Tag: Reza Shekari

Far too many gaps in Estili’s game plan.

There were no surprises in the performance of Omid Team under Hamid Estili against Uzbekistan yesterday.  Even with such a statement, many fans were hoping that the famous players with household names in Omid Team will make a big impact and cover at least part of the team’s weaknesses and gaps.

Players like Omid Noorafkan, Allahyar Sayyadmanish, Mohammad Mohebi are already full internationals who have played and scored for Team Melli while the likes of Mahdi Ghaedi and Reza Shekari are considered valuable players with considerable ability to improve. The former has already registered 8 goals in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

However, except for Omid Noorafkan who is being utilized in defense hence depriving the team of his wonderful vision and Pirlo-like passing, the rest of them were disappointing. Ghaedi huffed and puffed like always but his delivery and final touch remains suspect when his team really requires every effort.

The feeblest performance of the so-called stars was Shekari and Sayyadmanish up in the forward line. Not coordination, no proper communication, little or no significant passing, no awareness of each other position and individualist showmanship that was a big waste for Omid Team.

A smart seasoned coach would have immediately figured out that this combination upfront is not working and would have acted accordingly, but Estili for reasons beyond comprehension failed to notice that.

The Midfield lacked a strong leader such as Noorafkan, who was in the central defensive position. Mohebi was quite disappointing against the Uzbeks despite having a very good season with his team. He missed an open goal and a chance for his team to take the lead.

Omid team never looked like a coherent team with a strategy. Against Korea, we expect the same old tactics, or lack of it, and emphasis on individual performance rather than teamwork. Not that a victory is not possible, but with a year of disappointing performances by Omid Team, it is highly unlikely that Hamid Estili will find a magic wand to fix the things against the powerful and organized Koreans.

Realistically and no matter how high our hopes and expectations are, the chances of a tactically deficient Omid Team qualifying to the next round are on the balance. A win or even a draw against the Koreans will still keep the hopes alive. A defeat will almost mean the end of the road and those abundant and unceasing promises that this team is good enough to make it to Tokyo after 44 years of absence.

Omid Team Draws Uzbekistan 1-1

Omid Team managed to escape with a draw 1-1 in the opening match of Group C of the AFC U23 Championship 2020. The Iranian players wore black armbands in the memory of General Ghassim Soleimani who was assassinated by the Americans in Iraq a few days back.

The first half ended 1-0 to Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan’s goal came from a soft penalty in the 40th minute. Earlier, Ali Shojaei missed a glorious chance to put Iran ahead. Only a few meters away and the goal gaping wide, Shojaei miskicked the ball horribly wrong out of bound!.

In the second half, Iran scored the equalizer in the 58th minute through an individual effort by Reza Dehghani who forced his way into the box getting a lucky rebound ball off the Uzbek defender to slot home.

After the equalizing goal for Omid Team, it was the turn of Mohammed Mohebi to squander a golden chance over the bar!

While winning one point is quite precious in a group that is so tight and the competition so fierce, Omid’s team performance was hardly assuring especially in the middle of the field and upfront.

Despite having Allhayar Sayyadimanish and Reza Shekari, the duo hardly passed to each other as both focus on the selfish individuals; attempts, both shooting from any angle while passing to a teammate was a better option. In fact, passing was a problem for the Omid Team, not only suffering from lack of them and but also the accuracy of those passes. Omid team pass accuracy was 67% while Uzbekistan’s was a highly respectable 87%.!!

Teamwork was found wanting and all the experiences of Mohebi, Shekari, and Sayyadmanish were not enough to have a positive impact upfront.

The team lacked strategy and played seemed to depend on individual skills to penetrate the opponent’s defense. Everyone seemed to want to dribble the ball from anywhere.

In the 2nd half, Hamid Estili replaced Ali Shojaei with Mehdi Ghaedi whose impact was immediate. However, the Esteghlal player is notorious for his over dribbling in addition to play-acting which limits his value for the team.

Uzbekistan was a much more organized team playing modern football. They had several chances to add to their goal but could not finish. Despite having 64% of the ball possession, the Uzbek team could not seriously threaten Omid’s goal.

In the second match of the Group, South Korea defeated China 1-0 to lead the group


Group C

Korea Republic
Korea Republic 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Islamic Republic of Iran
Iran 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
Uzbekistan 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
China PR
China PR 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0

Omid team ties Qatar with Gentleman Estili’s generosity!

