Amazing, this week Kazakhstan won Serbia 2-1 in the qualifyng round for the EuroUEFA 2008, the first match that Kazakhstan wins since it joined UEFA last year and against the powerful Serbia! Even more, do you know which is Serbia’s coach? Javier Clemente!
This is not an sports blog, so what interested me is that Kazakhstan is actually the only central asian state that is member of UEFA. So I checked wiki:
Several national football associations which are geographically in Asia or mostly in Asia belong to UEFA rather than the Asian Football Confederation. These nations are Israel, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan (Israel and Kazakhstan are former AFC members). Cyprus chose to be classed as a European football nation — it had the choice of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Interesting, the whole Caucasus and Kazakstan are in UEFA, but even more interesting, Kazakhstan, like Israel was a former member of the Asian FC, but none of the central asian countries are in EuroBasket or the European Ciclyst Federation. So Kazakhstan national basketball team plays the Asia Cup and the footbal team the Euro Cup. ¿Why?
UEFA is probably one of the larger European organizations (even Gibraltar is trying to get in) that goes beyond it’s continental borders. It’s Kazakhstan trying to be european? Kazakhstan identifies itself as asian and european, it’s trying to get OSCE’s presidency, boost energy cooperation with europe, etc. and at the same time is member of the SCO and the NATO PfP and the CTSO… too many identities for just one country? Kazakhstan is trying to use it’s regional ambiguity into it’s benefit.
Well, next match is against the powerful Portugal national team in Lisbon (the “other” end of Europe), lets wish good luck to Kazakhstan.