The new head coach will prepare the national team of Turkmenistan for the qualifying matches of the 2026 World Cup

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The new head coach will prepare the national team of Turkmenistan for the qualifying matches of the 2026 World Cup

Mergen Orazov, 34, will train the national football team of Turkmenistan for the qualifying matches of the 2026 World Cup as the head coach. This decision was made by the Executive Committee of the Football Federation of Turkmenistan.

As the head coach of the national team, M. Orazov replaced Yazguly Hojageldiyev, under whose leadership the Turkmen football players could not overcome the qualifying stage in Malaysia to participate in the final tournament of the Asian Cup-2023.

Mergen Orazov made friends with football for the first time at the age of 7, starting to train in the «Ak Gush» team with the famous children's coach Sergey Georgiyevich Akopyants. And at the age of 16, he got into the backup team of the Ashgabat «Nisa», with whom the late Boris Osipovich Grigoryants worked fruitfully at that time.

Soon, Mergen began to be attracted to the game for the main team of this club. The football affairs of the promising guy were going well. However, after graduating from secondary school, he enters the University of Pennsylvania and leaves for the United States. But even there, M. Orazov does not part with football, playing for the university team.

After graduating from an American university with a degree in Business Management, Mergen, upon returning to his homeland, professionally took up futsal. As part of the «Arvana» club, he became the champion of Turkmenistan five times. He played the same number of times for the national team in the final tournaments of the Asian Cup. At the end of his professional career as a player, he twice led the «Kopetdag» futsal club to the championship as a head coach, while in 2020 he was recognized as the best futsal coach in Turkmenistan.

In 2021, Mergen Orazov received an offer to head the «Ahal» football club as the head coach, and he enthusiastically took up a new business. The results were not long in coming. For two years of work, the team of the Main Department «Türkmennebitönümleri» headed by Mergen won the first ever victory in the AFC Champions League, confidently beating the Qatari «Al-Gharafa» - 4:2 at a two-round tournament held in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) with the participation of four teams from Turkmenistan, Iran, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. And in the debut match in this prestigious club competition in Asia, she took points from the finalist of the AFC Champions League-2015, the bronze medalist of the United Arab Emirates «Shababa Al-Ahli» from Dubai, drawing with him - 1:1.

Also last year, under the leadership of M. Orazov, «Ahal» won three national trophies - for the first time became the champion of Turkmenistan, for the fourth time won the Cup of the country and for the second time - the Cup of the Football Federation of Turkmenistan, and the mentor of the champions himself was recognized as the best coach of Turkmenistan in 2022.

In parallel with this, Mergen improved his football education. In one year, he successfully completed courses for coaching licenses «B» and «A», which give the right to work with professional clubs in Turkmenistan.

It should be noted that before that, courses of the coaching category «A» were not held in Turkmenistan for 6 years. And only thanks to the perseverance of the director of the technical department of the Football Federation of Turkmenistan, six-time champion and five-time winner of the Cup of the country, master of the dispute, the best football player of Turkmenistan in 1993 and two-time top scorer of the championship of Turkmenistan in 1993 and 1994, Berdi Nurmyradov, with the assistance of the Asian Football Confederation, in 2022 in Ashgabat it was possible conduct these courses, upon completion of which 18 trainers out of 24 trainees became holders of «A» license diplomas.

Now, B. Nurmyradov plans to organize the first training courses in Turkmenistan of the highest category Pro, the license of which allows coaches to work with any team abroad, including the national team.

As Mergen Orazov told the «GA» correspondent, in the near future he plans to get the Pro category and apply the acquired knowledge in working with the national team of Turkmenistan.

The opponents of our national team in the qualifying tournament for the 2026 World Cup will become known following the results of the draw, which will be held this spring. And the matches of the first stage of qualification will be held in the autumn of 2023.

«We plan to create a strong team that will be motivated and fight in every game. To this end, next month we will gather for the first training camp», said the head coach of the Turkmenistan national team Mergen Orazov.

As it became known to «GA», within the framework of this camp, the national team of Turkmenistan plans to play on March 23 in Kuala Lumpur with the national team of Malaysia, and on March 27 - in Manila with the national team of the Philippines.