In a friendly match held in Doha, Iran’s Omid Team (U23) tied with Qatar U23  2-2 today. The match played on Saturday evening at Al Arabi’s Hamad AlKabir Stadium behind closed doors.

Omid team led the first half 2-0 with goals scored by Reza Shekari from a penalty kick, and Mehdi Ghaedi.

Hamid Estili’s had the upper hand on Félix Sánchez Bas, the Spanish coach of Qatar and the Asian Cup Champions in the first half. Both teams are preparing for the upcoming AFC U23 Championship in Thailand, which is also the qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 football tournament.

In the first half, Qatar player Mohammed Emad Aiash was sent off in the 35th minute for violent conduct, however, Hamid Estili suggested to his Qatari counterpart Felix Sanchez to replace the sent off player with another one. Qatar team obliged as they sent in Ahmed Suhail to replace the sent off player.

It was the sportsmanship act by Estili and a clever one too as he needed to see his team play against the strongest opposition possible regardless of the result.

The ensuing Free kick from the sending off was a beautifully executed goal by Mehdi Ghaedi.

The first half ended 2-0 for Iran’s Omid team.

At the beginning of the second half, the Qatari’s again lost another player Yusuf Abdulrazzaq with a red card. And again, Estili became the true gentleman and invited Sanchez to send a replacement! This time Qatar sent Amro AbduFattah to the field.

It is the first time in history at this level of football that one team is given two red cards, yet continue playing to the end with 11 players. Simply unheard of.

Abdul Rashid Ebrahim reduced the deficit on the 83rd minute for Qatar. The same player scored the equalizer in the dying seconds of the match om minute 96.  As customary with Iranian teams, there is always a lapse of concentration leading to conceding a goal.

In support of Hamid Estili’s demand for the league to be postponed, the FFIRI partially postponed some of the matches to enable the Omid team to set up a training camp in Doha and play this friendly match.

Teams Line up

Iran U23

Merag Esmaeili: Aref Aghasi, Mojtaba Najarian, Matin Karimzadeh, Reza Dehghani [76′ Sina Zamehran], MohammedMedi Mehdikhani, Mohammad Mohebi [66′ Mohammad Khodabandelo], Ali Shojaei [70′ Amir Roustaei], Omid Noorafkan, Mehdi Ghedi [70′ Reza Jabeira], Reza Shekari [66′ Jafar Salmani]

Coach : Hamid Estili

Qater U23

Mohammed AlBakri: Abdullah Ali Saei, Tarek Salman, Mohammad AlBayati, Yusuf Abdurazzaq , Abdulla Abdulslam, Khalifa Saad, Mohammed Emad Aiash , Hashim Ali, Abdulrahman Mohammed, Homam Elamain Ahmed.

Coach : Felix Sanchez Baz

Omid Team training is at full throttle.

Omid team is actively preparing for the crucial AFC U23 Championship 2020  by conducting constant practice sessions under the direction of Hamid Estili.

Today’s (Sunday) session which started at 9:30, Hamid Estili briefed the players on the objectives and details of today’s practice session. Then Mohammad Sharifi, Sina Zamiran and Mohammed Mohebbi left the group to conduct the fitness tests which all other players went undertook.

The training of the rest of the squad started with all members of the technical staff supervising the proceedings and giving the required tactical and technical advice.

This session which was carried out in the National Football Training Center included a light physical program. The next practice is scheduled for tonight at 9 pm.

Meanwhile, Omid Noorafkan and Mohammad Mohebbi (Sepahan) Reza Shekari and Mohammad Reza Azadi (Tractorsazi) Aref Aghasi and Mojtaba Najarian (Foolad Khuzestan) Ali Shojaei and Reza Dehghani (Nasiji Mazandaran) Ali Shahsavari and Mohammad KhodabandehLo (Peykan) and Sina Zamehran (Shar Khodro ) have joined the squad after their respective teams released them to Omid team.

Mohammad Mehdi Khani who plays for the Croatian side  NK Varaždin will also join the Omid (Olympic) squad on Monday.

“The initial list of Olympic team players, including 50 players, according to the AFC’s regulations. ” Hamid Estili said on the eve of the training camp’s inauguration. “After shortlisting the number to 30, the squad departs to  Qatar, where we will have an 8-day training camp and two friendly matches in Doha.”

