Australia’s World Cup qualifier to go ahead despite Tajikistan strife

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PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Tom Rogic of Australia celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification match between the Australian Socceroos and Bangladesh at nib Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Football Federation (FFA) expected the Socceroos’ 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers against on Tuesday to go ahead despite armed attacks on police and government buildings in Dushanbe.

At least eight policemen and two gunmen were killed in the Tajik capital and the adjacent city of Vahdat in armed attacks local authorities blamed on forces loyal to the country’s own deputy defence minister.

Ange Postecoglou’s Australia squad are due to arrive in Dushanbe on Saturday but the FFA moved to downplay concerns about their safety or whether the Socceroos‘ match against Tajikistan would be played as scheduled.

“FFA’s advance party has been in Dushanbe for several days and have been liaising with the authorities in Tajikistan,” read a statement on FFA’s website.

“At this stage the situation in Dushanbe remains calm. Businesses, government services and the airport are operating as normal.”

Australia are top of Group B in the AFC’s second round of qualifying for Russia 2018 with six points from two matches while Tajikistan sit fourth with one point.