This post , the first in a new segment on exploring the past of Kazakhstan, is a piece of writing on football by the late historian, political scientist and public intellectual Nurbulat Masanov. He was well known in both Kazakhstan and with foreign academics (Read some tributes after his 2006 death here). Last year, where I stumbled upon a posthumously published book containing a collection of his interviews and articles: Я, Нурбулат Масанов.
In addition to discussing historical, political and social issues, Masanov was, like me, a huge sports fan. Being an Alma-Ata native, his real love was the local football club FC Kairat. FC Kairat has fallen on tough times recently, but their futsal offshoot, AFC Kairat Almaty, is one of the best in Europe (remember – Kazakhstan plays in UEFA competitions, not Asia). They have made the final four of the UEFA Futsal Cup the four of the last six years, and this past April they finally received the chance to host the final tournament. They fell, once again, in the semis to Sporting Club de Portugal before capturing third.
So in honor of Nurbulat Masanov and AFC Kairat Almaty’s success I offer this translation of his article on the glory days of Kairat. Enjoyыныздар.