UEFA Europa League. But more importantly than that, at least as far as we're concerned, is that he believes in the ability of young Akhmetov.

I don't want to term Akhmetov as a utility player, as it's not a label that most footballers are fond of. So we'll go with versatile instead. He can play down the left or right, excels as an attacking midfielder, and can also play as a second striker if needed as well. He has made five appearances for his club this season, all from the bench, and has produced a goal and an assist. He has been a starter in the Russian Cup too. He is contracted for another two and a half years, earning £1,600 a week, and considered to be worth around £115k on the transfer market. He is being compared to his Rubin team mate, and former Hadjuk Split star, Mijo Caktas. The 24 year old Croatian may have to keep an eye on his First Team spot if Akhmetov continues to develop at the rate he has been.

So it's another good news day for Kyrgyzstani football.......as long as he accepts our call up. If not, that whole lovely story about his development will mean nothing to us.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

October 2016 (cont)/November 2016

As we head through October, we started to pick up some injuries to players involved in the Kyrgyzstan setup. Vladimir Verevkin was first. The Alay Osh striker twisted a knee in training in mid October, which will keep him out for around three weeks. That means that provided he doesn't suffer any setbacks, he could possibly still be involved.

The next one was Bakyt Kashkaev. Still relatively new to the National Squad, the three times capped centre midfielder would have been hoping for a chance to push his claims for a place ready for when the competitive action starts next year. That won't happen now, as Kashkaev has sprained an ankle, ruling him out for about five weeks, meaning he won't be part of our November fixtures.

Young striker Kadyrbek Shaarbekov was the next to go down with an injury, also an ankle injury, though this time not as serious. Just a twist this time, but the Ala-Too Naryn player is still going to be out for a couple of weeks. He is also going to be doubtful for the November matches.

And the injury fate gods still weren't quite done with us yet. Under-19's goalkeeper Abdulnur Mamytov has sprained his wrist less than week before the squads are announced. The Alay Osh youngster may still be able to take part.

Kyrgyzstan Senior National Squad Announcement
India (153rd) - Away (11/11/16 at Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai, India) International Friendly
Cyrpus (93rd) - Home (15/11/16 at Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) International Friendly

| Name               | Position        | Age      | Club                    | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Kirill Priadkin    | GK              | 39       | Kaisar (KAZ)            | 6'3"     | £275     | 14       | 0        | 
| Pavel Matyash      | GK              | 29       | UiTM (MAS)              | 6'6"     | £0       | 9        | 0        | 
| Maxim Agapov       | GK              | 28       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £700     | 5        | 0        | 
| Manas Zhutanov     | D (RLC)         | 25       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'11"    | £975     | 8        | 0        | 
| Valery Kichin      | D (LC)          | 24       | Yenisey (RUS)           | 5'11"    | £64K     | 20       | 0        | 
| Azamat Baymatov    | D (C)           | 26       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £900     | 27       | 3        | 
| Shuhrat Rahmonov   | D (C)           | 28       | Alay                    | 6'3"     | £875     | 3        | 0        | 
| Tamirlan Kozubaev  | D (C)           | 22       | Dordoy                  | 6'1"     | £1.2K    | 7        | 0        | 
| Ulug'beq Mo'minov  | D/WB (R)        | 31       | Alay                    | 5'11"    | £210     | 4        | 0        | 
| Sherzod Shakirov   | D/WB (L)        | 25       | Hala (BHR)              | 5'11"    | £1K      | 15       | 0        | 
| Vadim Kharchenko   | D/WB/M (R)      | 32       | Dordoy                  | 5'9"     | £140     | 29       | 1        | 
| Daniel Tagoe       | DM              | 30       | Busaiteen (BHR)         | 5'10"    | £0       | 17       | 0        | 
| Sergej Evljuskin   | DM, M (C)       | 28       | Kassel (GER)            | 5'10"    | £54K     | 8        | 0        | 
| Anatolii Vlasichev | M (C)           | 28       | Omani (OMA)             | 6'0"     | £12.5K   | 21       | 1        | 
| Bektur Talgat      | M (C)           | 22       | Churchill Bros (IND)    | 5'9"     | £15.25K  | 0        | 0        | 
| Anton Zemlianukhin | M/AM (RC)       | 27       | Sukhothai (THA)         | 5'9"     | £47.5K   | 25       | 9        | 
| Karim Izrailov     | M/AM (LC)       | 29       | Navy FC (THA)           | 6'0"     | £46.5K   | 8        | 0        | 
| Edgar Bernhardt    | AM (RL)         | 30       | Rödinghausen (GER)      | 5'9"     | £22.5K   | 16       | 3        | 
| Viktor Maier       | AM (RC)         | 26       | FC Emmen (NED)          | 6'0"     | £85K     | 13       | 0        | 
| Ahletdin Israilov  | AM (RC), ST (C) | 22       | Cherkaskyi Dnipro (UKR) | 5'7"     | £96K     | 7        | 1        | 
| Vladimir Verekin   | ST (C)          | 29       | Alay Osh                | 5'11"    | £875     | 14       | 5        | 
| Tosin Aleriwa      | ST (C)          | 26       | Abdysh-Ata              | 5'8"     | £1.1K    | 4        | 2        | 
| Vitalij Lux        | ST (C)          | 27       | Unterhaching (GER)      | 6'0"     | £23.5K   | 19       | 7        | 

So you'll no doubt notice that the name of Ilzat Akhmetov does not appear in the squad list. When I asked him to join the squad, he decided to decline. So I reached out to the teenager, and spoke to him. He said that right now, he would rather just keep his options open. He said he appreciated it would be very tough to make the Russia squad if he did choose them, and he would not close the door on playing for the nation of his birth. He ended by saying that he appreciated the chat, and was pretty sure that we would speak again in the future. The door is most certainly not closed on this youngster being part of our squad one day.

As for the squad that was selected, well, there isn't too much of a change from last time around. Bakyt Kashkaev is out with injury, his replacement is Bektur Talgat, capped at Under-23 level, and now in line for his first Senior cap, thanks to his superb form in India, where he has been setting up goals by the bucket load for Churchill Bros. It would be somewhat ironic if he were to make his debut in the country where he has found such impressive form. In the other change to the midfield, Viktor Maier is back in the squad, replacing Raul' Dzhalilov, who's good outing will stand him in good stead in the future. There is just one other change, sort of. Ivan Filatov was selected last time out, and Vladimir Verevkin replaced him when injury forced him out. This time, Verevkin has been selected from the outset.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19 National Squad Announcement
Kosovo - Home (10/11/16 at Urozhay, Belovodskoye, Kyrgyzstan) Under-19's International Friendly
Hong Kong - Away (14/11/16 at So Kon Po Recreation Ground, So Kon Po, Hong Kong) Under-19's International Friendly

