Football is the most popular sport in Kazakhstan
, a country that gained independence in 1991. Until 2002, the national association was part of the Asian Football Confederation, but then successfully applied to join UEFA. To date, the U-20 team recorded Kazakhstan
's greatest success by qualifying for the FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria in 1999. Timur Segizbaiev, Kurvlbak and Ordabaiev are all famous names from the past, having represented the Soviet Union during the 1970s. The most famous club is Kairat Almaty, who played in the USSR top flight.