Football Federation Australia (FFA) expect the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier against Tajikistan on Tuesday to go ahead despite armed attacks on police and government buildings in Dushanbe.
Violence erupted in Tajikistan’s capital on Friday, with reports of at least 10 people dying in gun battles throughout Dushanbe and its surrounding area.
The United States’ embassy closed in response to the incidents, while Australia’s SmartTraveller website updated its Tajikistan page, where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommend travellers “exercise a high degree of caution”.
“Armed clashes involving Tajikistan security forces resulted in a number of deaths in the vicinity of Dushanbe and Dushanbe International Airport. Tajik authorities are investigating,” SmartTraveller’s latest update read.
Ange Postecoglou’s Australia squad are due to arrive in Dushanbe on Saturday but the FFA moved to downplay concerns about their safety or whether the Socceroos’ match against Tajikistan would be played as scheduled.
“FFA’s advance party has been in Dushanbe for several days and have been liaising with the authorities in Tajikistan,” read a statement on FFA’s website.
“At this stage the situation in Dushanbe remains calm. Businesses, government services and the airport are operating as normal.
“The Socceroos will arrive in Dushanbe today and begin preparations as planned.
“FFA has been in constant contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Asian Football Confederation and FIFA. Everything is proceeding towards the match being played as scheduled on Tuesday.”
Australia will arrive in Tajikistan top of Group B in the AFC’s second round of qualifying for Russia 2018 with six points from two matches.
Tajikistan (one point) sit fourth in the five-team group after two games.