| Name                      | Position     | Age      | Club                | Height   | Value    | Caps     | Goals    | 
| Georgiy Slavnyi           | GK           | 19       | Ala-Too             | 6'4"     | £275     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdulnur Mamytov          | GK           | 18       | Alay                | 6'5"     | £275     | 0        | 0        | 
| Mirlan Orozbek            | GK           | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'3"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Danislam Zagidulin        | D (R)        | 19       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £325     | 0        | 0        | 
| Muhamedjan Grischenko     | D (L)        | 16       | Dordoy              | 5'7"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ayzar Akmatov             | D (C)        | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulugbek Salamatov         | D (C)        | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ulan Taalaybek            | D (C)        | 17       | Kara-Balta          | 6'0"     | £375     | 0        | 0        | 
| Manas Smatov              | D (C)        | 17       | Ala-Too             | 6'0"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kursanbek Akmatov         | D/WB (R)     | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 5'3"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Nurtay Kurmantay          | D/WB (L)     | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ernist Batyrkanov         | DM, M (C)    | 18       | Ala-Too             | 6'2"     | £600     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kanat Yuldashev           | M (R)        | 16       | Aldier              | 5'11"    | £600     | 0        | 0        | 
| Vladimir Badalov          | M (L)        | 16       | Neftchi Kochkor-Ata | 6'0"     | £475     | 0        | 0        | 
| Beksultan Kaipov          | M (C)        | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'11"    | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov | M (C)        | 18       | Alay                | 5'9"     | £625     | 0        | 0        | 
| Aidar Mambetaliev         | M (C)        | 18       | Alga Bishkek        | 6'2"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Azamat Omuraliev          | M (C)        | 19       | Kara-Balta          | 5'7"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Ivan Biyaliev             | M/AM (LC)    | 17       | 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"     | £400     | 0        | 0        | 
| Janboto Yrysbek           | ST (C)       | 19       | Ala-Too             | 5'9"     | £425     | 0        | 0        | 
| Kadyrbek Shaarbekov       | ST (C)       | 18       | Ala-Too             | 5'10"    | £425     | 0        | 0        | 

The Under-19's squad has an even more settled look to it than the Senior Squad does. There is just one change to the squad, and that is certainly not a bad change, as left winger Vladimir Badalov is back available once more, and he replaces Marlen Dubanaev. Despite the young look to this squad, even for an age group side, there are still seven players who are at the age of nineteen now. That means that they will need to be replaced in the not too distant future, so we really need some of the nations new young talent to get some games under their belts quickly, as we're going to need them sooner than anyone would really like.

Edited by neilhoskins77

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

November 2016 (cont).

Within hours of the squad being named, it is picked apart once more by the nations sports media. They are happy to see Viktor Maier back in the squad, and they are also intrigued by the inclusion of potenial latest new cap, Bektur Talgat. However, I'm surprised to hear that they are dismayed by the continued inclusion of full backs Vadim Kharchenko and Valery Kichin. They believe that both should be phased out now and replaced by other players. Kharchenko is 32, so it's understandable to a degree, though I have no complaints about his play for us this year. But Kichin however, is 24! It's ridiculous journalism as far as I'm concerned, and I won't be paying any attention to it.

Someone else who wasn't paying any attention to that paper talk was Kharchenko himself. On the final day of the domestic season, he earned the man of the match award as he set up both of Dordoy's goals in a 2-1 win at Ala-Too Naryn. It was at least a good way to finish the season for Dordoy, a season they'll be glad to see the back of, finishing fourth in the Top Liga, and with the propect of no continental football next season. Still, it could be worse for them, Ala-Too have been relegated, and will be replaced in the Top Liga by the winners of the Promotion Playoff between the Pervaya Liga Zone A and B Champions, as RUOR-97 Bishkek face Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia.

Up to this point, I have never been linked with a club job, but now my name has been mentioned as a candidate for a job, and it's a good one too. Ivaylo Petev, the 41 year old Bulgarian manager, has been sacked by Dinamo Zagreb after the Croatian heavyweights have been eliminated from this seasons UEFA Europa League Group Stage with two matches still to play after picking up just one point from four fixtures. He may have been treated a little harshly, as they were landed in a strong group with FK Austria Wien, Borussia Mönchengladbach and OGC Nice. Any sympathy I may have felt quickly disappeared when I was mentioned as a contender for the role, and speaking to Joe.c0.uk, who contacted me regarding the rumours, I told them that I would certainly be interested in speaking to the club about the job if they were in fact interested in hiring me. Embarassingly, they weren't interested, not even slightly. In fact, one of the club officials actually laughed when a journalist quizzed him about candidates for the job and mentioned my name. Hardly a ringing endorsement. It's just as well I have an International job isn't it? But if anyone should now ask me who I want to see win the Croatian Prva HNL, the answer is most definitely Hajduk Split!

The International Window has begun, and with the domestic season now finished for the most part, there are no club instructions for either of the two International sides I have on duty, though three of my Senior Squad have been given permission to arrive in India late, Valery Kichin, Daniel Tagoe and Anatolii Vlasichev.

Thursday 10th November 2016 - 19:30pm
Under-19 International Friendly
Urozhay, Belovodskoye, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's v Kosovo Under-19's
Attendance :-
275. Weather :- 16c.

When you're playing one of the nations that made up, or were intergrated into the former Yugoslavia, you can be sure you will be dealing with a technically gifted side. Kosovo will be no exception, though they are light on numbers, arriving with a squad of just seventeen players. Young Mirlan Orozbek will play in goal tonight, as currently I believe he is out best bet long term. Kursanbek Akmatov starts at right back with Danislam Zagidulin struggling for fitness. Vladimir Badalov returns to the lineup on the left wing after missing the last Window.

We were right about Kosovo being a technical side, as they passed the ball around slickly. Enis Zariqi passed up the chance to send a free kick into the box, and Bajram Plakiqi attempted to drive a shot at goal from around 25 yards out, Ulugbek Salamatov bravely blocked that one on the edge of his own box. Midway through the half, it was Nurtay Kurmantay who was providing the heroics, Leart Demaku the one disappointed to see his effort not get through. It took some time before we got to the point where we were taking shots of our own, but that's not to say we weren't in the game. We were playing some nice stuff ourselves, without necessarily threatening the visitors defence. With around ten minutes to go until half time, Almaz Omoraliev took the ball away from a defender, and was forced very wide, but showed some element of frustation by shooting anyway as he had no support with him, his speculative effort found only the side netting. It had been an interesting half of football, but goalless.

