India take on the Tajikistan national team in a friendly on 14th August. Goal tells you everything you need to know about the Crown, and their history in football…
BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
Initial Roots: The Tajikistan Football Federation was formed in 1936, while the region was still a part of the Soviet Union, and did not have a national team of its own, as the USSR team represented all the federations of the area as one single entity.
Independence: It was thus, only in 1994 that the Federation was accepted as a national federation by FIFA and AFC. Their first game ended in a 1-0 loss to Kazakhstan, though they had drawn 2-2 against Uzbekistan, but that game was held before they were officially recognized.
FIFA Ranking: The country is presently ranked 31 places ahead of India in the FIFA rankings, occupying the 114th slot. This is a fall of 8 places from their highest ever position of 106th in July 2013.
World Cup history: With the country only being an official member of FIFA for less than 20 years, it is no surprise that they have never made the World Cup main stage. Their first participation in the qualification process was for the 1998 World Cup in France, where only the might of China prevented them from moving further ahead from their preliminary group, finishing second, ahead of Turkmenistan and Vietnam.
|Tajikistan made the third round in the 2014 WC qualifiers|
In 2002, Iran stopped them from going further in the qualification ladder, while in 2006 and 2010, the Crown, as they are known, failed to get past the group stages. In 2014 they made the third round of qualifiers, after Syria, who defeated them in the second round, were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player. However from the group stages, they could only pick a single point off DPR Korea, losing all other games, in a group which also had Japan and Uzbekistan.
Continental history: On the Asian level too, they have failed to get into the main stages of the Asian Cup, while they made the second round and first round of the Asian Games in 1998 and 2010 respectively.
Age-group competitions: The most notable success the Tajikistan team has achieved is in the U-16 & U-17 category, where they won a bronze in the U-16 AFC Championship in 2006, while reaching the round of 16 in the U-17 World Cup in 2007.
Records: The biggest win registered by Tajikistan is a 16-0 blanking of Guam in 2000, while a 8-0 loss to Japan in 2011 was the worst scoreline the country has been at the receiving end of. Their first and biggest triumph till date has been the AFC Challenge Cup victory in 2006, which was the inaugural edition of the tournament. Yusuf Rabiev, with 15 goals, has been their top scorer since making his debut in 2003.
|India celebrated the last time the two nations faced each other|
Head-to-Head: The Blue Tigers and The Crown have played each other three times, with both team winning once, and the other game ending in a draw. Their last encounter was in Kathmandu back in 2012, when Tajikistan went away as victors by a scoreline of 2-0.
Players to watch: Experienced central midfielder Khurshed Mahmudov will be leading the team out against India. The 30 year old is the calming influence in the middle of the park for his side, and often pops-up with vital goals, with six of his seven strikes for the national team coming in winning causes for his side.
Kamil Saidov is expected to lead the strike-force for the Tajiks, and will prove to be a feisty opponent for Gouramangi Moirangthem and his central defensive partner. The striker has four goals for the national team, and is the most experienced of the quartet named in the Crown’s squad.
Coach: Mukhsin Mukhamadiev will be making his debut as the coach of the national team against India. The 46 year old, who has played for both, Russia and Tajikistan, is the 5th head coach that the Tajiks have had in a period of two years, with such instability having hit the national team’s performance in recent times, with the country even failing to make the main edition of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
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