Interview by Masoud Hossein

Basketball star Kazemi optimistic about Iran’s future

January 14, 2022 - 15:33

TEHRAN – Iran national basketball team power forward Arsalan Kazemi is optimistic about the country’s future, since there are so many good players in the team.

Kazemi was a member of Iran basketball team in the 2020 Olympic Games, where Iran suffered three defeats against Czech Republic, the U.S. and France in Group A.

The 31-year-old player says that to participate in the Olympic Games is a big achievement regardless of the results.  

Kazemi has talked about the past, present and future of Iran basketball in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times.

Tehran Times: Let us know your opinion about the Iran’s future without the stars like Hamed Haddai and Samad Nikkhah. We are facing a change generation in our national team.

Kazemi: We have some great players in our team at the moment and I am optimistic over future. Also, I have to say Haddadi and Nikkhah are still great players. I think we are not in the position to tell them when to retire. The other countries let their stars to retire when they want to. So, it means they deserve to play as long as they want until they decide to announce their retirement.

Q: What about our poor results in 2020 Olympic Games?

A: You can’t call it failure. Olympic Games are the biggest sporting event on the planet and every team that come to the Olympic with full power and great preparation. Because of our financial situation we couldn’t have the best preparation. Japan, the host country, spent over 10 million dollars and they still weren’t able to get a better result than us. So, I think we did a great job to book a place in the Olympics. It was a big deal.

Q: Iran basketball federation changed the coaching staff soon after the Games. Did they make the right decision?

A: It’s not my job to answer. You can talk to basketball experts about the matter.

Q: Iran will meet Kazakhstan and Syria in February in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification Group D. Let us know about the matches.

A: It's going to be a tough matchup against them for us. Kazakhstan play European style basketball. Syria also added an American center who had 34 points and 14 rebounds in their first window game. So, it’s going to be very tough for us. But we play at home and it’s an advantage for us.

Q: What about your current team Zob Ahan and generally Iran basketball league?

A: So far so good. In Iran things really turn when the playoff starts so we will see but overall, I like the league this year since we have some strong sponsors and hopefully, they continue to have a team in years to come.

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