Tajikistan will be among the lowest-ranked teams participating in the AFC Asian Cup finals, which will be hosted by the State of Qatar between January 12 and February 10 of next year.
Perhaps most of the teams are heading to participate for the first time in the Asian Cup, and are happy just to be in the finals, but the Tajikistan team, which has developed in the recent period, is looking for a historic first appearance in the continental forum.
Tajikistan hoped to achieve good results in its first Asian appearance, after failing to qualify for the Asian tournament during 6 previous attempts in qualifying. Tajikistan also failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals, as it participated in the qualifiers 7 times.
Tajik football has one achievement at the senior team level, which is winning the Asian Challenge Cup title on April 16, 2006 during its first participation in the tournament, after which it participated in the tournament 3 times and did not win the title again.
The Tajik Federation was founded in 1936 in the then Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan as a section of the USSR Football Association, but after Tajikistan gained its independence in 1991, the independent Tajik Federation was established on December 15 of the same year, and in 1994 it joined the two international federations (FIFA). ) and the Asian game.
Rustam Emomali, Mayor of Dushanbe, has been president of the Tajik Federation since April 25, 2019. He also currently heads the Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) after being re-elected on May 3, 2023.
Emomali played a major role in the development of football in his country, after implementing a wide range of projects in cooperation with FIFA, including the establishment of the Tajik Federation Academy to facilitate the transfer of talent from popular football to youth teams.
The Tajikistan national team played its first international match against Uzbekistan on June 17, 1992, which was held in Dushanbe and ended in a draw (2-2), while Tajikistan's first official match was on April 11, 1994 in Tashkent as part of a regional tournament, and it lost to Kazakhstan with a clean goal.
The most prominent players in the history of Tajikistan
Akhtam Nazarov, (31 years old), is considered one of the most prominent Tajik football players, because he is the player who played the most international matches, with 76 matches during the period from 2011 to 2023, during which he scored 5 goals.
As for the historical top scorer in Tajik football, he is Manuchehr Jalilov, with 20 goals scored in 51 matches. He is one of the prominent players currently in the Tajik national team alongside his colleague Yusuf Rabiev, who scored 15 goals in 40 international matches.
Among the Tajikistan squad that will compete in the Asian Cup finals in Qatar is Parvizdzhon Umarbayev, the captain of the national team, who has professional experience in Russia and Bulgaria, as well as Nurdin Davronov, who played for the clubs Lokomotiv Moscow, Minsk and Amkar Perm in Russia.
Since Tajikistan's independence in the 1990s, Khurshid Mahmudov, Ibrahim Rabimov, Iraj Radjabov and Fatkholo Fatkholuyev have emerged, leading their country to their only title in the Asian Challenge Cup in 2006.
Tajikistan in the World Cup
Since Tajikistan's independence from the USSR in 1991 and the formation of a separate national team, it has not been able to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals until now.
The Tajikistan national team competed in the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup on 7 occasions, but failed in all of them to achieve the dream of qualifying, most recently in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Tajikistan is competing in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers scheduled for America, Mexico and Canada, in the eighth group of the Asian qualifiers, where it occupies second place with 4 points, two points behind Saudi Arabia, after a draw with Jordan (1-1) and a victory over Pakistan (6-1).
Tajikistan matches in the 2023 Asian Cup
The Tajik national team reserved a place in Group A based on the result of the draw, along with Qatar, Lebanon and China.
Here are the Tajikistan matches:
- January 14: Tajikistan x China (Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium).
- January 17: Qatar x Tajikistan (Al Bayt Stadium).
- January 22: Tajikistan x Lebanon (Jassem bin Hamad Stadium).
The Tajikistan national team's lineup depends on:
- Parvizdzhon Omarbaev, Bulgarian CSKA midfielder.
- Shahrom Samev, striker of the Moldovan “Orhei”.
- Rustam Suirov, Uzbek Lokomotiv Tashkent striker.
- Khedat Khanonov, Iranian Persepolis defender.
- Ruslan Khaylov, Russian Tyumen playmaker.
- The young talent, Allegone Ayeni, who joined the first team at the age of 16.
Croatian Peter Siegart (57 years old) took over as coach of the Tajikistan national team on January 27, 2022, succeeding local coach Osman Toshev.
In a short time, Sieghart was able to restructure the national team and lead it to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup finals in a historic achievement, as this is the country’s first appearance in a major continental competition in history.
The Croatian coach relied on forming a young team with an average age of 21 years, and after a few months he led them to qualify for the Asian Nations Finals, and then won the King of Thailand Cup title on September 25, 2022, by defeating Malaysia in the final on penalties, and the Malaysian Merdeka Championship title on January 17. /January 2023, by defeating Malaysia in the final (2-0).
The Croatian coach took over the Georgia U-21 national team, then began a new experience in the Asian continent, where he contributed to building the Indonesian club Bali Devata. After that, he had a new experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Zvezda Gradacak club, then he coached the Afghanistan national team and led it to runner-up in the 2015 South Asian Federation Championship. He led the Maldives national team to win the 2018 South Asian Federation Championship title, and finally the Tajikistan national team.