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Thursday, February 1, 2018
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Taipei: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Mohammmad Nazem Alsharie is refusing to take anything for granted as the 11-time winners prepare to open their campaign against tournament debutants Myanmar in Group C of the AFC Futsal Championship Chinese Taipei 2018 on Friday.


Alsharie’s said futsal has developed tremendously in Asia and all teams who have qualified for the AFC Futsal Championship were worthy and strong opponents.

“There is no doubt that there has been great investment into futsal in Asia, and we have seen lots of changes,” said Alsharie.

“Every year, we see each and every country getting better and better.

“We respect Myanmar, a team who have completely changed compared to years ago. They have a good team and even some prominent futsal staff who are pushing for development.”

Prior to the tournament, Iran claimed wins in their friendlies with Belarus and Azerbaijan, and Alsharie was happy with the preparation they had.

“We have prepared ourselves well for this tournament, and we are expecting some really nice games.”

Myanmar head coach Htay Myint said being grouped with Asia’s top teams was a source of motivation for his team.

“This is our first time in the tournament, we are a new team and we are playing against world class teams,” said Htay Myint.

“But we have prepared for over two months, with various friendlies overseas, so we are ready.

“I know it will be difficult to reach the knockout phase, but we will try our best.”

The group’s second match will see Iraq playing China PR.

Iraq head coach Haitham Abbas said his team’s preparation had been good, despite they losing 5-1 to Lebanon in a friendly.

“The friendly results are not important,” said the former Naft AL Wasat coach.

“What was important was for us to train on our tactics and to give our new players the experience.”

Abbas acknowledged that it would not be an easy task to reach the quarter-finals, saying: “There have been many changes in our team, and China’s team. It will definitely be a crucial match.

“Our group is a difficult one. We expect every match to be difficult, but we want to do our best in this tournament.”

Sergio Gargelli was only recently promoted to head coach and did not have much time to prepare the China PR squad.

“I have just started with this team, and it is still under construction,” said the former Thai Son Nam FC coach.

“It’s a good challenge for us, and our first game against Iraq will be a key game for us.

“I will treat the first game as our final, and be mentally prepared for it.”


February 2

Iraq v China
Kick-off: 1630hrs
Venue: University of Taipei Gymnasium

Iran v Myanmar
Kick-off: 1900hrs
Venue: University of Taipei Gymnasium