FC Kairat Almaty and Kazakhstan captain Samat Smakov has been named as his country's Player of the Year.
FC Kairat Almaty and Kazakhstan captain Samat Smakov has been named as his country's Player of the Year for 2004.
The poll, conducted by Goal! magazine, saw the 26-year-old midfield player collect 387 points to beat off competition from FC Moskva defender Ruslan Baltiev (301 points). Smakov led Kairat to a surprising Kazakh league title in 2004 as well as captaining the national team as they began their first FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign as a UEFA member nation.
Over 300 football writers, players, coaches and former footballers were polled by Goal! with Smakov emerging as 95 voters' first-choice, with 36 more giving him second place and a further 30 third position. A second Kairat player, Andrei Karpovich, finished third with 159 points.