Recently it became known that the champion of Turkmenistan in football will play in the group stage of the AFC Champions League for the first time in 18 years. The correspondent of "Turkmenportal" decided to contact the famous Turkmen football defender Gochguli Gochguliev, who in his time managed to play in the AFC Champions League and the Asian Champions Cup — the main club football tournaments of the continent. In an exclusive interview Gochguli Hanglyjevich shared their memories about the stage of his football career abroad.
Gochguli Gochguliev was born 26 may 1977 in the city of Balkanabat in Balkan velayat. A pupil of the local youth school. He started his football career at FC “Arkach” in 1994. Later, he played for the Turkmen clubs "Nebitchi" (1995),"Buzmeyin" (1996) and "Kopetdag" (1997-2001). After a 10-year foreign tour, having played in various clubs in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, in 2011 he returned to his native Balkanabat, becoming a player of the local "Gara Altyn". In 2012, he finished his career as a football player, now he is engaged in coaching.
— Gochguli, on behalf of the editors of "Turkmenportal" we express our gratitude for giving us your time. Please tell our readers about your achievements.
— At home, as a member of the capital's “Kopetdag”, I twice became the national champion and the owner of the Cup of Turkmenistan. My first foreign club was Irtysh Pavlodar (Kazakhstan). In 2002, I moved from “Irtysh” to “Pakhtakor” Tashkent (Uzbekistan), where I became a four-time champion of this country. In 2006, he returned to Kazakhstan, but already to "Kayrat", which at that time was coached by our Turkmen specialist Tachmurad Shamakovich Agamuradov. After playing there for one season, in 2007 I returned to Uzbekistan from the second round, where I played for “Bunyodkor” Tashkent until 2010. We won three more gold medals at the Uzbek championship with “Bunyodkor”.
— You have played for almost 20 years in various Turkmen and foreign clubs, as well as for the national team of Turkmenistan under the guidance of various mentors. Which of them was easier to work with, and which was more difficult?
— It's hard when the coach leaves you on the bench. If the coach does not see you in the main team, it is a tragedy for the player. In all clubs and the national team of Turkmenistan, I always went on the field from the first minutes. And for this, it is always important for a player to be in the right shape and catch the tactical schemes, and most importantly — to fulfill all the instructions of the coach. For some reason, it was easy for me (smiles). I am grateful to all my coaches. But I especially want to highlight our national coach Tachmurad Shamakovich Agamuradov. It was he who saw in me a strong, tenacious, "head" defender and invited me to join the "Kopetdag". I was 19 years old then. This was unexpected for me. At that time, I was playing as a member of “Bezmein”. Under the leadership Tachmurad Agamuradov I was in "Kopetdag", "Irtysh" and "Pakhtakor". As well as in the national team of Turkmenistan. Tachmurad Shamakovich during matches almost stands up from the bench. He gives all his instructions before the match and at half-time. This is one of the distinctive features of Agamuradov.
— Bulgarian striker Hristo Stoichkov, the Ukrainian Andrey Shevchenko and even Argentinian star Lionel Messi at one time is not easily had in the confrontation with Gochguliev. Where and how did fate bring you together?
— Don't overdo it (smiles modestly). Yes, indeed, I was able to counteract these star players on the same field. In 1998, when our "Kopetdag" reached the semi-final of the Asian Cup winners ' Cup-1997/98, we faced "al-Nasr" from Saudi Arabia. When we arrived in Riyadh, we learned that the rival was strengthened by foreign Legionnaires. One of them was the winner of the Golden ball (1994), Bulgarian football legend Hristo Stoichkov.
Before the match our coach Tachmurad Agamuradov gave me the installation — personally to play against Bulgarian. At that time, I was only 20 years old. At the beginning there was a slight excitement, but as the referee gave the starting whistle, it all disappeared. Although the match ended in a victory for al-Nasr, (2: 1-approx. editors), we can record this game in our asset. In that game Stoichkov failed to hit our goal, even from the 11-meter mark. His shot from the penalty spot was parried by the goalkeeper Yevgeny Naboichenko (now he is part of the coaching staff of Kazakhstan's "Tobol" — approx. editions).
Against the winner of the "Golden ball" (2004), the best scorer in the history of the Ukrainian national team, Andrey Shevchenko, I was awarded to play at the Commonwealth Cup in Moscow. Then “Kopetdag” again lost to “Dynamo” Kiev in the semifinals (5: 0-approx. editions).
And with one of the best players of our time, the Argentine Lionel Messi, we played in a friendly match between the famous "Barcelona" and the Uzbek "Bunyodkor". It was against Messi that I personally played. This match ended in a draw, with the score 1: 1. Messi did not score that day (smiles).
— Did you exchange t-shirts with Messi after the match?
— Not with Leo, but I exchanged t-shirts with Barcelona Central defender Carles Puyol.
— As far as we remember, you still managed to play in the same team as the 2002 world champion in the national team of Brazil?
- "You mean Rivaldo?" Yes, I was lucky enough to play with the winner of the Golden ball and the best player of 1999, the world champion of 2002, the Brazilian striker Rivaldo. We, playing with him in the same team, became three-time Champions of Uzbekistan.
— Gochguli, what does a player when you haven't scored a penalty? I am referring to the 2010 world Cup qualifying match with the North Korean national team, which was held in Ashgabat in 2008, and the friendly match between “Kopetdag” and German “Hertha”.
— All the players are worried; they worry about it for a long time. Of course, in both cases I was very upset. With the Germans ended in a draw. The match ended with a score of 1: 1. in the last minutes of the meeting, we got the right to shoot a penalty. The goalkeeper guessed the direction of the ball and deflected my shot. The guys supported and calmed me down.
But I was more upset after the match with the Koreans… That day, I went on the field with an injury that I got playing for “Bunyodkor”. I would like to emphasize that playing for the national team is something special, it is indescribable. This is a real holiday and honor for any football player. In this match, I wanted to be close to the guys on the national team, watching the game from the bench. But when you enter your native land and look at the native green flag of Turkmenistan, you forget about the difficulties and pain. It feels as if additional powers are being transferred to you from heaven. Before the match, I trained on an individual program with a physical training coach. And on the day of the match, I asked the coaching staff to release me to the base. At that time, I was the team's full-time penalty taker. But on this day, it was not possible to implement a penalty. The coaching staff, led by Rahym Gurbanmamedov, and the players supported me after the meeting. The same world stars in the most key moments happen to miss 11-meter strikes. In this case, "not everything is in our hands".
— And finally, having achieved such success in your career, what can you wish to the beginning Turkmen football players?
— I wish them to always observe discipline in their sports careers and in their lives. After all, football players are always in sight, especially children and the younger generation watch them. I also wish our football team a successful performance in the remaining qualifying matches of the 2022 world Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.
— Gochguli, thank you very much for the interesting conversation!
"Please, and thank you." I wish the version of "Turkmenportal" all the best!