Tajikistan's first-ever qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup cannot be separated from the role of its coach, Petar Segrt. Surprisingly, the Tajikistan coach has been in charge of one of the Southeast Asian nations.
Before taking charge of Tajikistan, the Yugoslavian-born coach had a career in the Indonesian league. He spent the 2010-11 season as coach of Bali Devata, a club based on the island of Bali.
A year later, Segrt took charge of PSM Makassar for two seasons. Segrt's magic touch proved highly effective at PSM, where the club rarely contributed players to the national team at the time. However, under Segrt's guidance, PSM underwent significant changes. Several PSM players were even called up to the Indonesian national team on several occasions.
After his tenure with PSM, Segrt continued his career in the Bosnian league and became the coach of Zvijezda Gradaac. He then coached the Afghanistan national team from 2015 to 2017.
It was only on January 27, 2022 that Segrt began his new role as coach of the Tajikistan national team, bringing extensive experience and insight from various leagues to the world of Central Asian football.
This year, the majority of the players in Tajikistan's squad come from FC Istiklol. Istiklol is one of the leading clubs in the Tajikistani league. Tajikistan's soccer strength is fully supported by players who compete in their local league.
In the run-up to the Asian Cup, Tajikistan under the guidance of Petar Segrt have shown promise after winning the King's Cup 2022 in Thailand. In the final round, Tajikistan managed to defeat Malaysia, demonstrating their superior performance and creating positive momentum ahead of the major competition.