KUALA LUMPUR: Former Pahang striker Azamat Abduraimov is back in Malaysia but as player and coach of the Uzbekistan team for the KL World Futsal tournament.
The 37-year-old Abduraimov, who played for Pahang in the 1994 M-League, switched to futsal after ending his international football career with Uzbekistan in October last year.
Abduraimov made his futsal debut in the Asian Championships in Jakarta last year and scored four goals in the match against Malaysia.
“It is great to be back in Malaysia because this country has a special place in my heart,” he said. Abduraimov got married to Lobra in Kuantan in 1994 and held a traditional Malay wedding ceremony.
“In fact our daughter Alia, who is now eight-years-old, was conceived in Malaysia but born in Taskent,” said Abduraimov.
“I have played professional football in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and India but it is here (in Malaysia) where I have very fond memories.”
After leaving Malaysia, Abduraimov returned in 1995 with the Uzbek national team that won the Merdeka Tournament.
His father was the coach of the Uzbekistan national team who made their Asian Games debut in Hiroshima in 1994. Abduraimov was in the team who were the surprise gold medallists.
Abduraimov will take to the pitch in Uzbekistan's Group D tie against England. – Bernama