Dzhaksybekov: FIFA is vital to us
© FIFA.com

On Tuesday 8 April 2008, a Kazakhstan Football Association delegation led by President Adilbek Dzhaksybekov and General Secretary Sayan Khamitzanov visited the Home of FIFA in Zurich. After a meeting with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the Kazakhstan association President spoke to FIFA.com.

FIFA.com: President Dzhaksybekov, what brings you here today?
President Adilbek Dzhaksybekov: We want to deepen our relationship with FIFA and continue to strengthen our partnership. FIFA is a very important organisation for the development of football in Kazakhstan. I've had an excellent conversation with President Blatter, and I invited him to visit us and assess the progress we're making in our country for himself.

What are the key areas for developing the game in Kazakhstan?

Youth development is extremely important for our association. We're receiving tremendous support from the government in this respect. We're currently preparing a special programme aimed at expanding our activities for junior players, with the focus on kids' and youth teams. We're also planning 50 technical centres equipped with the latest generation pitches. FIFA and UEFA have given us invaluable help in this. [A new stadium with a retractable roof in the capital Astana opens in July - Ed.]

How happy are you with the progress made by your senior national team?
We've taken the initial steps, although it's by no means an easy task. Last season, the team showed they've gained experience and have a lot more belief. The team proved capable of keeping up with the likes of Portugal, Serbia and Belgium, so we can be confident for the future.

What would it mean for Kazakhstan to qualify for a major tournament?
It would be a real triumph for Kazakhstan and the people of our country. It would be impressive evidence of Kazakhstan's full integration into the worldwide footballing community. It would also be immensely valuable in developing the game further in our country.