Iran’s Omid team continue the training camp ahead of Thursday’s match against Kuwait Olympic Team ( U23) in Kuwait.
in an interview with Mehr News sport correspondence Mohammad Khakpour , the head coach of Iran’s Omid team (U23) declared that his team is in a desperate need of full support in order to achieve the aspiration of the football federation and Iranian fans.
“Qualifying for the Olympics needs the cooperation of everyone involved in Iran’s football. Without the full support and with reservations and objections on our requests, I do not think we can achieve such aspiration.” Khakpour said while preparing the team in Kuwait ahead of a friendly match against its Kuwaiti counterpart.
On the status of the camp, Khakpour said “This is our last stage of preparation before the qualifying matches begins. The camp is going fine although we do suffer from the absence of several good players like Moradmand and Cheshmi due to Visa issue reasons (!!). We have also invited Azmoun and Jahanbakhash but nether of their clubs released them as they are not obliged to under FIFA rules.”
When quizzed by the reporter what is the reason for players’ Visa problem, which should be a routine procedure for any team travelling abroad, Khapour said he was not aware of the procedures and the measures taken by the responsible personnel in the FFIRI to obtain visas. “Both Cheshmi and Mordmand were in the list , but negligence of the staff resulted in their name not being sent to the Kuwait embassy. Abdollahzadeh’s name has always been in the list, and I am thankful that he eventually got the entry Visa at the last minute at the airport.”
Khakpour categorically denied that he had any meeting with Queiroz after Team Melli head coach returned back to Tehran a few days ago. “The last time I saw Queiroz was about a month and a half ago when Kashani and myself inadvertently bumped into him in the FFIRI offices. At that time he said to us that he cannot release Azmoun and Jahanbakhsh for Omid Team and also mentioned that he himself was not sure of continuing with Team Melli !” Khakpour added. “ We had no meetings with Queiroz since neither was there one arranged since then.”
Asked if his insistence of having these two players and the public commotion that he and Kashani have created would not negatively affect the other team players morale, the head coach of Omid Team defended his stand and said. “At this age level, I do not believe there is a great difference in players’ standards; the only difference is international exposure. I have not made a big deal of the issue of Azmooun and Jahanbakhsh but as the head coach, it was my duty to do whatever I can to secure their services.”