Team Melli began its training sessions in earnest this Tuesday morning under the supervision of Carlos Queiroz at No. 2 Training Ground of Azadi Sports Complex. The practice sessions, which was mainly focused on the physical fitness was attended by all the 24 players. Ashkan Dejagah , Reza Ghoochanejad, Omid Nazari, Andranik Teymourian and Masoud Shojaei , the 5 legionnaire players have joined the camp and were after arriving from outside the country.
After the completion of the training session , In statements to the press in regards to the upcoming match next week against Korea Republic , Ali Kaffashian has said that “It is not much use for Team Melli to qualify for the World Cup while playing weak games and struggling to make the finals. We need to show our grit and play a high standard of football to makes us proud.” The Head of the Iranian football federation admitted that the team could have played much better football in the last three months and if that was achieved , they would not have been in such a precarious position right now where a win against South Korea is really vital for the Team Melli. However , Kaffashian stressed that “we should not lose hope or be despondent about what has occurred in the past and we must support Team Melli without any reservations”
He also defended the coaching staff of Team Melli and stressed that regardless to the result of the match against Korea Republic, Carlos Queiroz will remain at the helm of Iran’s national team until his contracts expires .
In a separate statement to the press, Masoud Shojaei , the Osasuna player has stressed that “We must beat both Korea Republic and Uzbekistan in order for us to have a good chance of qualifying to the World Cup.” Shojaei , who has a suffered many injuries since the Asian Cup 2011 in Qatar and has been out of football action for a whole season as result of operations, said that the conditions at the team camp is ideal and hoped that by the time they face Korea Republic in six days time, the fitness and physical conditions of all the players reaches the optimum level.
Commenting on his club status, Shojaei said that he has not played for his club, which is lingering at the bottom of the league, this season. He admitted that he lost a good friend when Javad Nekounam left Osasuna to join Esteghlal back home. Shojaei, who played against Lebanon but was not effective in the match, said that the presence of the foreign based Team Melli players gives the other players some great motivation; otherwise the standards between all the players are close. He praised the way that Nazari and Ghoochanejad have been received by the rest of the players despite the duo being new to Team Melli and living outside of Iran for almost their entire lives.
Shojaei refused to predict the result of the coming match but said “it is always going to be difficult to play against the Koreans and we really need to beat them and Uzbekistan in order to have a fair shot at qualifying to the World Cup. We must not lose any points at home from now on.”
Mohammad Nosrati , who has been added to Queiroz list after being away from Team Melli for some times, also emphasized the importance of a victory against Korea Republic and declared that it will be the catalyst for qualifying to the World Cup. He said “I believe that this match against Korea Republic is the most important match of the whole campaign. I truly hope that everyone realizes that. We are hoping for 100.000 fans supporting us in Azadi “
“The game against Korea Republic is a decider for us. If we beat them, it will go a long way in our quest for qualifying. Of course if we have beaten Qatar at home and Lebanon, we would have been at a much comfortable position now.” Nosrati added.
Asked about Ghoochanejad and Nazri , the two Europe based players , Nosrati said the he believes that there are many players who are capable in playing for Team Melli. It was the coach decision to include players with European experience in the team.