Ex-Iran basketball player Oshin Sahakian breaks silence after one year

June 30, 2019

TEHRAN – Ex-Iran basketball team power forward Oshin Sahakian has broken his silence one year after he hung up his boots.

After more than a decade of service to the Iran national team, Sahakian retired from Team Melli in early July last year.

Sahakian was a mainstay of Team Melli since first playing for Iran at the FIBA Asia Cup 2007.

With Sahakian as one of the team's frontliners, Iran won three FIBA Asia Cups (2007, 2009, 2013) and three FIBA Asia Challenges (2012, 2014, 2016). He was also a member of the All-Star-Five in 2013, averaging around 8 points and 7 rebounds per game.

Sahakian also saw action in two FIBA Basketball World Cups (2010, 2014) and one edition of the Olympics (2012).

Now, the 6ft 7in (2.00m) forward has revealed that he was forced to retire from the national duty for deep-rooted problems with Iran coach Mehran Shahintab.

“I was forced to leave Team Melli because Shahintab didn’t respect me as a player who had worked for his country for many years. No one should be treated the way I was treated in the team. They made situation so bad in my team and compelled me to leave the team,” Sahakian said.

“I was under pressure in the last two years because they wanted to bring me down. They caused controversy and interfered in my personal life. I don’t know why they did that,” he pointed out.

“Shahintab was always blaming me and treated me in a way that I felt completely lacking in self-confidence. Any coach had never treated me like he did. I don’t know what was the reason behind his behavior,” Sahakian added.

“The best player in the world will lose his abilities if he sits on the bench for a long time. I had no place in the national team and I don’t know why, because I was always prepared and ready. I decided to stop playing for Team Melli. I remember in a match we were 35 points ahead of our rivals but Shahintab didn’t send me to the field and I found out that he was intentionally substituting me,” Sahakian said.

“Since then, I hate watching basketball and even don’t touch the ball. I worry about the future of Iran’s basketball,” he concluded.  

Reporting by Masoud Hossein

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