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N. Tajikistan gets 1st foreign-born football star
Ghana native arrives in Khudzhand
By Maks Maksudov
KHUDZHAND – The FC Khudzhand football club, which plays in Tajikistan’s top league, has signed a contract with a Ghanaian player. This is the first time northern Tajikistan has had a foreign-born football star grace one of its teams.
William Gyane is a mid-fielder, Khudzhand head coach Uraz Turakulov told Central Asia Online. The 23-year-old newcomer has played just 20 minutes so far, but important matches will come soon enough, Turakulov added.
The Sughd Oblast government underwrites Khudzhand. The team has won the Tajik Cup three times, finished second twice and third six times. This season in tournament play so far, Khudzhand is in seventh place out of nine and doesn’t look like the powerhouse it has been in other seasons. The Sughd Oblast government is considering major changes to the team’s personnel.
Gyane started playing at age 6 in Ghana. He reached the top league in his homeland. In 2008 he signed a contract with the Moscow team Kamaz, then moved to Kyrgyzstan to join Dordoi Dinamo. His wife has stayed in Ghana during his nomadic career.
“The contract is good, and so are the training conditions,” he said. Khudzhand began negotiations with Gyane after making preliminary inquiries with the Dordoi team management, Turakulov said. “We received good recommendations and signed a six-month contract with him.”
Gyane also received a US $2,000 bonus and lives rent-free in an apartment that the team provides.
Tajikistan’s top league has nine teams. Rustam Marofiyev, deputy chairman of the Sughd Oblast Football Federation, said Africans and South Americans play in the league. FC TsSKA Pomir of Dushanbe has two Ghanaian players — Charlie Nakuti and Gabriel Dontoh. Yet another Ghanaian, Elijah Ari, plays for FC Vakhsh of Qurghonteppa.
A Brazilian, Jailton Oliviera, plays for FC Regara of Tursunzade – considered the favourite to take the Tajik Cup.