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Tajikistan unveil squad for crucial Mongolia clash

Dushanbe: Tajikistan national team boss Usmon Toshev has revealed his squad for next week’s vital Asian Qualifiers match against Mongolia, naming 23 eligible players for the clash at Dushanbe Central Republic Stadium.

The Central Asian side currently lie third in Group F, making next Thursday’s match one they likely must win if they are to remain in with a realistic chance of advancing to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which would also mean a slot in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals.

Eight overseas-based players appear on the 24-man list, but one – Navbahor Namangan midfielder Ehsoni Panshanbe - will train with the national team squad despite being suspended for next Thursday’s match.

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Farhod Vosiev of Russian Premier League side Tambov is among the seven legionnaires who are expected to be available for the Mongolia match, as are the Uzbekistan-based pair of Jahongir and Davronjon Ergashev.

They’ll be joined by Parvizjon Umarboev, Tabrezi Davlatmir, Komron Tursunov and promising 20-year-old striker Shahrom Samiev (pictured below), who scored a hat-trick for Dinamo-Auto Tiraspol in the top tier of Moldovan football last week.

Beyond the foreign contingent, the bulk of the squad is supplied by Tajikistan domestic champions and soon-to-be AFC Champions League group stage participants FC Istiklol, who contribute 12 players on Toshev’s list, including key players like Alisher and Manuchehr Dzhalilov.

While the match marks Tajikistan’s first competitive fixture since their 1-1 Asian Qualifiers draw with Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek in late 2019, Toshev’s men have been among the more active Asian national teams since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, playing five ‘A’ internationals between September 2020 and February 2021.

In stark contrast, Mongolia, who sit last on the Group F table with three points from five matches, have been out of action since their 1-0 defeat to Myanmar in November 2019. Both Mongolia and Tajikistan will complete their respective Group H campaigns in Japan in June.

Next Thursday’s match will be played in a limited-capacity Central Republican Stadium, with up to 10,000 fans expected to attend.

Tajikistan are aiming to qualify for their first major senior international tournament, having failed to reach either the FIFA World Cup or the AFC Asian Cup since their introduction to competitive international football in the early 1990s.

Tajikistan squad:

Goalkeepers: Rustam Yatimov, Mukhriddin Khasanov, Shokhrukh Qirgizboev.
Defenders: Davronjon Ergashev, Farhod Vosiev, Tabrezi Davlatmir, Akhtam Nazarov, Vakhdat Khanonov, Iskandar Dzhalilov, Manuchehr Safarov, Zoir Juraboev.
Midfielders: Parvizjon Umarboev, Komron Tursunov, Alisher Dzhalilov, Amirbek Juraboev, Muhammadjon Rakhimov, Islom Zoirov, Ilhomjon Barotov, Abdulmumin Zabirov, Ehsoni Panshanbe (suspended).
Forwards: Shahrom Samiev Jahongir Ergashev, Manuchehr Dzhalilov, Rustam Soirov.

Photos: Dinamo-Auto Tiraspol, AFC

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