Australian FA hopeful over Tajikistan game after violence in Dushanbe

SYDNEY -- Football Federation Australia said on Saturday it is hopeful that Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Tajikistan in the capital Dushanbe will go ahead despite unrest in the city over the past several days.

Armed groups led by a disaffected deputy defence minister mounted attacks on Friday in and near Dushanbe that left at least 17 dead, authorities said. It is not yet clear what lay behind the attacks.

An FFA spokesman said Saturday that an advance party from the FFA had been in Dushanbe for several days and had been liaising with the authorities in Tajikistan.

"At this stage the situation in Dushanbe remains calm,'' the spokesman said. "Businesses, government services and the airport are operating as normal.

"FFA has been in constant contact with the (Australian) department of foreign affairs and trade, Asian Football Confederation and FIFA. Everything is proceeding towards the match being played as scheduled on Tuesday.''

The Australians left for Dubai on Friday night from Perth, Western Australia state, where the Socceroos beat Bangladesh 5-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday. The team was expected to arrive in Dushanbe on Saturday.