Kosovo used four of their six available substitutes at the break, while I left it as it was for the time being, telling my players that I was fairly pleased with what I had seen, electing to give them a bit of a morale boost. It almost paid an instant dividend too, Aidar Mambetaliev played a fantastic through ball from the centre circle right between the Kosovo defenders, and Omoraliev would have been clean through on the keeper, if the ball hadn't him on the heel and the chance evaporated. Ten minutes after the restart, I made my first pair of changes, switching both full backs with Kursanbek Akmatov and Kurmantay switched for Danislam Zagidulin and Muhamedjan Grischenko. Kosovo made their final two changes around the same time, which included a goalkeeper change. Meanwhile, our guests were still trying to pass their way through our defence, and Plakiqi curled an effort at goal as the hour mark approached, but Mirlan Orozbek made a comfortable catch. The next chance would fall our way, and sub left back Muhamedjan Grischenko tried to force a short cross into the middle, but the ball was partially blocked, and pinged around the penalty box, eventually finding it's way to Mambetaliev, but the midfielder lost his composure, and he got right under the shot sending it high over the cross bar. Our best chance so far would come as we approached the midway point of the half, Viktor Kelm and Beksultan Kaipov both involved in getting the ball to Mambetaliev, and he slipped it to Omoraliev. Our striker kept his shot from the edge of the box low, and aimed just inside the post, sub keeper Isuf Qerimi made a wonderful save, stretching enough to get fingertips to the ball, and divert it around the post. Vladimir Badalov was having a very quiet game, and he was subbed off in the 69th minute, which ended up being a treble change, as Kaipov and Omoraliev joined him, with Ivan Biyaliev, Azamat Omuraliev and Janboto Yrysbek all coming on. I didn't plan on making any more changes, but Salamatov was running out of gas late on, and Manas Smatov came on in his place with a little more than five minutes remaining. There would be one final chance to break the deadlock with four minutes left, as Janboto Yrysbek received the ball after Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov won it with a tackle on the edge of his own penalty box. The ball was spread left for Ivan Biyaliev to run onto, and the young winger looked up, and picked a perfect cross, as the ball arrived in stride for Yrysbek. He struck it first time, keeping his shot low and hard, but Qerimi produced another superb stop to keep it out, and this one would end in a draw that wasn't necessarily a bad result for us.

Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 0
Kosovo Under-19's (0) 0

Mirlan Orozbek; Kursanbek Akmatov (Danilsam Zagidulin 55), Ulan Taalaybek, Ulugbek Salamatov (Manas Smatov 83), Nurtay Kurmantay (Muhamedjan Grischenko 55); Beksultan Kaipov (Azamat Omuraliev 69), Aidar Mambetaliev, Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov (Ernist Batyrkanov 90); Viktor Kelm, Vladimir Badalov (Ivan Biyaliev 69); Almaz Omoraliev (capt - Janboto Yrysbek 69).
Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Ayzar Akmatov, Kanat Yuldashev, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov, Abdulnur Mamytov (GK).
Possession :- 51% - 49%. Shots on Target :- 5 - 1. Man of the Match :- Faton Neziri (Kosovo Under-19's).

I wouldn't want you to think it's a lack of ambition that leads me to say that the draw was a good result. Far from it. But with the amount of resets that our Under-19 side has endured this year, at this point, any positive result has to be seen as a good one. The youngsters worked hard, and more importantly, defended well, and as a unit. Mirlan Orozbek didn't have a great deal to do, but what he did have to do, he did well, impressing with his distribution of the ball. Indeed, had it not been for the couple of superb saves from sub keeper Isuf Qerimi, we could well have been congratulating the lads on a very nice victory this evening.

Edited by neilhoskins77

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

November 2016 (cont).

So a decent start to the Window for the youngsters, who will now pack themselves up in the hotel, and move out to Hong Kong, where they will play their final match of the year on Monday. It was interesting to note that while the media described the Under-19's draw with Kosovo as 'tepid' and 'disappointing', the fans seemed fairly happy with the outing, some enthusing that it was nice to see the youngsters continue their development.

Attention now shifts to the subcontinent, where our Senior Squad have travelled to Mumbai, where they will face India. There is a school of thought that The Blue Tigers are a considerably better side than their FIFA World Ranking of 153rd may suggest. They are led by 54 year old Londoner and die hard Gunners fan, Stephen Constantine, who has been in charge for nearly two years now. He is preparing his side for a busy 2017, where as well as trying to qualify for the Asian Nations Cup Finals, they will also be attempting to defend their South Asian Football Federation Championship in Bangladesh. They have won three of the last four and five of the last eight SAFF Championships.

Friday 11th November 2016 - 15:30pm
International Friendly
Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai, India
India v Kyrgyzstan
Attendance :-
14,287. Weather :- Breezy, 27c.

The 20,000 capacity sports complex is around three quarters full, but heaven knows why you would want the match to kick off in the mid afternoon heat, only a breeze making it bearable. A lot of people are tipping India to give us a real game today, and I certainly agree with them. They have a player in Europe now in goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who is playing for the Stabæk club in Norway. They also have the previously mentioned striker, Sunil Chhetri, who is earning his 99th international cap today. Despite the potential banana skin, I resisted the urge to match up with their formation, and sent out the lads in our three centre midfielders tactic, with two inside forwards and a single striker ahead of them. Valery Kichin starts at left back, but is unlikely to play much more than a half of football after playing a club match in Russia earlier in the week. Karim Izrailov is selected on the left wing, while Tosin Aleriwa starts up front.

It was immediately clear that we were going to try and keep the ball, and get our defensive line pretty high up to pin India back. It was also pretty clear straight away, that this would require our passing to be precise, and that Tamirlan Kozubaev didn't get the memo, trying a risky pass from the edge of his own box out to Valery Kichin, and Sunil Chhetri managed to intercept it. He was pushed wide, forcing him to seek a cross, which was partially blocked, the resulting shot from Dhanpal Ghanesh was firmly blocked off, as was Rowllin Borges effort moments later. Chhetri would have another go when Sandesh Jhingan released him with a long pass, but the prolific scorer failed to test Kirill Priadkin, his shot flashing across the face of the goal, but missing the target. We created something for ourselves, or rather Karim Izrailov did, as he nipped in to steal the ball from a dwaddling full back, and found Tosin Aleriwa just outside the box. The strikers effort was perhaps more of a sighter, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu held it fairly easily. We were starting to assert ourselves a bit more though, and Anatolii Vlasichev had an effort blocked on the edge of the box. Borges got his next effort through for India, but that one was well over the top. The game needed a goal, and it gone one in the 34th minute, the ball spread from the centre of the park out to the right, and Viktor Maier let a howitzer of a shot go. Singh Sandhu got good hands to it, and pushed it away, but not to safety, as Kichin arrived to sweep the ball home, netting his first ever International goal.

With a 1-0 lead at the break, goalscorer Kichin was taken off, and replaced as expected by Sherzod Shakirov. There were also two changes made by our hosts. Their left back, Narayan Das had shown in the first half that he could pick a pass, and wasn't too shabby when it came to sending in a cross either. He might have wished he'd gone for a cross with his 49th minute free kick, which may well have still been rising as he made his way back to his left back position. He did much better a few minutes later, dropping the ball over our back four, and Victorino Fernandes showed great technique to reach it with a sliding and stretching volley, which just missed the target. Meanwhile, we weren't creating too much, and when we did, Maier was well off balance when he tried a speculative effort which was miles off course. India brought on a debutant by the name of Kean Lewis, and he started to make a nuisance of himself in midfield, eventually sending the ball out to Sahil Sandhu, who's cross was met by Chhetri, but he pushed his header just wide of the target. The ball wasn't sticking up top for us, and Aleriwa isn't a natural deep lying forward, so I switched him for Vitalij Lux, who can sit a bit deeper, which I hoped would help us see out the win at least. Kozubaev came off at the same time for Azamat Baymatov in a change to the back four. That move up front certainly helped, and it gave Priadkin a target to aim for with pressure relieving long clearance's, as he was called into action several times to collect crosses from Sandhu. With around ten minutes to go, I made a triple change, Anton Zemlianukhin replaced by Daniel Tagoe, who would move back into a deeper holding role to protect the back four, while the inside forwards were both switched, Israliov and Maier replaced by Edgar Bernhardt and Ahletdin Israilov to try and get some quick fresh legs on for the closing spell. As it turned out, we would be defending for a lot of the last spell, but we did that well with Daniel Tagoe showing exactly why he is a handy player to have around in the squad. We did create the best late chance, with Ahletdin Israilov curling an effort just over the bar, but we came away with our win, though it was every bit as tough as people said it would be.