“After returning to Tehran, we will announce the list of the final 23 players which form the Omid Team that will be competing in the AFC Asian Championship also the Olympic qualifiers scheduled to be held in Thailand. In some of the posts, we are still looking for the final option, such as the right-back, which was vacated due to the injury to  Aghajanpour and we are reviewing the names of 1 or 2 options to decide the final squad,” Estili added.

The coach of the Omid team once again called on the clubs to cooperate and assist with the team by saying: “Our plan during these 18 months of engagement was comprehensive. We tried to invite players for training or matches in FIFA days. We were aware of their special circumstances and situation, but at this juncture we expect the clubs to understand our situation too. Invited players will return to the clubs before the 16th week but after the end of the week it is necessary for the clubs to abandon their squads and allow our training to start. There are legal measures we can refer to, of course, but there should not be such issues among colleagues, and we need to all work in a friendly manner. I am sure my good colleagues at the clubs are on the side of the Omid team, preferring the national interest to everything else and helping us at this point.”

Omid Team initial list for Indonesia Friendly announced

The head coach of the Omid Team announced the initial list of 17 players on list invited to the training camp starting on 6th November. According to the official website of the Iranian Football Federation, the head coach of the Olympic team, Hamid Estili, the invitees are required to attend the camp of the Iranian Olympic team in Olympic Academy Hotel.

The next list of invited players will be announced at the end of this week’s Persian Gulf Premier League. The names of the players invited in the first group are as follows:


Ali KiKhosravi, Omid Noorafkan and Mohammad Mohebbi (Sepahan Esfahan)

Aref Gholami, Mehdi Ghaedi and Hossein PourHamidi (Esteghlal Tehran)

Reza Jabeira and Jafar Salmani (Naft Abadan)

Reza Shekari and Mohammad Azadi (Tractorsazi Tabriz)

Aref Aghasi (Foolad Khuzestan)

Amir Roustaei (Persepolis)

Sina Shah Abbasi (Damash Gilan)

Amir Shabani (Fajr Shahid Sepasi)

Mohammad Papi (Gol Reyhan Alborz)

Alireza Arta (Mes Kerman) 

Mohammad Kazemi (Zob Ahan).

The camp of the Iranian Olympic football team is set in preparations for two friendly games against Indonesia. The squad will leave Tehran for Jakarta on November 10th.

Iran Omid 3-0 Yemen

Iran U-23 National Team (Omid) defeated Yemen 3-0 on Sunday in Azadi Stadium to maintain its challenge for qualification to the final rounds of the AFC Asian U23 Championship Thailand 2020 and the Tokyo Olympic Games men football competition.

All the three goals were scored in the second half and all were from Headers. Reza Shekari headed the first goal from a corner, Reza Jabeireh added the second from a rebound also with a header, while the pick of the lot was Mehdikhani’s incredible back header from a free kick.

All of Iran’s 6 goals scored so far have been from set play as no goals were scored in the two matches from love play. This is very worrying trend as it seemed from the beginning of the match that Iran’s Omid team is offensively ineffective and depend on the old school of crosses from the wings to forwards in the box for scoring.  Yemen, gallantly put up a good fight and could have scored from the few chances they had.

This match was a continuation from the same old shortfalls of the match against Turkmenistan. Poor team work . old style and basic football, lack of penetration from the middle , general lack of positional awareness, and disconnect of midfield players with forwards marred today’s performance against Yemen.

The match against the powerful Iraqi teams will be decider for Iran. Anything short of a win, will risk the Team elimination from the competition and a loss of another opportunity to make the Olympics, a 39 years wait for Iran. Despite two wins in a row, the goal difference for the second position is not very healthy for Iran as other teams in the Asian groups have some sizable advantage.  So, Iran really needs to win against Iraq to be assured of a place in the finals.

Omid Team 

Meraj Esmaeili, Omid Noorafkan, Alireza Arta, Abolfazl Jalali, Mohammad Aghajanpour, Abolfazl Razzaghpour, Mohammad Khodabandehloo, Mehdi Mehdikhani, Mehdi Ghaedi, Reza Jabeireh , Mohammad Reza Azadi

Substitution 2ND HALF

Rwza Shakari & Hossein Saki (46 min)


Reza Shekari (55)

Reza Jabeireh (66)

Mehdi Mehdikhani (75)

Omid Team to start the long road to Olympics in earnest.

