Istiqlol Stadium is the home ground of Neftchi FK’s after replacing the club’s former Fargona Stadium. First opened in 2015 and capable of seating 20,000 spectators, Istiqlol is now one of the most modern stadium in Uzbekistan.
The inaugural fixture at Istiqlol Stadium was played on 3rd April 2015 between Uzbekistan and New Zealand Under 20s. Symbolically representing a new era of football, Neftchi played their first league fixture against Mash’al Mubarek two weeks later on the 18th of April.
Construction on Istiqlol began in January 2012 and took just over two years to complete, finishing towards the end of 2014. The new stadium replaced Neftchi’s former home Fargona Stadium which served the club for 80 years having first opened back in 1932.
The design of Istiqlol stadium is very much in the classic athletics mould with a running track around the perimeter of the pitch and no roof coverage save for the main grandstand.
Sentiment aside, Istiqlol hands down offers the better match day experience compared to Fargona Stadium. From a purely aesthetic point of view it’s also nicer on the eye with the blue and green plastic seating in the colours of the Uzbekistan flag giving Istiqlol Stadium a certain vibrancy.
During the period in which Neftchi FK were essentially homeless, the club ground shared Kirguli SM Stadium between 2012 and 2014, before moving into Kokand Stadium for the first few months of 2015.