Introducing Sumqayit FK

Our Azeri Conference League opponents are making their third appearance on the European stage this year, where they have yet to score a goal.

Sumqayit FK, nicknamed "Chemists", was founded 14 years ago in 2010. In the summer of 2011, Absheron FK, who were in the top division of Azerbaijan, were dissolved due to sponsorship problems and replaced by the "Chemists" in the league. The rookie team played in the championship with mainly 18-19 year old Azerbaijani youth players in the squad.

Sumqayit FK finished in the second half of the table every season until 2020, with the breakthrough coming in the 2019/2020 season, when they finished 4th in the table and qualified for the European stage for the first time in their history. In the first qualifying round of the EL, Northern Macedonia's Shkëndija won 2-0 away and as it was the memorable "COVID season", qualification was decided by this one match, and they were eliminated.

The following season Sumqayit won the bronze medal in the championship, with Serbian side Čukarički winning 2-0 in Azerbaijan in the first qualifying round of the ECL, and the return leg ending in a 0-0 draw. In the following two years, the "Chemists" failed to qualify for Europe, but last season they finished 4th in the league again and will be eligible to play in the second qualifying round of the CL this year, where they will meet Vidi at the end of July.

The head coach of the team is 46-year-old Azerbaijani Samir Abasov, who played for the club from 2011-2014 and was appointed head coach in 2015 and managed the Azerbaijani club until 2018. After a few years break, he returned to the Sumqayit FK bench in 2022 and has been the head coach uninterrupted since then.

In addition to Azerbaijani footballers, the team also includes players from Pakistan, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Burundi, Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, Israel, Northern Macedonia, Chad and Estonia. Six players are in their country's national team, the best known being Erik Sorga of Estonia, who played in the Hungary-Estonia friendly in Budapest last year, the 50th match in which Marco Rossi was in charge of the team, which we won 1-0 with a goal from Ádám Martin. However, we will not see him in the July match, as his contract expires on 30 June and although he had the option to extend it, the Azeri club did not take it, so the Estonian will be available for free transfer in a few days. Erik Sorga's goal helped Sumqayit beat champions Qarabağ at the end of the season to clinch 4th place in the league and a return to international cup action after two years.

Chad's Casimir Ninga and Pakistan's Easah Suliman are also on the national team, but according to Transfermarkt, their contracts expire on 30 June. Azerbaijan's Elvin Badalov and Mehdi Cannatov, also from Azerbaijan, and Burundi's Trésor Mossi will be available for the second qualifying round of the CL.

CL second qualifying round, first match: Thursday 25 July 2024 Sumqayit FK vs Fehérvár FC
CL second qualifying round, second leg: Wednesday 31 July 2024 19:00 Fehérvár FC - Sumqayit FK

Author: David Rechnitzer

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