Kazakhstan team survives a difficult test

Kazakhstan team survives a difficult test - Central Asia News Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan-Sports Business and Entertainment

Anvar Raimov

2008-10-18

ASTANA, Oct. 13— On Oct. 11 in London, the Kazakhstan national football team played a 2010 World Cup qualifying match against the masters of the pitch, England.

The game ended with a score of 5-1 in favour of the Englishmen. The overwhelming majority of the Kazakh fans, however, were highly satisfied with the quality of the football their team played. "Great game, poor result"- is the sentiment that filled the internet blogs of Kazakh fans.

The visitors, who played their first match under the guidance of new coach Bernd Shtork, went head-to-head with England, earning a nil-nil draw in the first half. Tanat Nuserbayev, a half-back for the Chimkent club Ordabasy, stood out with his unique play. His goal opened the scoring. After the halftime break, however, the Englishmen put things back together.

Kazakh fans awaited this match with great apprehension. Representatives of both teams predicted an English victory by a big margin. General Secretary of the Football Federation of Kazakhstan Sayan Khamitzhanov noted that he was not surprised by the crushing defeat of the Kazakhstanis at Wembley. "We were prepared for defeat." He announced moments later that Shtork will no longer manage the country’s national side. "We need him coaching the youth team,” he said.

The match with the English team revealed the Kazakh team’s strengths and weaknesses. While its players lacked the skills of the English veterans of European football, Kazakh’s young players demonstrated that progress can be made with competent organisation and training.

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