Iran will kickstart their 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers campaign from 22nd March in Tehran. The team, known as Omid Team, is under the guidance of the seasoned Croat coach Zlatko Krancjar and will lock horns against Turkmenistan in their first match before crossing swords against Yemen two days later and finally, their strongest rival, Iraq on 26th March.

Omid team held has held a series of training sessions and camps including playing friendly games against Syria and Jordan prior to the competition. Omid Team also played in a competition in Qatar where three U-23 teams took part. Iran won the title of that round ribbon tournament.

Tehran is hosting Group C of 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers

 In preparation for the matches starting tomorrow, a post-match conference was held at the National Iranian National Football Center’s conference hall where all the coaches expressed optimism for their team’s chances while Iraqi and Yemeni coach criticized the AFC plans for the Olympic Games qualifiers.

At the beginning of the press conference, Turkmen coach Bayram Dordayiev said: “I know Iran’s football quite well, since I worked in Iran for several years. Iran’s football has a a colorful history and has produced players such as Ali Daei, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Ali Parvin in its history. Football is strong and powerful in this country. Iran is strong in the Olympics age group and has a youth team that plays well in defense and attack. We have a tough group. Iran and Iraq are powerful teams and we have information about them. Ultimately, the result of any match cannot be predicted but only the playing field will dictate the victorious and superior team.”

Iran’s coach, Zlatko Krancjar, said: “First of all, I wish to congratulate everyone on the occasion of the Persian New Year and welcome my colleagues from Turkmenistan, Yemen and Iraq to Iran. Apart from Iraq, we do not know adequate knowledge about the other two teams, we only know the Iraqi team and played two games and hopefully in the coming days we will be able to get the necessary knowledge of the other competitors.”

About the final list of 23 players in the squad, Head coach or Iran U23 team, Krancjar said  “We should announce the list beforehand. We set up this list, and the promise is that it can deliver our objectives. Some clubs did not cooperate with the team by holding their players.  Apart from the damage that was done because of that, there is no particular problem in the team. We were looking at the legionnaires, but the domestic players were better and more prepared”

Referring to the use of players outside the Iranian league, he said ” We have Reza Shekari from Russia but  we do not have Younis Delphi due to injury.”

Iraqi coach Abdul Ghani Shahid said: “We have great hopes to qualify. We succeeded in qualifying to the Rio Olympics in the last competition and hope we can repeat it again. Many think that Iraq and Iran will qualify from this group, but I believe the standards are too close to call. Asian Football Confederation has made a strange plan for the tournament. The AFC, which always pays particular attention to the quality of the players and the quality of the tournament, holds tournaments in tandem, and this affects the quality of the work. We did not use adult players in the tournament because they were engaged in the AFC Asian Cup with the senior team and subsequently entered this competition without them by using younger players.”

Yemeni coach Sammy Na’ash also spoke at the press conference “We are in a tough and strong group. The two teams from Iraq and Iran have a special lead in this group. The AFC’s planning for this tournament is not desirable, and competitions are held with the least rest for the players. We started the preparation program very late and we encountered a lot of problems, but we are doing our best to produce a good and decent performance.”

AFC U-23 Qualifiers : KYRGYZ REPUBLIC 1-2 IRAN

Bishkek: The Islamic Republic of Iran emerged as the early leaders of Group A in the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers thanks to a 2-1 win over hosts Kyrgyz Republic on Wednesday.

With Ali Gholizadeh pulling the strings early on, Iran looked the more dangerous, however it was to be Kyrgyz Republic who were to take the lead, Roman Levchenko firing home on 11 minutes much to the delight of the home support.

Iran were not to be outdone though, and they hit back just three minutes later courtesy of Reza Shekari’s neat finish.

The Iranian’s continued to press and were duly rewarded when Gholizadeh put his side ahead in the 42nd minute, before disaster struck for the hosts moments before the break when Askarbek Saliev was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card.

With chances few and far between in the second period, Iran maintained their composure to secure a vital opening win and go top of a three-team which also includes Oman.

