Tajikistan youngsters Safarov, Hanonov join Persepolis

December 21, 2021 - 15:14

TEHRAN - Iranian giants Persepolis confirmed the signings of Manuchehr Safarov and Vahdat Hanonov, two of Tajikistan’s brightest prospects, on Tuesday.

The duo arrived in Tehran from Tajik champions FC Istiklol in early November but couldn’t be registered in Yahya Golmohammadi’s squad until now, paving the way for them to compete in the second half of the Iran Pro League season.

The pair have joined Persepolis on three-year deals.

Both promising defenders, Safarov and Hanonov are set to become the second and third players from Tajikistan to compete in the Iranian top flight, after former international Akmal Kholmatov played for PAS Hamedan in the early 2010s, the-afc.com reported.

Having both made senior international debuts as teenagers, and won domestic silverware with Istiklol, Safarov, 20, and Hanonov, 21, burst onto the Asian scene during the Dushanbe club’s run to the 2021 AFC Champions League knockout stage.

Right wing-back Safarov won plenty of admirers for his performances in the group stage, which included two goals in Istiklol’s 4-1 upset win over eventual champions Al Hilal, while Hanonov – who can play centrally or as a wide defender – also scored against the Saudi giants in a match Istiklol lost 3-1.

Both players also played against Persepolis in the Round of 16 clash won by the Iranian champions in Dushanbe, where Golmohammadi was given the opportunity to see them first hand.

The pair have also made their mark at senior international level.

Safarov featured seven times in Tajikistan’s AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign, picking up three assists, including one against Japan, while Hanonov started three matches as a central defender.

Winners of the last five Iran Pro League titles, Persepolis sit fourth on the table after 10 matches of the 2021-22 season, although they are just three points behind current leaders Sepahan.

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