|Crown coach David Booth (left) will be in the Central Stadium sunken dug-out for the last time tonight|
All of the AFC President's Cup matches are being played at the Dushanbe Central Stadium, the theatre of dreams for Tajik football since it was built in 1956 during the Soviet-era. While league matches are routinely held in other stadiums – Aviator, Polytechnic and Spartak – the big matches are reserved for the 20,000-seater Central Stadium. Such is the landmark’s aura that even during devastating civil war from 1992 until 1997 the stadium was used for football matches, providing moments of major respite to the sports-loving populace. Some of Tajikistan’s unforgettable football victories have taken place at the Central. Fans fondly remember the 4-0 defeat of neighbours Uzbekistan in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier in 1996. It was here the popular Central Asian Games, filled with pomp and pageantry, were held in 2003. And the Tajiks will not forget the goalless draw against Bahrain in FIFA World Cup 2006 qualifying action in 2004. The Central has undergone major renovation in recent years and continues to be the main address of Tajik sports.
|The main stand and VIP area of the Central Stadium|
|The seats opposite the main stand at the Central Stadium|
|The electronic scoreboard at Central Stadium|
|Some of the Crown players in the renovated dressing rooms at Central Stadium|