Football in Kazakhstan - History


Kazakh football first appeared in Semey before World War I, when British merchants brought the game to the area. Among the early players of the game was writer Mukhtar Auezov who turned out for the 'Yarysh' club, the biggest of the time . Teams soon followed in Pavlodar and Dzhambul, before the first official appearance of a Kazakh SSR representative team in 1928. By the 1930s Kazakh club sides were regularly participating in the lower ranks of Soviet football.

After World War II a regular league began in 1946 while a cup competition, previously held sporadically was instituted full-time in 1948. A permanent Kazakh SSR Football Federation was established in 1959. Leading club side FC Kairat Almaty went on to make history in 1960 by becoming the first Kazakh side to compete in the Soviet Top League and made further history in 1963 by reaching the semi-finals of the Soviet Cup, the best performance by a Kazakh team in the competition. They would go on to record Kazakhstan's first triumph in the Soviet First League in 1976.

No Kazakh footballer had represented the USSR until 1977 when FC Kairat defender Seilda Baishakov made his debut in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Hungary. Later, in 1986, his club would go on to add further to their honours by finishing seventh in the Top League, an all-time best finish for a Kazakh club. The country's Eugeny Yarovenko also added to the honours as a member of the victorious Soviet side at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, a Football Association of the Republic of Kazakhstan was set up in 1992 and soon accepted into FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation. The national team debuted soon afterwards and individual Kazakh competitions were established. The renamed FFK went on to join UEFA in 2002, ending their relationship with the AFC.

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