Aziz Ganiev: Uzbekistan determined to make fans proud by sealing Olympic berth


Uzbekistan’s reign as champions was ended by Saudi Arabia in Wednesday’s semi-final but there is still a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics - a stage where the Central Asians have never appeared at - available and Ganiev said the White Wolves aim to create history.

“We lost to Saudi Arabia because we didn’t put our chances away and, to be honest, lost focus towards the end which allowed them to score.

“There is nothing we can do about that now but there is still one match to play and it is now the most important match of the tournament for us,” said midfielder Ganiev.

“It will be a very difficult match against tough opponents but we will try to do our best to make our supporters happy.

“We are determined to qualify for the Olympics,” added 21-year-old Ganiev, who made his senior national team debut in the Asian Qualifiers last year.

"It’s a great responsibility to wear the national team jersey. As a member of the national team, when you enter the field, you have to play very well and this will drive us against Australia.

“Australia is a very strong team. They are a tough team but we have learned a lot about them, and we know they are physically strong and have several skillful players but we will play our game and, hopefully, qualify for the Olympics.”