Ilham Aliyev: New page opened in Azerbaijanâ€™s football history
A new page was opened in the history of Azerbaijani football, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said at a meeting with the squad of Garabag football club on Thursday, APA reported.
“A new page was opened in the history of the football of our country. FC Qarabag qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage, and I sincerely congratulate you on this historic victory,” said the president. “You gave the people of Azerbaijan the joy of victory. In a tense struggle, you once again demonstrated that Azerbaijani sportsmen are strong, professional and attached to their people and state, and worthy represent their country on the international arena.”
President Aliyev stressed that this historic victory, at the same time, is important because it was gained by Qarabag football club which is dear to us all.
“Qarabag team bears the name of Karabakh and represents the city of Aghdam which is under occupation, so your victory is of great importance. It’s not just a sporting victory, it’s the victory of our state and Azerbaijani youth,” the head of state said. “We gain victories both on battlefields and sports arenas, just as in April of last year, heroic Azerbaijani servicemen, having shown heroism and courage, liberated a part of our lands from occupation. At present, full of life exists in these lands, and citizens have begun to return to the liberated territories. Now they are living there, building and creating. Now the flag of Azerbaijan is waving in these territories. And you also raised the Azerbaijani flag at a football stadium yesterday. Every patriotic citizen of Azerbaijan and millions of Azerbaijanis living abroad are very happy with your victory, and they are proud of the fact that the Azerbaijani football club, especially the team named after Karabakh, is now among the strongest teams of the world and Europe.”
The president called Qarabag’s victory ‘a manifestation of the development of football in Azerbaijan.’
“I’m very glad that football, the most popular sport in the world, is developing in Azerbaijan. We have long been waiting impatiently for this improvement and the victories of our football players. And we are witnessing this today. So our national team as well as clubs shows good results, worthy game, perseverance, will and patriotism. Therefore, I believe that football in our country will develop further, and both national teams and clubs will represent our country with dignity,” he said.
President Aliyev added that this victory is also the result of the work done in country’s sports in recent years because sport in Azerbaijan is part of the state policy.
Today, Azerbaijan is known as a sports country worldwide, said the president, hailing Azerbaijani athletes’ high results in world championships and the Olympic Games.
He stressed that the first European Games and the fourth Islamic Games held in Baku once again demonstrated the power of Azerbaijani athletes.
“Azerbaijan ranked second in the European Games medal standing and first in the 4th Islamic Games. This is a historic victory. At the same time, our athletes won 18 medals at the Rio Olympics last year. They took the 14th place in the world by the number of medals. This is historic achievement for a young and independent state. I’m very glad that football, the world’s most popular sport, is also developing in Azerbaijan. New stadiums are being built in the country. Historical Tofig Bahramov stadium was renovated a few years ago, an Olympic stadium with 70,000 spectators was built. Besides, stadiums are being constructed in districts as well. The development of sports depends on the availability of infrastructure. To this end, the most modern sports infrastructure is being created both in districts and Baku,” said the president.
President Aliyev went on to say that after this victory, children will be involved more into football, and the number of those who are willing to be football players and look like them will grow.
“Now you are known all over Azerbaijan. Attention will increase towards you. I’m confident that you will be a model for young people, young athletes in future as how you have behaved with dignity both in sports and in everyday life. Yesterday's victory is not accidental. You have been heading to this victory for many years”, he said.
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