The team played their first match against another former-Soviet debutant, Turkmenistan, on June 1, 1992, as part of a Central Asian Tournament. Kazakhstan won 1–0. The tournament also saw the footballing debuts of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. After beating Libya in a friendly in North Korea on July 3, Kazakhstan played the remainder of its Central Asian fixtures and avoided defeat in all of them. They beat Uzbekistan 1–0 at home on July 16, then drew 1–1 away in Turkmenistan on September 14, in Kyrgyzstan on September 26 and Uzbekistan on October 14. The final match was a 2–0 home victory over Kyrgyzstan on October 25.
Kazakhstan entered qualification for the first time, in the attempt to reach the 1998 FIFA World Cup. In the first round they were placed in Group 9 alongside Pakistan and Iraq. Kazakhstan's first qualifying match was won 3–0 at home in Almaty on May 11, 1997, against Pakistan. On June 6 they travelled to Baghdad to face Iraq and won 2–1, then five days later won an away match against Pakistan, 7–0 in Lahore. The result in Lahore remains Kazakhstan's biggest-ever international win. They retained the 100% start to World Cup football by beating Iraq at home 3–1 on June 29.
In the second and final round of qualification, Kazakhstan came last in the group. Their only victory was on October 18, 1997, when they beat the United Arab Emirates 3–0 at home. Kazakhstan drew three other games – all at home (versus Uzbekistan, Japan and South Korea).
In the first round of Asian qualifying, Kazakhstan were placed in Group 6 alongside Iraq, Nepal and Macau. All games in the group were to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, after Nepal failed to organise matches in Kathmandu in March 2001. After an Iraqi protest, the first three games by each team were moved to Baghdad, Iraq.
Kazakhstan started off well in Baghdad by beating Nepal 6–0 with two goals by Oleg Litvinenko on April 12, and Macau 3–0 two days later. On April 16 they held Iraq to a 1–1 draw in front of 50,000. Ruslan Baltiev put the Kazakhs in front in the 6th minute and Abdul-Wahab Abu Al-Hail equalised with a penalty in the 31st.
In Almaty Central Stadium, Kazakhstan beat Nepal 3–0 with two goals by Maksim Igorevich Shevchenko on April 21. Two days later they beat Macau 5–0, Dmitriy Byakov and Igor Avdeyev scored two each after a goalless first half. The final game on April 25 saw a 1–1 draw against Iraq in front of 25,000. Litvinenko put Kazakhstan ahead in the 32nd but Iraq equalised ten minutes later. Despite being level on points, Iraq advanced on goal difference mainly due to a 9–1 victory over Nepal.
Kazakhstan joined UEFA in 2002. They had to wait until the 2002 FIFA World Cup finished on June 30 before making the switch, as they had entered the tournament as an AFC member. Kazakhstan therefore could not enter qualification for UEFA Euro 2004, as the draw had been made on January 25. The team played UEFA opposition for the first time on November 14, 2001, and drew 0–0 away to Estonia.