Despite an unimpressive showing in their recent 3-0 home defeat by Iceland, Kazakhstan are toying with the idea of bidding to host the football World Cup in 2026.
That became apparent in an interview given to Russian sports paper Sports Express on March 30 by Kazakhstan's football federation chief Erlan Kozhagapanov:
Правда, что Казахстан может подать заявку на проведение чемпионата мира 2026 года?
Да, есть такие планы. Сейчас проводим консультации с руководством страны, анализируем свои возможности. У нас экономика активно растет, страна развивается, так что почему нет? Мы хотим провести Зимнюю Олимпиаду 2022 года, а дальше в планах – побороться за ЧМ-2026.
Sports Express: Is it true that Kazakhstan may bid to host the 2026 World Cup?
Kozhagapanov:Yes, we have these plans. We are currently holding consultations with the leadership of the country, analysing our potential. Our economy is growing, the country is developing, so why not? We want to host the Winter Olympics in 2022, and then we plan to fight for the World Cup 2026.
Would the world governance body for football, FIFA, be inclined to consider giving the 2026 World Cup to a corrupt, oil-rich, authoritarian country with a dubious record on human rights and an even worse record in football? Look no further than Qatar 2022, which has been strongly criticised but is going ahead anyway, for the answer to that question.
Nor would the ‘leadership of the country’ need much convincing from their football federation that they should bid for the tournament. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 74, would love nothing more than for the whole planet to know about the cosmic capital he built from scratch, where the hypothetical Kazakh World Cup final would certainly be held. If Nazarbayev is no longer alive by the time 2026 comes around, the capital — currently called ‘capital’ in Kazakh language — might even bear his name.
Like the news of the country's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which Kazakhstan is going head-to-head with China to host, Kozhagapanov's comments were met by apprehension — over costs, preparedness and corruption potential — as well as excitement.
Writing in the comments section of Kazakhstan's Tengri News website, Ruslan said:
Хоть в такой мороз настроение поднял) чемпионат мира )))))) я уже представляю как это будет ))))
Even in this freezing weather my mood has improved) The World Cup ))))) I am already imagining it.
Freeman cited graft concerns:
На выделеные деньги еще год хорошо поживут чинуши
On the money they make state officials will live well for a year.
And 48 Ronin cited football concerns:
У нас есть футбол ? Или без участия просто провести?
Do we play football? Or we can hold the tournament without participating?
But perhaps the most evocative comment in response to the federation head's interview belonged to Ereke, who recalled Brazil's humiliating 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany on home soil, a result that made a nation cry:
Все видели как плакали бразильцы в 2014 а мы в 2026 по ходу вешатся будем.
Everyone saw how the Brazilians cried in 2014. In 2026 we might as well hang ourselves.