As Turkmenistan return to the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 2004, talisman Altymyrat Annadurdyyew will be key to their chances of earning a first win.
Annadurdyyew was the team’s top goal scorer with eight goals in Altyn Asyr’s historic run to the 2018 AFC Cup final. The versatile forward was equally important at the national team level, finishing as the side’s joint-top scorer in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers.
Date of birth: 13/04/1993
Current club: Altyn Asyr
Previous clubs: FC Ahal
Annadurdyyew made his international debut for Turkmenistan in 2015 in a World Cup Qualifier against Guam. He made further appearances in the same campaign against India and Guam in the return leg.
The 25-year-old waited until 2017 to break his international duck, scoring in the 23rd minute in a 3-1 win over Chinese Taipei. His second international goal came six monthe later against Singapore, but it was Annadurdyyew’s third international goal that carried immense value for the nation.
Annadurdyyew netted the second in a 2-1 win over Chinese Taipei in November 2017, sealing Turkmenistan’s place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and becoming their top scorer in the qualifiers.
Style of play
Annadurdyyew can play either on the left wing, as a second striker or up front. His ability to switch between roles is seamless, and his ability to play with either foot means he can perform equally as an inside forward or a traditional winger when deployed out wide.
Playing in the hole, he can be a creator with his passing and movement, while up front his ability to find spaces between the defenders gets him into positions for scoring efficiently.
What to look for
In a group with Japan, Uzbekistan and Oman, Turkmenistan may be seen as the least experienced side of the quartet. However, the side built on the image of their domestic champions, Altyn Asyr, has talent and coherence on their side
Where and when to watch him
Turkmenistan vs Japan
Venue: Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kick-off: January 9, 15:00 UTC+4
Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan
Venue: Rashid Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: January 13, 20:00 UTC+4
Turkmenistan vs Oman
Venue: Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kick-off: January 17, 17:30 UTC+4