Huge response as FC Barcelona arrive in Kyrgyzstan

Huge response as FC Barcelona arrive in Kyrgyzstan

President Joan Laporta leads three-day visit to the country that includes opening of a new Barça Academy and a Barça Legends fixture

FC Barcelona, led by president Joan Laporta, has arrived in Kyrgyzstan this Monday, with huge expectation in the Central Asian country for the club's first official visit. The goal is to launch the Barça Experience, which includes two Barça Academies, one Barça Café and a Barça Store, the opening of which is to be celebrated by a game between the Barça Legends and the Legends de Asia.

The delegation touched down after an 8-hour flight to Tamschy Airport in the northeast of the country, whose vice prime minister Kamchybek Tashiev was there to welcome them, along with a huge number of fans who were especially eager keen to see the arrival of the Barça Legends.

After a quick stop at the hotel, the party was taken to Cholpon-Ata Hippodrome to watch an awesome display of Kyrgyzstani horsemanship.

Laporta and the Legends, including their coach Albert Ferrer and the technical director for Barça Academies, Sergi Barjuan, then gave a press conference attended by around fifty reporters, which goes to show how much interest the visit has aroused in the country.

Laporta: 'We want to support football in this country'

Laporta opened his speech by expressing his admiration for the national president Sadyr Zhaparov, who has such a fervent interest in developing football in the country and who has been so supportive of the project.

“I share his vision" he said. "That's the main reason why we're here. We want to develop a major project for the country and its football."

Kyrgyzstan is the first country to have a Barça Experience, something the club intends to replicate in other countries, which in addition to the aforesaid Barça associated facilities will also include a Mobile Barça Exhibition.

"It is thanks to FC Barcelona that dreams come true" he continued. "And the dream we want to come true here is the development of football in this country. We want to support football here and hope Kyrgyzstan will one day get to play at a World Cup. We hope children here get to learn and practice football and not only in this country but that they also get to move to big European clubs. That is the the reason why we are here."

Legends coach Ferrer encouraged local fans to come and watch the game at Dolon Umarzakov Stadium in the country's capital city, Bishkek. "While we are here in Kyrgyzstan we hope to transmit our philosophy and desire to improve" he said. "We hope the fans enjoy us being here and the game. We hope to see the stadium packed with fans children and families this Wednesday as we take on a team of local legends."

Sergi Barjuan then spoke about the work done by the Barça Academies to teach the world how to play the Barça way.

“The goal is to introduce the Barça methodology through our coaches at each school" he explained. "We try to look after every single boy or girl, to make them better footballers and people, and to help them develop the best possible life project, both in sporting and social terms."

The day ended with a display of local folklore and dance and an official dinner.

Another busy day awaits tomorrow. In the morning the Barça representatives have an audience with the president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Zhaparov, and in the afternoon they will be attending the opening of the Barça Academy in Jalalabad, which is also the site of the new Barça Café, and which Mr Zhaparov will also be honouring with his presence. The day ends with a Barça Legends training session, where the players will be working with a group of young footballers from the country.

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