Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 29
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
The last week was marked by a big football feast for entire Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani football clubs Karabakh and Gabala, playing in the UEFA Europe League, presented a real gift not only to their fans but to all local sports fans. They gained a victory over their opponents and reached the group stage of the tournament. This is the second most important tournament for European football clubs.
I would like to talk about the opponents of our clubs. Gabala FC and Karabakh FC are entitled to play in the Europe League group stage, by gaining a victory over the Greek Panathinaikos FC and the Swiss Young Boys FC respectively in the qualifying round.
Both teams are considered strong in their countries. Swiss Young Boys have set the pace in the European arena for the last 3-4 years, while Panathinaikos is constantly involved in the European Cups. The team even played in the finals of the European Champions Cup (the predecessor of the Champions League). But it lost to the Dutch Ajax, though this happened in 1971.
Azerbaijani football clubs do not have such achievements compared to their opponents. Well, Karabakh FC has been regularly participating in the European Cups for the last six years (with a break for a year). It reached the last qualifying round of the Europe League three times. Last season it was in the group stage of the competition. It played perfectly but failed to reach 1 / 16 finals only because of the gross referee error [the referee did not credit the goal of Aghdam football players to the gate of the Italian International]. But Gabala FC can not boast such success. For the second time in its history, the FC has entered the European Cups. Its reaching the group stage is of great success for the team.
The victory over such opponents showed that our FCs must be taken into account. By reaching the Europe League group stage for the third consecutive year, Azerbaijani teams show that the attention given to the Azerbaijani sport in general and football in particular, gives results.
In general, the attention paid to the sport in Azerbaijan is gradually transforming the country into a sports center of the whole region. The major sporting events are often held here and will be held in the future. The first European Games, a large number of regional and world competitions in various kinds of sports, IV Islamic Solidarity Games to be held in 2017, the matches of the European Football Championship in 2018 are among them. The number of victories of Azerbaijani sportsmen at the Olympic Games, the world championships and European championships is growing.
It is clear that the investments in the Azerbaijani football, the attention paid to the development of children's and youth football give results. The correct policy of Karabakh FC and Gabala FC in terms of attracting players and inviting coaches should be stressed. First, in their success both teams are obliged to their coaches, involved in the proper preparatory work for each match and leadership, which managed to properly use the funds allocated for FCs.
In the end, we would like to wish our players a successful match in the Europe League group stage. The draw was not very good for us. The opponents of our football clubs are stronger than the previous ones. But much efforts and good preparation will lead to new achievements. And the most important thing is always to go forward despite the obstacles.
Trend commentator Anvar Mammadov
follow the on Twitter: @Anvar_Mammadov