When was Turkmen football born?19.01.2023 | 14:55 |
Twice finalists of the AFC Challenge Cup, joining the hundred best teams in the world, one and a half hundred official matches – this is all about the Turkmenistan national team. How the history of the most popular sport in the country began and what are the main achievements of the national team — read the ORIENT material.
Football began to take shape little by little in the vast expanses of Turkmenistan in the 20s of the last century. And the final formation took place in 1937, when the first championship of the Turkmen SSR took place.
Despite the fact that no team of the Turkmen SSR has ever played in the Top League, Turkmen football players played for the USSR national team. The biggest names in the national history of this sport are Kurban Berdyev, Valery Broshin, Sergey Agashkov, Dmitry Khomukha, Charyyar Muhadov and Vitaly Kafanov.
The first years of independence
After Turkmenistan gained independence, the Football Association of Turkmenistan (FAT) was established in 1992. Also this year, the National Yokary League and the Turkmenistan Cup were resumed. In 1993, the first success for the national team came – the Turkmen football players took second place in the ECO Cup, losing only to Iran with a score of 2:1.
A year later, in 1994, FAT became a member of FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation). And immediately the team reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Games. Since 1995, Turkmenistan has been hosting annual international tournaments, as well as hosting a football tournament – the Cup of the President of Turkmenistan. The country's clubs also participate in the annual CIS Cup.
In the summer of 1998, Viktor Pozhechevsky, one of the key figures in the history of Turkmen football, was appointed head coach of the national team. Then the team was replenished with football players from Ukraine Andrey Zavyalov, Konstantin Sosenko, Roman Bondarenko, Igor Kislov. Having been issued Turkmen citizenship together with Russians Valery Broshin and team captain Dmitry Khomukha, they formed the backbone of the national team.
In the new composition, Turkmenistan took part in the XIII Asian Games, where it performed quite successfully. During the tournament, he beat the national teams of Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, India and played in a draw with the DPRK and Uzbekistan. The team made it to the 1/4 finals, but lost to China.
Being the head coach of the national team of Turkmenistan, Viktor Pozhechevsky led it to the top eight teams in Asia, and the Turkmen team "Kopetdag" — to the champions of the national championship. At the beginning of 1999, the coach left his post and returned to Ukraine.
In the autumn of 2003, the national team of Turkmenistan defeated the national team of Afghanistan with a score of 11:0 in the preliminary matches of the qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in Ashgabat. This is the biggest victory in the history of the national team. In the return match in Kabul, the Turkmen team won again with a score of 2:0.
Under the leadership of Rahim Kurbanmammedov, the Turkmen football players qualified for their only appearance in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup continental tournament by winning the qualifying tournament in Group G in 2003, where the teams of the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Sri Lanka were rivals. In the final tournament, which was held in China, the national team got into group "C", where their rivals were Uzbekistan, three-time Asian champion Saudi Arabia and future Asian champion 2007 Iraq. The national team did not get out of the group, having drawn with Saudi Arabia and lost the other two matches.
Despite this, in December 2003, for the first time in its history, the team entered the hundred of the strongest football teams in the world in the FIFA ranking, taking 99th place.
In February 2010, the national team was headed by coach Yazguly Khojageldiyev. Under his mentorship, the national team traveled to Sri Lanka to participate in the final tournament of the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup. Turkmenistan made it to the AFC Challenge Cup final for the first time, but lost to the DPRK national team in a penalty shootout. In March 2011, the national team again reached the final round of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup, beating Pakistan, Taiwan and drawing with India at the qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur.
In the summer of 2011, the first qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup was held against Indonesia. The national team started the race with a 1-1 draw in Ashgabat, then a 3-4 away defeat knocked it out of the fight for the right to go to the World Cup.
In March 2012, the players went to Kathmandu for the final tournament of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012. The national team of Turkmenistan beat the hosts of the tournament Nepal with a score of 3:0 and the national team of Maldives — 3:1, the match with Palestine ended in a draw. In the semifinals, Turkmenistan won against the Philippines national team, but lost in the final to the DPRK national team, missing the ball at the end of the game. Thus, Turkmenistan missed the chance to win the AFC Challenge Cup for the second time in a row.
In October of the same year, the national team of Turkmenistan took second place at the VFF Cup 2012, beating the national teams of Vietnam, Laos, but losing out to the youth national team of the Republic of Korea.
In the spring of 2015, Amanklych Kochumov became the new head coach of the national team. At that time, the team was preparing to participate in the qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the Turkmen national team failed the start of the tournament, losing to Guam. After that, a number of games took place, where Turkmenistan emerged both the winner and the loser. The national team took 3rd place in group "D", which did not allow it to pass to the next stage of the qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup, but gave it the opportunity to compete for the Asian Cup 2019.
In March 2019, the Football Federation of Turkmenistan appointed Croat Ante Misha as the head coach of the Turkmenistan national football team, signing a one-year contract. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the national team did not play a single match from March to April 2020.
Last year, the Turkmenistan national team won the final selection match for the 2022 World Cup, but lost 3 points due to the fact that the DPRK national team refused to continue participating in the selection matches. So the national team took only the third place in the group. However, the demonstrated results gave her the opportunity to continue participating in the selection for the Asian Cup-2023.
Today, the head football coach of Turkmenistan is again Yazguli Khojageldiyev. On February 24, 2023, the draw for the qualifying stage of the Asian Cup 2023 will be held in an online format in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The national team of Turkmenistan recognizes its rivals. It is expected that according to the occupied place in the FIFA ranking, which will be updated on February 10, our national team will get into the second basket during the qualifying draw for the 3rd round of the Asian Cup.
As a result of the draw, 24 teams will be divided into six groups, the winners of which, as well as the best five teams among the runners-up, will have the right to compete in the final part of the Asian Cup-2023, which will be held from June 16 to July 16, 2023 in China.
– Highest FIFA ranking – 86th place (April 2004)
– The first game of the national team took place on June 1, 1992 against Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan lost 0:1
– The biggest victory took place on November 19, 2003. At the home arena, the Akhal-Teke team won against Afghanistan with a score of 11:0
– Foreign coaches: Vladimir Bessonov (Ukraine), Viktor Pozhechevsky (Ukraine), Elguja Gugushvili (Georgia).
– The team meets irregularly, the 1995, 2002 and 2006 seasons were completely missed.