India (0) 0
Kyrgystan (1) 1
Valery Kichin (34)
Kirill Priadkin; Vadim Kharchenko (capt), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Azamat Baymatov 69), Manas Zhutanov, Valery Kichin (Sherzod Shakirov 45); Anatolii Vlasichev, Anton Zemlianukhin (Daniel Tagoe 81), Sergej Evljuskin; Viktor Maier (Ahletdin Israilov 81), Karim Izrailov (Edgar Bernhardt 81); Tosin Aleriwa (Vitalij Lux 69).
Unused Substitutes :- Ulug'beq Mo'minov, Pavel Matyash (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Bektur Talgat, Vladimir Verevkin, Maxim Agapov (GK).
Possession :- 47% - 53%. Shots on Target :- 1 - 4. Man of the Match :- Vadim Kharchenko (Kyrgyzstan).

I'm more than happy with that. Despite only being a Friendly, that fixture represented a banana skin for the lads, and they came through what eventually proved to be a pretty stern test. In fact, a reporter from the Asian Football Post called on our squad to start believing in themselves before heading into next years all important Asian Nations Cup Qualifiers, adding that belief may be the component missing from allowing the squad to lift themselves ahead of some of the continents more established footballing nations.

If the players do need some more confidence, then hopefully they can produce a similar result in Bishkek on Tuesday night, when we complete our 2016 schedule with a match against Cyprus. However, I think that they should take something from this match too, namely that the two players singled out by the media for critisism when the squad was named, ended up being the goalscorer and man of the match. Certainly something for the doubters to consider. Valery Kichin was understandably delighted to have got off the mark for his country in his 21st cap.

The squad and staff flew back to Bishkek overnight, and would then have a light training session on Saturday evening. That session didn't go perfectly however, as right winger Viktor Maier suffered a slight thigh strain. It would keep him out for less than a week, but that would still be long enough to rul him out of the Cyprus match. A replacement would be required, and it set off a chain of events that would be remarkable, surprising, and very welcome.......

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

November 2016 (cont).

When Viktor Maier became unavailable to play against Cyprus, I would require a replacement player for the squad. I wasn't in a rush to make a decision, the match is a Friendly, the season is now over domestically, and we had plenty of cover in the squad as it currently was. I would sleep on my decision, and decide early in the day on Sunday.

The news that Maier would not be available for Tuesday was no secret, it was noted in sports bulletins and online football webpages. There were a number of candidates to come into the National Squad as his replacement, the front runners being Raul' Dzhalilov, who performed well previously when coming into the squad, and could cover both wings. There was also the intriguing option of moving Viktor Kelm up from the Under-19 squad and into the Senior side, though that one would be more difficult logistically, as he was now in Hong Kong with the age group squad.

Unexpected option number three presented itself fairly early in the day on Sunday when I received a phone call. I recognised the number, and was more than happy to take the call from Rubin Kazan's talented young forward, Ilzat Akhmetov. The call started well right away, when he called me 'boss'. He told me that he had watched the game against India, and admired very much the team spirit we had shown to grind out a result. He also explained that since our conversation, he had been thinking over his very recent decision, and his prospects of ever playing International football with Russia. He was aware that Maier was out, and he wanted to be part of what we were trying to do. In moments like this, there is often a pause, or a small period of silence. That didn't happen here. 'I'll make the arrangements to get you to Bishkek, and I'll see you in the hotel later today.'

So Ilzat Akhmetov comes into the Kyrgyztsan Senior National Squad, and is in line to make his debut against Cyprus on Tuesday evening in his home city. It's a fantastic outcome for us, and one that was not expected, at least, not for several months or years down the line, if at all. Due to turn nineteen on New Year's Eve, Akhmetov brings many qualities to the side. He has great pace, great technique and agility, and a footballing brain. His first touch is excellent, he can cross a ball, and his passing is at a high level for a young player. At just 5'8, he isn't a big lad, but what he doesn't have in size, he makes up for in versatility, as he can play on either wing, though he prefers to cut in from the left, he can play behind the striker, or up front on his own, or supporting a strike partner.

He arrived at the team hotel later in the evening, and was warmly welcomed by the squad, including Maier, who was waiting on arrangements to be made for him to return to Holland, where his niggle would be treated by the medical staff at his club, FC Emmen. There would be another light training session on Monday, which would give us at least some kind of opportunity to run the rule over out latest potential debutant. The squad would eat together in the afternoon, while watching the Under-19's match in Hong Kong. Obviously it was going to take some thinking over to decide the Seniors starting eleven for Tuesday night.

Out in Hong Kong, another talented young winger had been asked to play no more than 45 minutes, as Neftchi Kochkor-Ata were concerned about Vladimir Badalov's lethargic outing in Belovodskoye last week against Kosovo, and want us to limit his time on the park this week. Russian side Yenisey Krasnoyarsk have a game on Saturday, so they have asked our goalscoring full back from last time out, Valery Kichin, to also play no more than a half in the match against Cyprus in Bishkek.

Monday 14th November 2016 - 18:00pm
Under-19's International Friendly
So Kon Po Recreation Park, So Kon Po, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Under-19's v Kyrgyzstan Under-19's
Attendance :-
136. Weather :- Rain, 14c.

This rather dilapidated stadium holds only 800 people, and is really only used as a spare venue, utilised occassionally by club sides like C&W District when the scheduling with the many ground shares in Hong Kong gets too tight, and also a favoured place for the Hong Kong Under-23 side to play their matches. Mirlan Orozbek continues in goal again today, while Danislam Zagidulin returns to the line up at right back, taking back over Captain duties from stand in, Almaz Omoraliev. There are two changes in the midfield trio, with Aidar Mambetaliev and Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov rotated out, and Azamat Omuraliev and Ernist Batyrkanov replacing them. In the final change, I start Ivan Biyaliev on the left instead of Vladimir Badalov, who has a club instruction and will get some time later in the match.

The Hong Kong side was almost as dirty as our white kit was about to get on this rain soaked park. They gave away a plethora of early free kicks, and two minutes in, Beksultan Kaipov curled one of those just too high, and over the goal frame. We were perhaps a little fortunate that their 17 year old striker, Robbie Stamp, who looked very impressive early on, wouldn't make it much further than the quarter of an hour mark. His strike partner, Sun Ming Him, showed he wasn't quite as capable looking, when a pass through the middle sent him clear on goal, but he shanked his shot high and wide of the target. Meanwhile, we continued to rack up efforts at goal from dangerous free kicks, and Ivan Biyaliev curled one over the wall, and Ho Gam Wai produced a stunning acrobatic save to tip it over the bar. Defensively, we were doing a pretty good job, and managing to prevent crosses coming into our box on the whole, something both the Senior and age group sides have been working on. When Cheng Chin Lueng did manage to send one over on the half hour mark, Ming Him did rather better than he did with his earlier effort, winning the ball in the air, and heading it towards the bottom corner, Mirlan Orozbek doing well to get down and stop it, and preventing the loose ball from falling back to the lurking striker. Almaz Omoraliev was the latest to try his luck with a free kick, hitting the target, but Gam Wai held onto that one. The striker was also involved in the last, and best chance of the first half. He turned and was on the run quickly when Ernist Batyrkanov broke play up in his own half, and he had the two centre backs backtracking. With their attention on the striker, who rolled it into the path of charging winger Viktor Kelm, who took the pass in stride and got into the box, only to see Gam Wai use his legs to block his low effort to beat the keeper at his near post. At the break, I felt we were a little unfortunate not to be ahead.

