Star midfielder and captain Server Djeparov and form scorer of the 2011 Asian Cup Odil Ahmedov headline the White Wolves’ 23-man squad for the 2015 Asian Cup, announced by coach Mirjalol Kasymov during a Tuesday press conference.
Two-time Asian Player of the Year Server Djeparov , who won this year’s Korean FA Cup with Seongnam FC, will control the midfield.
Also bringing international flavour to the side is midfielder Odil Ahmedov, who has so far made 60 appearances for his national team since his debut in 2007.
Two defenders from FC Nasaf, Shukhrat Mukhammadiev and Farrukh Sayfiev, could make their debut in Asian Cup after strong performances over the domestic season.
“The Asian Cup is the biggest tournament in Asia,” Kasymov declared in the press conference. “We have prepared well and are now ready for the competition.
“It was a tough job [to select the squad], but the best players are ready for the start of Asian Cup. [Calling] 11 midfielders and 3 strikers doesn’t mean that we’re going to play [only] in defence. Some of the wingers can play in attack as well.
“We have learned our opponents during the year. I watched DPR Korea. My assistants went to the Gulf Cup to monitor group rivals.”
“It was good preparation for Asian Cup,” captain Djeparov said of their training. “It’s time to prove ourselves in front of our fans. Uzbekistan have a good, young generation. The young players in the squad have bright future. Asian Cup is a chance [for the young players] to shine.”
“We are eyeing qualification for knock-out stage,” added Kasymov. “Then we want to go to semifinals and win a medal. That’s our main goal in the Asian Cup.”
Uzbekistan will depart for Australia on Friday and are scheduled to play a friendly two days later against Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim FC, before entering Group B alongside Saudi Arabia, China PR and DPR Korea.
Uzbekistan 23-man Asian Cup squad
Eldor Suyunov (Nasaf)
Ignatiy Nesterov (Lokomotiv)
Akbar Turaev (Bunyodkor)
Egor Krimets (Pakhtakor)
Shavkat Mulladjanov (Lokomotiv)
Anzur Ismailov (Changchun Yatai/China)
Shukhrat Mukhammadiev (Nasaf)
Vitaliy Denisov (Lokomotiv Moscow/Russia)
Islom Tokhtakhodjaev (Lokomotiv)
Farrukh Sayfiev (Nasaf)
Akmal Shorakhmedov (Bunyodkor)
Sardor Rashidov (Bunyodkor)
Azizbek Khaydarov (Shabab FC/UAE)
Server Djeparov (Seongnam FC/South Korea)
Odil Ahmedov (Krasnodar FC/Russia)
Jamshid Iskanderov (Pakhtakor)
Lutfulla Turaev (Lokomotiv)
Jasur Khasanov (Lokomotiv)
Sanjar Tursunov (Vorskla/Ukraine)
Timur Kopadze (Aktobe/Kazakhstan)
Bakhodir Nasymov (Padideh/Iran)
Igor Sergeev (Pakhtakor)
Vokhid Shodiev (Bunyodkor)