Tag: Ashgabat

Ghalenoei wants a sharper Iran


Ashgabat: Amir Ghalenoei is demanding more potency from his Islamic Republic of Iran team despite having secured a spot at the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ and reaching Round 3 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers following a 1-0 win over Turkmenistan on Tuesday.
The head coach, who steered Iran to the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™, was unhappy at the profligacy that could have been costly for Team Melli.

“Let me congratulate the Turkmenistan team for the good game they played,” said Ghalenoei. “The head coach has a very good team.
“We could have won by two or three goals, and of course, in the last minutes, there was a possibility that the game would be tied.”

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Mehdi Ghayedi’s first half stoppage time goal decided the match, as Iran found Turkmenistan harder to crack after having scored five past them last Thursday.  
The win put IR Iran on 10 points – the same as Uzbekistan – with both teams assured of a top two finish. 

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Uzbekistan made sure of their spot with a 3-0 win over Hong Kong, China whose head coach Jorn Andersen put the defeat down to the difference in individual quality though the Norwegian still found some silver linings from the performance of his players.
“We did very well in the first 15 minutes but then Uzbekistan increased the pressure and created many chances, proving that they are at a high level,” said Andersen. “Although we lost 3-0, I wouldn’t call it a bad result. The level of several strong players in the ranks of our opponent was the reason for the outcome of the match.
“True, I was not completely satisfied with the result. We conceded very simple goals. But I can say that the guys tried their best. I thank them for that.”

Turkmenistan vs Iran: Match review

Team Melli is gearing up for their next match in Ashgabat as part of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers against Turkmenistan, following their impressive 5-0 victory at Azadi Stadium.

Analyzing Turkmenistan’s Performance

Despite facing a formidable opponent in Team Melli, Turkmenistan’s performance in the last match was below expectations. While they displayed some moments of skill, especially showcased by goalkeeper Rustem Ahallyýew’s outstanding saves, their defense struggled to contain Iran’s attacks. The midfield showed promise in ball distribution, but the forwards encountered difficulties breaking through Iran’s solid defense, led by goalkeeper Beiranvand.

Team Melli’s Strategy and Player Adjustments

In preparation for the upcoming match, Team Melli is making strategic adjustments. The inclusion of young talent like 20-year-old Amin Hezbavi in the defense indicates a shift in the lineup under Ghalenoei’s direction. However, injuries and visa issues have sidelined key players like Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Torabi, Mehdi Limouchi, and Arsha Shakouri, and the absence of Sardar Azmoun due to injury is a significant setback.

Critique of Previous Tactics

While Team Melli secured a convincing win in the last match, some critics highlighted an overreliance on direct football tactics, which may not fully utilize the players’ strengths. Long cross-field passes and route one football require quick forwards with sharp awareness attributes not entirely aligned with Iran’s current lineup. Turkmenistan’s coaches are likely to study these tactics and prepare accordingly for the upcoming match.

Turkmenistan’s Struggles and Team Melli’s Expectations

Turkmenistan’s winless in their last 11 matches adds pressure to their performance despite the home-field advantage, while Team Melli is oozing confidence as it stands as a formidable force in Asian football. Despite challenges, expectations lean towards another comfortable victory for Iran in the upcoming match on March 26th.

In conclusion, Team Melli’s strategic adjustments, coupled with Turkmenistan’s struggles, set the stage for an intriguing clash in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers.

AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 draw.

Ashgabat: The path to Asian futsal glory has become clearer for the Continent’s top 16 teams after the AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 official draw was conducted at Ashgabat’s Olympia Hotel on Friday.

The ceremony separated the 16 qualified teams into four groups ahead of next year’s competition, where the best in Asian futsal will compete for the title of Continental champions.

Host nation Turkmenistan will begin the competition with what is sure to be a hotly anticipated clash against tournament debutants Oman on February 26, before rounding their Group A commitments with matches against Tajikistan and Vietnam. The final will be played on March 8.

The defending champions Iran were drawn in Group D alongside Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia and Southeast Asian champions Thailand.

Newly crowned AFC Futsal Player of the Year Tomoki Yoshikawa will lead Japan in an intriguing Group B, which also includes Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic and Kuwait, while four-time runners-up Uzbekistan will begin their campaign against Indonesia after both sides were drawn in Group C, which also contains Bahrain and China PR.

The AFC Futsal Championship is Asia’s flagship international futsal competition, also serving as the final stage of FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying, with the top five sides in Turkmenistan to represent the Continent at Lithuania 2020.

With 12 titles in the 15 previous editions of the competition, Iran is the most successful side in AFC Futsal Championship history, with three-time champions Japan the only other nation to have lifted the trophy.

The Futsal Team Melli will have to battle it out with Thailand for the lead in the group. Winners and runners up will then meet the Group C two top teams in the quarter-finals.