I made just the one change at the break, Biyaliev replaced by Vladimir Badalov on the left wing as planned. I don't think the youngster had yet got on the ball when two and a half minutes into the half, Ulan Taalaybek collected a short pass from Orozbek, and then played a sweeping left footed long pass that dropped just beyond the defence of Hong Kong, and Omoraliev raced onto it. When Gam Wai didn't come particularly far to narrow his options, Omoraliev had plenty of time to make his decision, and he lifted it beyond the keeper's reach and put us ahead. We were playing well, and looking good, and nearly bagged a quick second, Danislam Zagidulin and Kelm passed between each other quickly on the right, and the latter played it to Batyrkanov on the edge of the box, but his driven shot was bravely charged down by Yu Wai Lim. With just over an hour gone, and our hosts starting to make subs, Azamat Omuraliev made a run through the midfield, and released Vladimir Badalov into space on the left. Cutting into the box, Badalov faced sub keeper Ho Kin Fung, and shot with the outside of his boot, the effort curling just off target unfortunately. Midway through the half, and with some of our subs getting warmed up in preparation for changes, Ming Him sent the ball wide to overlapping full back Lee Ho Kwan, and he sent it back inside for Kôta Jige, who's shot was swept towards goal with some power, Orozbek pulling out a great save to keep that one out of his net. Ulugbek Salamatov and Kaipov were the first players I removed as we tried to get some fresh legs on, Ayzar Akmatov and Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov brought on. But it was Orozbek who was taking centre stage, Jige skipping away from Nurtay Kurmantay, and whipping in a low cross to Leung Ho Yin, who produced an even better save from our young keeper, as he had originally anticipated the ball being sent across his goal. From the corner, sub defender John Ramage headed the ball past Orozbek, but that one came back off the upright. After missing his tackle, and then picking up a booking, Kurmantay became a prime candidate to be substituted, and he would replaced in the 79th minute, along with Zagidulin and Omoraliev, the trio replaced by Muhamedjan Grischenko, Kursanbek Akmatov, and Janboto Yrysbek, who would be asked to drop deeper and hold the ball up, just like the Seniors had done with Vitalij Lux in India last week. If Hong Kong had been more disciplined, they might have been able to put us on the ropes a bit more effectively. Equally, if the ref hadn't been so lenient with their constant niggly fouls, they might have been out of the game long ago, rather than seeing Ko Shing Yan become their first booking with only minutes left to play. Kelm was well off target with a free kick, while very late substitutions to bring on Aidar Mambetaliev and Kanat Yuldashev were designed soley to break up the game and waste time. We hung on pretty easily, and that would go down as one of the Under-19's better performances of the year.

Hong Kong Under-19's (0) 0
Kyrgyzstan Under-19's (0) 1
Almaz Omoraliev (48)
Mirlan Orozbek; Danislam Zagidulin (capt - Kursanbek Akmatov 79), Ulan Taalaybek, Ulugbek Salamatov (Ayzar Akmatov 71), Nurtay Kurmantay (Muhamedjan Grischenko 79); Beksultan Kaipov (Abdurashit Saydirakhmatov 71), Azamat Omuraliev (Aidar Mambetaliev 89), Ernist Batyrkanov; Viktor Kelm (Kanat Yuldashev 90+1), Ivan Biyaliev (Vladimir Badalov 45); Almaz Omoraliev (Janboto Yrysbek 79).

Unused Substitutes :- Georgiy Slavnyi (GK), Manas Smatov, Kadyrbek Shaarbekov, Abdulnur Mamytov (GK).
Possession :- 42% - 58%. Shots on Target :- 4 - 4. Man of the Match :- Ulan Taalaybek (Kyrgyzstan Under-19's).

That was a good performance and result, and it's not often this year I've been able to say either about our Under-19 side. Are we about to finally see some kind of form and consistency from our young players, or will this prove to be nothing more than a one off, and another false dawn? They were certainly in good spirits as they headed for the airport and a flight back to Bishkek. They would remain in the capital to watch tomorrow night's match as the Senior side faced Cyprus, before then returning to their clubs and then starting their end of season holidays.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

November 2016 (cont).

The final International of my first year in charge of Kyrgyzstan was upon us, and we would face Cyprus at home. The Senior side have now won their last eight matches in a row, unheard of in the history of this side. We would be doing well to make that nine on the spin tonight though was the general consensus.

Tuesday 15th November 2016 - 19:30pm
International Friendly
Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan v Cyprus
Attendance :-
8,738. Weather :- Gusty, 14c.

Changes are made from the victory in India, starting at the back, where Kirill Priadkin is left out, and Pavel Matyash is given a chance to show what he can do in goal at this level. There is also a change at left back, where Sherzod Shakirov starts the match, with Valery Kichin expected to play the second half. With Viktor Maier unavailable, Edgar Bernhardt starts on the right wing, with Karim Izrailov staying in the side on the left. Tosin Aleriwa retains his starting place up front. That means that if Ilzat Akhmetov is going to make his debut today, it would be from the bench. At the other end of the scale, Dordoy full back and current National Squad skipper, Vadim Kharchenko, today becomes the nations joint most capped player on 31 appearances, joining Vyacheslav Amin.

Fancy watching a team get off the to the perfect start? Then kick off your shoes, put your feet up, and feast your eyes, as Tosin Aleriwa sends the ball from the centre circle out to the left wing. Full back Dimitris Moulazimis got it all wrong, and Karim Izrailov breezed past him. At the far post, Nektarious Alexandrou got in front of Edgar Bernhardt, but the ball spun off his head, and Aleriwa slammed it home from close range to put us a goal up inside five minutes. Cyprus looked rattled, and less than a minute later, Pavel Matyash sent a long clearance down the park, and Aleriwa won it in the air, and headed it to Bernhardt. The winger sent a quick pass to Anatolii Vlasichev. He sent it through to Aleriwa, and the striker sent in a low shot, Giorgos Papadopoulos getting a foot to it, which only sent the ball higher into the net. Two up in a little over five minutes!

