Tabriz: Islamic Republic of Iran are entering the 2019 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship as hosts and defending champions but for head coach Hamid Moghadam, that won't be an advantage.
When IR Iran lifted the inaugural AFC U-20 Championship title 2017, Moghadam was assistant to Ali Sanei, but the head coach says much has improved in Asian futsal since IR Iran’s 2017 triumph and he believes his team face a huge challenge.
Tabriz: The presence of Thailand, Lebanon and Kyrgyz Republic ensures Group B of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 will produce high quality action which all three head coaches say can only benefit their young players.
Thailand, as hosts of the inaugural edition, finished third with players like Muhammad Osamanmusa and Ronnachai Jungwongsuk going on to make a name for themselves with the national senior squad.
Preview - Group D: Iraq determined to go one better
Tabriz: No other head coach showed more determination than Iraq’s Ali Talib Muhammed, who was oozing with confidence during the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 Pre-Match Press Conference on Thursday.
Talib Muhammad was noticeably upset two years ago after their 2-0 loss to Islamic Republic of Iran in the final, but that bitter memory has only galvanised him and his squad to return to the tournament with their eyes on the prize.
“We are not under any pressure,” Talib Muhammad proclaimed. “My players are experienced in the Iraq Futsal League, which is of a high level.
“We are here to be the champions this time, and I don’t think we will have any problems in reaching it.”
AFC U-20 Futsal Championship set for exciting openers
Kuala Lumpur: The focus of Asian futsal will be on hosts Islamic Republic of Iran as they kick off their title defence against Hong Kong in Group A of the 2019 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship at the Pour Sharifi Indoor Stadium, Tabriz on Friday at 7:30pm (local time).
Standing in their way are 11 of the most promising sides on the Continent, who will compete for the trophy from June 14 to 22 having sealed their final spots after a tough qualifying campaign that showcased the development of Asian futsal.
Kuala Lumpur: 2019 hosts and title holders of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship Islamic Republic of Iran will face Afghanistan and Hong Kong in Group A, following the official draw ceremony that took place at the AFC House on Thursday.
The Group A tie will be a rematch between the two Central Asian sides, having met previously in the Central Zone Qualifiers last December with Iran emerging as 4-2 victors. They are also joined by Hong Kong, who will be making their first-ever appearance in the tournament.
Thailand, hosts of the inaugural edition and third place finishers two years ago, will be joined by 2017 quarter-finalists Lebanon and Kyrgyz Republic in Group B.