Iran head coach Amir Hossein Peiravani
“The first match is always the hardest. I would like to thank my team. They all did their very best get the positive result. During the first half, we scored twice and then concentrated on maintaining our advantage after the break. Also, my respect for the national team of the Kyrgyz Republic. The national team of Kyrgyz Republic is a good team with a good coach. I hope that in the future we will hear a lot of good news about Kyrgyz football. “

Kyrgyz Republic head coach Valeri Berezovskii
“As expected, the guys slightly burned out and could not handle the pressure. All our plans were scrapped at the end of the first half. The lack of international experience affected the result of the game. Nevertheless, we showed incredible commitment. Now we will forget the result of this match and prepare for the game with Oman. We know that we are in a very difficult situation, but we will fight to the end.”

Team Melli U 23 Squad

[wpcm_players limit=”0″ season=”1536″ team=”738″ orderby=”name” linktext=”View all players” stats=”name,position,age,dob” title=”Team Melli U23 Players”]

Iran U-20 loses in the last minutes and knocked.

While a win was very much in the hands of the Team Melli U-20 in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 final group C match against Portugal, a loosing mentality and a lack of self belief and confidence allowed the Portuguese to win the match and knock Iran out of the championship.

A brilliant header by Iran’s Reza Shekari from a corner kick put Iran in the lead as early as the fourth minutes. After the goal , Iran parked the bus and hoped that the Portuguese , who were quite pathetic in the first half , will not score.

Defending well without having any ambitions to score another goal finally resulted in what Iran wanted and that one goal lead at half time.

The second half, Portugal team must had a real grilling from the coach as the same players who were performing inadequately suddenly turned into winners. Not only Portugal had most of the possession, they created all the scoring chances as well. Iran was content with defending and sending long aimless balls just to clear their 18 yards. It was a sorry display of football by Iran which has a talented team that could have easily qualified for the next round but for the mentality of one amateur coach who has added yet another failure to his CV.

Portugal scored the equalizer after a poor clearance by Shehab Adeli , the replacement keeper, and a poor marking by Omid Noorafkan but frankly it was only a matter of time before the winner goal would be scored by the former champions and that goal unfortunately for Iran came in the form of a friendly fire. A harmless shot from the Portuguese player on the right of the keeper was deflected into Shehab Adeli’s goal late in the match to make it 2-1 for Portugal.

Ironically , after that goal , Iran U-20 team played it best football and in true offensive style, creating more chances in a 7 minutes remaining of  the match (regular and added  4 minutes time) than the whole of the match. The Fans have the right to ask , why this capable team with so much talent was not directed to play in this style  earlier,  instead of sending hail Mary balls or play acting , grass rolling to waste time. The Iran U-21 could have scored another goal and then controlled the match but that was perhaps not in the coach’s gameplan.

Getting the best out of a talented pool of young players , require professional and high quality coaching. Peyrovani , is not in that class. He is a “B” or “C: coach without any pedigree and it was quite evident in South Korea that he just does not have it in him to lead an Iranian team at the world stage.

One of the best teams in Iranian age group departed the Championship at group stage, yet again.

Iran U-20 lose to Zambia after leading 2-0

  • Zambia into next round after thrilling comeback
  • Reza Shakari double had Iran in front before four unanswered goals
  • Fahion Sakala, Enock Mwepu, Emmanuel Banda and Patson Daka all score

A breath-taking revival by Zambia saw them move into the next round of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, coming from two down to beat Iran 4-2.

Zambia had shown defensive frailties early on and the theme continued as Mangani Banda’s miscued clearance fell straight to Reza Shekari who, after a neat stepover, slotted Iran in front.

The African champions slowly grew in confidence, culminating in Fashion Sakala rattling the post with a fine header on the stroke of half-time. That progress looked to have gone up in smoke when a rash challenge on Omid Norafkan gifted Shekari another goal, this time from the penalty spot.

However, the tide began to turn six minutes later. A hoofed ball by Solomon Sakala found namesake Fashion who cut inside and volleyed low to half the deficit, then drew level with one of the goals of the tournament so far. A lovely flowing move down the right resulted in Emmanuel Banda’s flick being slotted home by Enock Mwepu.

With momentum flowing fiercely for those in green, Banda put them ahead following a goalmouth scramble before Patson Daka gave the win some gloss as he picked out the bottom corner from 20 yards.

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