What a start! But do you want to see what a team shouldn't do with a two goal lead? Well get your feet off the table, put your shoes back on, and prepare for to become very uncomfortable in your seat! While Manas Zhutanov received some attention, Cyprus manager Christakis Christoforou had his side gathered around on the touchline, and was reading them the riot act. Marios Ilia linked up with Nestoras Mytides in their first raid, the latter shooting just wide. It was better luck next time though, as in the 26th minute, Grigoris Kastanos dropped a free kick into the right channel, Giorgos Efraim refused to give up on a seemingly lost cause, and was rewarded, keeping the ball in play, and his cross to the back post was headed down by Nikolas Englezou, before being swept home by Mytides to half the arrears. Efraim would be involved again in the 34th minute, once more showing willingness to chase down a ball down the right, this time from Ilias. He sent it to the far post again, where Englezou once again won it in the air, this time planting his header firmly past Matyash and into the net to level the match. The lads dug in a bit, and Vlasichev sent a curling effort just wide of the target, but Cyprus had really moved through the gears now, and long serving midfielder Vincent Laban broke play up, then sent the ball forward. Ilia and Mytides were inevitably involved, as was Efraim, who sent in yet another cross, and again Englezou was on to it, sidefooting this one high into the net to complete the comeback! We could have gone in level at the break, Aleriwa hitting a pot shot from the edge of the box that hit the top of the cross bar on it's way over.

I wouldn't say I read my players the riot act, they didn't deserve that I felt, but I did tell them that they couldn't afford to lose the ball in midfield, and they certainly couldn't afford to let Efraim cross the ball at will. Sherzod Shakirov had been turned inside out by the winger, and he was relieved of his duties at the break to allow Valery Kichin to try and contain him. Tamirlan Kozubaev also came off, he had lost track of Englezou on numerous occassions, and Azamat Baymatov came on in his place. We certainly looked like we had put that loss of three goals behind us, as we set about getting ourselves level, Izrailov coming very close to doing so within a minute of the restart, shooting across goal, Papadopoulos not getting there, but the ball just scraping past the far upright. Azamat Baymatov wasn't having such a good impact, as he picked up a booking, and then was caught dwelling on the ball somewhat, and Englezou robbed him of possession and sent it to Ilia who got past Zhutanov, but Matyash pushed the shot away. I made three more changes, Vadim Kharchenko, Vlasichev and Bernhardt were all taken off, and replaced by Ulug'beq Mo'minov and two debutants, Bektur Talgat in midfield, and youngster Ilzat Akhmetov on the wing. When that failed to create any real goalscoring chances, I was a bit more bold, taking off a quiet Anton Zemlianukhin, and replacing him with striker Vitalij Lux, as we brought on some support for Aleriwa to try and find an equaliser. We never quite managed to create a golden chance though, and our run had come to an end.

Kyrgyzstan (2) 2 - Tosin Aleriwa (5,6)
Cyprus (3) 3 - Nestoras Mytides (26), Nikolas Englezou (34,42)
Pavel Matyash; Vadim Kharchenko (capt - Ulug'beq Mo'minov 62), Tamirlan Kozubaev (Azamat Baymatov 45), Manas Zhutanov, Sherzod Shakirov (Valery Kichin 45); Anatolii Vlasichev (Bektur Talgat 62), Anton Zemlianukhin (Vitalij Lux 74), Sergej Evljuskin; Edgar Bernhardt (Ilzat Akhmetov 62), Karim Izrailov; Tosin Aleriwa.

Unused Substitutes :- Kirill Priadkin (GK), Shuhrat Rahmonov, Daniel Tagoe, Ahletdin Israilov, Vladimir Verevkin, Maxim Agapov (GK).
Possession :- 49% - 51%. Shots on Target :- 2 - 11. Man of the Match :- Nikolas Englezou (Cyprus).

Giorgos Efraim was the real difference between the two sides for me today, the APOEL winger was nothing short of superb. So we would end this year as we had started it, with a defeat. We couldn't be too disappointed, it was not so long ago that a nation like Cyprus would have laughed off the idea of playing us, never mind us giving them a good game and a real fright as well. After the game, I held an impromptu meeting with the players, and told them that I didn't want to see their heads go down, and that while it had been disappointing, we had challenges ahead of us to look forward to, and 2017 would be an important year for Kyrgyzstani football.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

November/December 2016.

The press in Kyrgyzstan were not too hard on us after defeat against Cyprus. In fact, they were simply hoping that the spirits in the camp were not impacted too much with the next window featuring some long awaited competitive action. I don't think there was anything to worry about there, though our FIFA World Ranking did take a knock. We dropped eight spots down to 117th place, which is still a dozen places higher than we were at the start of the year, assuming we don't lose any more ground in December.

One of the perks of being an International manager is that you get to vote when the awards are being handed out in the latter part of the campaign. Early December sees me asked to tender my vote for Asia's Footballer and Young Footballer of the Year awards. For me, playing at the highest level will always be something I take into account, as someone playing in the J-League or A-League for example, should absolutely be expected to produce more than someone playing for, say, Borussia Dortmund. Why Dortmund you say, well that happens to be the club of the man I selected for the main award, Shinji Kagawa, who has had an outstanding year for his club, if not so much for his country. For the Young Asian player award, see the same reason, as I select Iran's outstanding 21 year striker, Sardar Azmoun. He has bagged 29 goals in just 37 caps, and has been equally impressive for FC Rostov after signing for them on a permanent basis. The fee was undisclosed, but whatever he cost, he has surely paid it back, hitting 13 in 18 games, including five in seven in the UEFA Europa League, where they have a good chance of making the Knockout Stages.

When December's edition of the FIFA World Rankings are announced, we're up one place, meaning we end the year in 116th place, and up thirteen places over the course of the year. I can't pretend that I'm not really happy with that. I'm hoping this is just the beginning, and we can continue this improvement for a long time yet, but I'm not naive, I realise how much work is going to need to be put in over the coming years to make this nation a force in Asia. We're ranked 15th in the continent right now.

2016 Review.

Seniors :-
Overall Record
P 10. W 8. D 0. L 2. GF 19. GA 11. GD +8. Win Percentage 80%

Competitive Record

FIFA World Ranking :- 116th (+13)

Debutants (12)
Manas Zhutanov (Defender, RLC) 10 Caps, 0 goals
Marat Ajiniyazov (Defender, RC) 1 Cap, 0 goals
Shuhrat Rahmonov (Defender, C) 3 Caps, 0 goals
Tamirlan Kozubaev (Defender, C) 9 Caps, 0 goals
Sergej Evljuskin (Midfielder, C) 10 Caps, 0 goals
Ahletdin Israilov (Midfielder, RC) 8 Caps, 1 goal
Ulug'beq Mo'minov (Defender, R) 5 Caps, 0 goals
Bakyt Kashkaev (Midfielder, C) 3 Caps, 0 goals
Raul' Dzhalilov (Midfielder, LR) 1 Cap, 0 goals
Tosin Aleriwa (Striker, C) 6 Caps, 4 goals
Bektur Talgat (Midfielder, C) 1 Cap, 0 goals
Ilzat Akhmetov (Midfielder, RLC) 1 Cap, 0 goals

Most Caps :- Vyacheslav Amin, Vadim Kharchenko (31 caps)
Most Goals :- Anton Zemlianukhin (9 goals)

Best XI :- Kirill Priadkin: Vadim Kharchenko, Manas Zhutanov, Azamat Baymatov, Valery Kichin; Sergej Evljuskin, Anton Zemlianukhin, Pavel Sidorenko; Ahletdin Israilov, Edgar Bernhardt; Vitalij Lux.
Substitutes :- Pavel Matyash, Tamirlan Kozubaev, Anatolii Vlasichev, Karim Izrailov, Tosin Aleriwa, Shuhrat Rahmonov, Vladimir Verevkin.

