Kazakhstan premier league
The Kazakh professional football league , commonly referred to as the Kazakh Premier League or simply the Premier League, is the highest football league in Kazakhstan. The league is controlled by the Kazakh Football Association and was founded in 1992. The league is fed by the First League and starts in the spring and ends in late autumn due to low temperatures in the winter calendar year. Most of the games have been played on weekends in recent seasons.
The Kazakh national football team represents Kazakhstan in international football and is controlled by the Kazakh Football Association. After independence, they separated in 1991 from the national football team of the Soviet Union and joined the Central Asian Football Association of the Asian Football Confederation. After failing to qualify for the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup, they joined UEFA but still have to qualify for a FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship.
The country of Kazakhstan declared independence from the Soviet Union on 16 December 1991. The national team then split from the national football team of the Soviet Union (UEFA member) and joined the Asian Football Association. At that time, they were one of the strongest teams in Central Asia and one of the most improved teams in Asia.
The team played on June 1, 1992 as part of a Central Asian tournament their first game against another former Soviet debutants, Turkmenistan. Kazakhstan won 1-0. The tournament also saw football debuts in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. After defeating Libya in a friendly in North Korea on July 3, Kazakhstan played the remainder of the Central Asian Games and avoided defeat in all matches. They defeated Uzbekistan 1-0 at home on 16 July, then 1-1 away in Turkmenistan on 14 September, in Kyrgyzstan on 26 September and Uzbekistan on 14 October. The final game was a 2-0 home win against Kyrgyzstan on 25 October.
Kazakhstan qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup for the first time. In the first round they were in Group 9 alongside Pakistan and Iraq. Kazakhstan's first qualifier was won 3-0 at home in Almaty on May 11, 1997 against Pakistan. On 6 June, they traveled to Baghdad to face Iraq and won 2-1. Five days later they won an away game against Pakistan 7-0 in Lahore. The result remains Kazakhstan's biggest international victory. They maintained their 100% start to the World Cup by defeating Iraq 3-1 at home on 29 June.
In the second and last qualifying round Kazakhstan finished in last place in the group. Their only victory was on October 18, 1997, when they defeated the United Arab Emirates 3-0 at home. Kazakhstan has played three more home games (against Uzbekistan, Japan and South Korea).
In the first round of Asian qualifying, Kazakhstan was placed in Group 6 alongside Iraq, Nepal and Macau. All games of the group were to be played in Almaty, Kazakhstan, after Nepal had not organized any games in Kathmandu in March 2001. Following an Iraqi protest, the first three matches for each team were transferred to Baghdad, Iraq.
Kazakhstan started well in Baghdad with a 6-0 win over Nepal with two goals from Oleg Litvinenko on April 12 and Macao 3-0 two days later. On April 16, they held Iraq 1-1 in front of 50,000. Ruslan Baltiev put the Kazakhs ahead in the 6th minute and Abdul-Wahab Abu Al-Hail equalized with a penalty on the 31st.At Almaty Central Stadium, Kazakhstan beat Nepal 3-0 on 21 April and Maksim Igorevich Shevchenko scored twice. Two days later, they beat Macau 5-0. Dmitriy Byakov and Igor Avdeyev scored two goals each after a goalless first half. The last game on April 25 saw a 1-1 draw with Iraq ahead of 25,000. Litvinenko put Kazakhstan in 32nd place but Iraq equalized ten minutes later. Although tied, Iraq improved mainly due to a 9-1 victory over Nepal.
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