Saturday, 05 August 2017 09:34

Two Haitian players in Azerbaijan - How strong is the Azerbaijan Premier League?

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This year Donald Guerrier and Kervens Belfort have entered the football system of Azerbaijan, a country located in Western Asia but that is a member of UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). Belfort has signed a one year contract with Zira FK on 16 June while Donald Guerrier joined Qarabag FK on 6 July for 2 years. Both clubs are located in the capital city Baku.

Zira FK and Qarabag FK are both in the Azerbaijan Premier League which counts 8 clubs (Hint to the clueless FHF). Although Azerbaijan does not have a pyramid football system with promotions and relegations, this league is generally considered the top level of football in the country. The country has other football leagues. 

In the Azerbaijan Premier League, Qarabag (Donald Guerrier) is ahead of Zira (Kervens Belfort) which sits near the bottom of the table for the 2017 season. However, both clubs compete in major European championships this year. Zira FK has just recently been eliminated from the Europa League by Romanian club Astra Giurgiu in the second qualifying round. In the first round, Kervens Belfort scored once to help the club dispatch challenger Luxembourg club Differdange 4-1 on aggregate. Qarabag is well alive in the UEFA Champions League, which is the top level of European club championship. The club is scheduled to take on Copenhagen FC of Denmark in the Play-offs on 15 August. Donald Guerrier is also more successful with several goals on his score sheet.

The success of Qarabag FK is an indication of the strength of football in Azerbaijan. In fact, the country's top football level is very well ranked among the top European countries. UEFA is currently using its coefficient system of 2015 to rank league strength. However, had the confederation used the most recent ranking Azerbaijan would have been way ahead of some better known football countries. According to new ranking, Kervens' moving from Syrianska in Sweden's second division to Zira FK in the Premier League of Azerbaijan is a big leap forward. The top league of Turkey where Donald Guerrier was transferred from remains however stronger than the Azerbaijan Premier League.

Last modified on Saturday, 05 August 2017 09:40
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