Azerbaijan premier liga
Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani football is organized by the Association of Football Associations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), which heads the national professional league, the AFFA Supreme League and the Azerbaijani national football team.
The national team will participate in all senior and youth competitions organized by FIFA and UEFA. Neftchi Baku was one of the leading teams in the former league of the Soviet Union and sometimes played in European club competitions. Their most famous player was probably Anatoly Banishevski, who was also a member of the Soviet team that reached the semi-finals of the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Another Azerbaijani football legend is also part of football history: Tofiq Bahramov was the linesman who played a pivotal role in the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final between England and Germany.
In the early twentieth century, football began to become popular in Azerbaijan, which at that time belonged to the Russian Empire.
Within a short time many soccer teams were founded in the capital Baku. In 1905 the first football teams were founded in Azerbaijan. These teams mainly represented the big oil companies of Baku. These teams included "Surakhany football players", "Stela", "Friends of Sports", "Sportsmen", "Congress", "Unitas", "Belaya", "Senturion", "Progress", etc. Initially, the city championships were spontaneously held by an agreement between the captains in the absence of cup competitions.
In 1911, the first official championship took place in Baku, which led to the victory of the "British Club" team. In 1912, the Azerbaijani footballers had their first "international match" and won 4-2 in Tbilisi (Georgia) against local team "Sokol". Between 1912 and 1913, matches between Azerbaijani and Georgian football teams were organized first in Tbilisi and then in Baku. In 1914, the Football Association was founded in Azerbaijan. Football Union organized official city championships and other competitions.
After a shock victory over Turkey, the team reached in 2010 the 90th place in the FIFA World Ranking, Azerbaijan's highest position in the history of the country. After defeating Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan broke points and scored points with 7 points and 10 goals.
In November 2011, AFFA extended Berti Vogts' contract for another two years until the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle. Under Vogts, Azerbaijan had some bad results as it was unable to defeat the second-placed. Vogts was criticized, protested and demonstrated by local supporters and the media. Azerbaijan, however, managed to finish the qualifying cycle in fourth place, the best the team ever finished. In December 2013, Vogts received a new two-year contract with the goal of leading Azerbaijan through qualifying for EURO 2016. In July 2014, Azerbaijan beat its ranking record with 73rd place in the FIFA World Ranking. After three defeats Vogts resigned after six years in office in Azerbaijan from his position.
Successor of Vogts was the former Croatian international Robert Prosinečki. He led the Azerbaijani team to another record point victory (10) in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, but the team was still fifth in Group C with six teams.
Azerbaijan is often referred to by the media and supporters as Milli (The National). This is the nickname associated with all the international sports teams of Azerbaijan, as the team uses the national colors of the country.
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