Under-23's :-
Overall Record
P 1. W 0. D 1. L 0. GF 2. GA 2. GD 0. Win Percentage 0%

Competitive Record

Under-19's :-
Overall Record

P 10. W 2. D 4. L 4. GF 13. GA 17. GD -4. Win Percentage 20%

Competitive Record

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

2016 Review (cont)

World's Biggest Transfers
Romelu Lukaku (Belgian, 23 years old, S C) Everton (England) to Bayern Münich (Germany) £38.5m potentially to £52m
Dani Carvajal (Spanish, 24 years old, D RL) Real Madrid (Spain) to Manchester United (England) £34.5m
Fred (Brazilian, 23 years old, M C) Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) to Real Madrid (Spain) £32m potentially to £46m
Carlos Bacca (Colombian, 30 years old, S C) AC Milan (Italy) to Chelsea (England) £29.5m potentially to £33.5m
Eugene Kacheridi (Ukrainian, 29 years old, D C) Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) to Chelsea (England) £27.5m potentially to £31.5m
José Gayà (Spanish, 21 years old, D L) Valencia (Spain) to Manchester City (England) £27m potentially to £33.5m
Rafinha (Brazilian, 23 years old, AM RLC) Barcelona (Spain) to Arsenal (England) £22.5m potentially to £28.5m
Jonny (Spanish, 22 years old, D RLC) Celta de Vigo (Spain) to Arsenal (England) £21.5m potentially to £26.5m
Christian Pulisic (American, 18 years old, AM RLC) Borussia Dortmund (Germany) to Liverpool (England) £19m potentially to £24m
Stefan de Vrij (Dutch, 24 years old, D C) Lazio (Italy) to Paris Saint-Germain (France) £17.75m to £26m

Asia's Biggest Transfers
Odil Ahmedov (Uzbek, 29 years old, M C) Shanghai Shanggang (China) to Al-Ain FC (UAE) £4.9m potentially to £6.5m
Edin Visca (Bosnian, 26 years old, AM RL) Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkey) to Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia) £4.7m
Javier Cortés (Mexican, 27 years old, M RC) Pumas (Mexico) to Al-Gharrafa (Qatar) £4.5m
Abdulfattah Asiri (Saudi, 22 years old, M R) Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia) to Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) £3.8m potentially to £6m
Valentin Eysseric (French, 24 years old, M RC) OGC Nice (France) to Lekhwiya (Qatar) £3.5m
Jaime Ayoví (Ecuadorian, 28 years old, ST C) Beijing Renhe (China) to Ludogorets 1945 (Bulgaria) £3.4m potentially to £4.3m
Veton Berisha (Albanian, 22 years old, ST C) Greuther Fürth (Germany) to Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia) £3.3m potentially to £6m
Hassan Al-Amiri (Saudi, 22 years old, M C) Al-Qadisiyah (Saudi Arabia) to Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) £2.5m potentially to £3.5m
Motaz Hawsawi (Saudi, 24 years old, D C) Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia) to Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) £2.3m potentially to £2.6m
Michael (Brazilian, 23 years old, S C) Fluminense (Brazil) to Al-Shabab (Saudi Arabia) £2.3m potentially rising to £3.2m

FIFA World Team of the Year
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Münich & Germany); Philip Lahm (Bayern Münich & Germany), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid & France), Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao & France), Marcelo (Real Madrid & Brazil); Thiago Alcântara (Bayern Münich & Spain), Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium); Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona & Argentina), Mesut Özil (Arsenal & Germany), Juan Mata (Manchester United & Spain); Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United & Sweden)

FIFA World Player of the Year
1st :- Lionel Messi (Barcelona), 2nd :- Mesut Özil (Arsenal), 3rd :- Juan Mata (Manchester United)

UEFA Footballer of the Year
1st Lionel Messi (Barcelona), 2nd :- Mesut Özil (Arsenal), 3rd :- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Asian Footballer of the Year
Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund & Japan)

Asian Young Footballer of the Year
Sardar Amzoun (Rostov & Iran)

2016 South East Asian Championships
Hosts :- Myanmar & Philippines
Indonesia beat Vietnam 5-2 on aggregate

2016 West Asian Championships
Hosts :- Bahrain
Kuwait beat Bahrain 2-0 at Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa, Bahrain

2016 Asian Under-19 Championships
Hosts :- Bahrain
Iran beat South Korea 2-1 at Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa, Bahrain

FIFA World Club Cup
FC Seoul (South Korea) Finished 5th

Asian Champions League
FC Seoul (South Korea) beat Al-Ain (UAE) 5-2 on aggregate

Asian Confederations Cup
Johor Daruk Ta'zim (Malaysia) beat Al-Muharraq (Bahrain) 2-0

Kyrgyzstani Top Liga Champions :- Abdysh-Ata Kant. Runner's-Up :- Alga Bishkek. 3rd :- Alay Osh
Relegated :- Ala-Too Naryn
Kyrgyzstani Pervaya Liga Zona A Champions :- RUOR-97 Bishkek. Relegated :- Ala-Too Naryn Reserves
Kyrgyzstani Pervaya Liga Zona B Champions :- Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia. Relegated :- Kara-Suu
Kyrgyzstani Pervaya Liga Promotion Playoff :- RUOR-97 Bishkek beat Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia 4-2 on aggregate
Kyrgyzstani Cup :- Alga Bishkek beat Alay Osh on penalties (2-2 on aggregate) at Stadion Dolena Omurzakova, Bishkek

Hyundai A-League Regular Season Champions
:- Adelaide United
Hyundai A-League Finals Series Champions :- Adelaide United

Chinese Super League Champions
:- Shanghai Shanggang. Runner's Up :- Hebei Huaxia Xingfu. 3rd :- Guangzhou Hengda
Relegated :- 15th :- Changchun Yatai. 16th :- Shijiazhuang Yongchang
Chinese FA Cup :- Shandong Luneng beat Guangzhou Hengda on penalties (2-2 on aggregate)

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Premier League Champions
:- Eastern Athletic Association
Hong Kong FA Cup :- Pegasus FC
Hong Kong Season Playoff :- Kitchee Sports Club
Hong Kong Senior Challenge Shield :- Eastern Athletic Association
Hong Kong League Cup :- Kitchee Sports Club
Hong Kong Sapling Cup :- Pegasus FC

Indian I-League Champions
:- Bengaluru FC
Indian Durand Cup :- Bengaluru FC
Indian Hero Federation Cup :- Mohun Bagan Athletic Club

Indonesian Super League Champions
:- Bhayangkara FC. Runner's-Up :- Pusamania Borneo FC. 3rd :- Arema FC
Relegated :- 15th :- PSM Makassar. 16th :- PS TNI Persiram. 17th :- PS Barito Putra. 18th :- Perseru Serui
Piala Indonesia :- Persib Bandung beat PS Barito Putra 1-0 at Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta

Iranian Persian Gulf Pro League Champions
:- Esteghlal Khuzestan
Iranian FA Cup :- Zob-Ahan Isfahan

Iraqi Premier League Champions :- Al-Zawra'a Sports Club
Iraqi FA Cup :- Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

J-League 1 Champions
:- Yokohama F Marinos. Runner's-Up :- Júbilo Iwata. 3rd :- Cerezo Osaka
Relegated :- 16th :- Ventforet Kofu. 17th :- Gamba Osaka. 18th :- Shimizu S-Pulse
Japanese Emperor's Cup :- Júbilo Iwata beat Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 at Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA, Fukuroi
Japanese J-League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup :- Cerezo Osaka beat Júbilo Iwata 2-0 at Memorial Centre Sub Stadium, Gifu

Malaysian Super League Champions
:- Felda United. Runner's-Up :- Perak. 3rd :- Selangor
Relegated :- 11th :- Penang. 12th :- Sarawak
Malaysian FA Cup :- Johor Darul Ta'zim beat Teregganu on penalties (1-1 after extra time) at Nasional Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpar
Malaysian Cup :- Pahang beat Penang 2-0 at Darul Makmur, Kuantan

Qatari Stars League Champions
:- Al-Rayyan Sports Club
Qatari Prince Cup :- Al-Sadd Sports Club
Qatari Crown Prince Cup :- Lekhwiya Sports Club
Qatari Stars Cup :- Qatar Sports Club

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Professional League Champions
:- Al-Ahli Saudi Sport Club
Saudi Champions Cup :- Al-Hilal Saudi Sport Club
Saudi Crown Prince Cup :- Al-Hilal Saudi Sport Club

Singaporean League Champions
:- Tampines Rovers. Runnder's-Up :- Albirex Niigata. 3rd :- Geylang International
Singaporean Cup :- Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota beat Global Cebu on penalties (1-1 after extra time) at Bishan Stadium, Bishan
Singaporean League Cup :- Warriors FC beat Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium, Jalan Besar

South Korea
South Korean Hyundai Oilbank K-League Classic Champions
:- FC Seoul. Runner's-Up :- Jeonbuk Hyundai. 3rd :- Pohang Steelers
Relegated :- Gwangju FC
South Korean FA Cup :- Suwon Samsung Bluewings beat Jeonbuk Hyundai on away goals (3-3 on aggregate)

Thai Toyota League Champions
:- Muangthong United. Runner's-Up :- Bangkok United. 3rd :- Chiangrai United
Thai Chang FA Cup :- Ratchaburi Mitr Phol beat Pattaya United 2-1 at Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok

United Arab Emirates
UAE Professional League Champions
:- Al-Ahli
UAE President's Cup :- Al-Nasr Sports Club
UAE FA Cup :- Dubai Cultural Sports Club
UAE Emirates Cup :- Nal-Nasr Sports Club

Uzbek Oliy Liga Champions
:- FJ Qo'qon 1912. Runner's-Up :- Bunyodkor Toshkent. 3rd :- Paxtakor Toshkent
Relegated :- Metalurg Bekobod
Uzbek Cup :- Mash'al Muborak beat Paxtakor Toshkent on penalties (1-1 after extra time) at Paxtakor Stadium. Toshkent

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

January 2017

New year, and new expectations for our footballing nation. Now I don't know if Santa was good to you, but he sent us 47 new footballers to add to the National Pool. There was no outstanding talent in the intake, in fact the players were all either part of last seasons KG United squad that had been released by the now semi-professional Lower League side, or they were part of the squad for one of the two newly promoted sides, Kara-Shoro Ozgon and Ysyk-Köl Karakol. The pick of the crop was probably 25 year old freeagent centre back, Janar Abdraimov, who stands at a huge 6'8, and would be one to keep an eye on despite his not so young footballing age, should he manage to find a new club.

Some players involved in the International setup have made New Year moves too. The most high profile in early January was that of Anatolii Vlasichev, the Senior International midfielder has returned to his homeland, with Alay Osh flexing their comparative financial muscle where this League is concerned, spending a club record £4.6k to bring him home from Al-Omani. Not stopping there, Alay also bring International left back Sherzod Shakirov back from Bahrain, signing him on a Free Transfer. There is also an interesting move for prolific young striker Almaz Omoraliev. After his goals weren't quite enough to fire Shakhter Kyzyl-Kia into the top tier, he will play at that level next season, if he can force his way into the Alga Bishkek side.

It wasn't all good news however. A worrying number of our International players entered 2017 without a club side. Amongst them were the trio of Kirill Priadkin, Raul' Dzhalilov, and most concerning of all, Anton Zemlianukhin. While Priadkin might now be in the twilight of his career, with his 40th birthday this summer, he has proven that he is still the most capable of our goalkeepers. As for Zemlianukhin, like most precocious talents, he can struggle for consistency. But when he is on his game, he is a match winner, and it would be a huge blow to lose him in what should be his prime years. There is talk of interest from the Thai Champions. One player who we will be without for a large part of the year is Viktor Maier. The 26 year old Dutch based winger ended his year by damaging cruciate ligaments, and even the most positive of prognosis' had him out till September. Some thought he would miss the entire year.

We drop a solitary place in the January rankings, moving us back down to the 117th place we held in November. We could do with some help from the nations club sides to build up the footballing reputation, and Alga Bishkek have been handed what appears to be a straightforward roiute through the opening Qualifying Round of the Asian Confederations Cup. Drawn into a three club Group, their fixtures will be hosted in Bhutan by one of their opponents, Thimphu City. They are the first opponents too, and Alga come through that test with a 2-1 victory, thanks to first half goals from a pair of Russian's, the honours done by Konstantin Belov and Alexandr Chistyakov. The hosts are out of the running when they lose again two days later to the third side in the Group, the Friends Club from Nepal. That means a winner takes all clash for a place in the next round, and Alga get the job done, Chistyakov giving them a very early lead, and in even better news, Almaz Omoraliev opened his account for the club ten minutes into the second half.

So, Alga will go into the Western Asia Preliminary Round, where they will be joined by Kyrgyzstan's new Champions, the underdogs of Abdysh-Ata Kant. Both are drawn away, with Alga travelling across the border to next door neighbours Tajikistan, where they will face Barkchi Dushanbe. Being away from home didn't bother them in the slighest though, Omoraliev and Chistyakov both finding the net again to put Alga two up inside seventeen minutes, with Bakytbek Mamatov adding the final goal before the break. They go into a Western Asia Playoff, where they will not be joined by the Champions. It was a failiure at the first hurdle for Abdysh-Ata Kant, who travelled to Turkmenistan, and fell behind early to Şagadam FK Türkmenbaşy. They found an equaliser before the break from Timur Valiev, but disaster struck when they conceded again six minutes from time, and their Continental adventure was over before it even really began.

It will be down to Alga Bishkek to progress the nations hopes, and they're chances of being involved in the Group Stage of this season's Confederations Cup will depend on their ability to get the job done on their travels once more. They will be heading to Lebanon this time, where they will face Al-Safa on their synthetic surface. That match will take place as we head towards the middle of February. The time is moving on quickly, and it won't be long before we can finally get our teeth into some competitive International football.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...