Match Schedule

27th February 2020 Iran Saudi Arabia Main Indoor Arena, Ashgabat.
29th February 2020 Korea Rep. Iran Main Indoor Arena, Ashgabat.
02nd March 2020 Iran Thailand Martial Arts Arena, Ashgabat.

Group A: Turkmenistan (host), Vietnam, Tajikistan, Oman

Group B: Japan, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait

Group C: Uzbekistan, Bahrain, China .Indonesia

Group D: Iran, Thailand, Korea Rep. , Saudi Arabia

More players drop out for the Turkmenistan match.

Team Melli’s Captain Andranik Teymourian is the latest player to drop out of the team as he left the camp to fly to Doha where he is supposed to get his Visa to Guam from the American embassy.


Earlier on , Pejman Montazeri , pulled out of the squad due to an injury sustained in training. In total,  5 key players will be missing from the match in Azadi as Queiroz has to reshuffle the whole defense with the absence of Hosseini, Montazeri and Ghafouri.



Both the coaches conducted their Pre-match conference today in Tehran, The Turkman coach Amangylych Koçumov emphasized that his team is here to win a match that ios crucial for them. “:Iran is a strong team and top team of Asia, there is no denying that fact. However, we are not here just to show up for the match but get all the 3 points. We have played each other before and both teams are familiar with each other. ”

On the status of his team readiness, Koçumov confirmed that he has no injury worries and he is in Tehran with the full squad. Turkmenistan landed in Tehran yesterday via Istanbul more than doubling the actual distance between Tehran and Ashgabat!

Meanwhile, Carlos Queiroz brought  all the four goalkeeper to his press conference!, one of the first questions was what is the message in this unusual gesture, to which Queiroz responded that this is the future of Team Melli!  Most reporters have connected this show of force as a defiance message from the Portuguese coach against all the experts who demanded that he calls the most prepared and best goalkeeper in Iran, Mehdi Rahmati. Queiroz has not hid his contempt for Rahmati and took a swipe at him only a few days ago after the brilliant display by Esteghlal Keeper in the derby. Today Queiroz said that he cannot say everything and if he does open his mouth , he will be sacked.

Queiroz is never far from controversies , fiery attitude and the will to confront everyone not to his liking.



 The attendances for Team Melli matches have been steadily in decline with no real studies conducted to find where improvements can be made. FFIRI urged Team Melli fans to flock to the Azadi stadium to support their team by allowing free admission to the stadium. However, the timing of the match , is far too early for many as it will be either during some working hours or not allowing many fans enough time to get to the stadium from work/ home to. The free entrance might encourage fans to make an effort. Less than 20,000 fans turned up to watch Team Melli’s only home game in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guam on 3rd September.  The friendly international against Japan, a top team in Asia with many household international players, did even worst with less than 15,000 turning up. 

A solid performance and result by Team Melli , will certainly help to attract more fans.

FFIRI complains to AFC about Turkmenistan venue change.

Ali Kaffashian has confirmed that his administration has lodged a written complaint with the AFC in regards to the venue change of the upcoming match between Turkmenistan and Iran.

The host Turkmenistan, Iran’s neighbor to the north, has moved the venue form the capital city Ashgabat to the third largest city  Daşoguz ,  600 miles north of the capital. This city is right on the boarder of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and farthest away from Iranian boarders.

The move is a ploy by the Turkmen in order to discourage Iranian fans from Khorasan and Golestan from travelling to attend the match and support Team Melli. The two teams will be meeting on 16th June in Group ‘D’ of the Asian Zone Qualifications round of the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Kaffashian said “We have told AFC that we cannot play at that venue and it has to be changed.” The president of FFIRI did not give any specific reasons for the request nor did he indicate if the AFC has responded to Iran’s request.

Meanwhile, the friendly match against Japan is still on according to Kaffashian. “We will play this game either in Oman or here in Tehran. We shall finalize that in due time.”

Commenting on Team Melli’s training camp in Turkey, Kaffashian said it is 50-50. “We have to wait and see on that although our preference is to conduct that camp for the benefit of the team. In any case, there are no friendly matches arranged in Turkey.”

Kaffashian was speaking to reporters before his departure to Zurich to attend FIFA 61st General Assembly Congress.


Uzbekistan friendly is canceled.

The proposed match between Uzbekistan and Iran has been canceled as the Uzbeks refused to travel to Turkey for the match. The initial verbal agreement was for the match to be played in Tashkent.

Kaffashian has suggested the match to be played in Turkey saving his squad time and money, however Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF) declined the offer and the match is indefinitely postponed.

Instead of the friendly match , Team Melli will set up a 6 days training camp before the first match against Turkmenistan in the opening of the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers. Carlos Queiroz will be lead the team in Ashgabat for the opener.