By Kat Khosrowyar

Iranian women footballers win hearts

January 22, 2022 - 20:56

TEHRAN - Just two days ago Iran did the unthinkable. They tied a team that had a near perfect schedule of friendly games leading up to the tournament, constant flow of investment, and immense support.

That is exactly what a host nation should have since all of Asia’s top teams will be traveling to compete at the highest level.

The Iran and India game showed passion, determination, and defending abilities that were last seen during the men’s Iran against Morocco in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They are a team to beat at the moment. It has been a wild road for the female footballers, but they are winning hearts and gaining momentum in this tournament. 

The India and Iran game had some of the most beautiful scenes ever witnessed by spectators. If you have not seen Zohre Koudai’s save by now, you will have it on repeat, because it was the most perfect and timely save for the team. In Farsi you can call her save as “chak zad be toop”.

Then there is youngster Ghazale Banitalebi, who only started playing football a few years ago, made a tackle in the penalty box so smooth, that it is considered world class.

Midfield line also had some daring moves like when Sana Sadeghi had to think quick given the speed of India’s counterattack. She made the timeliest tackle and was even yellow carded but saved the team from a critical situation.

Next game against China will be tough, especially as China have decades of experience playing in the Olympics, World Cup, and a constant team playing at the Asian Championships. The female players and the brilliant staff are ready to take on the Asian giants.

The key to success for this game and for this tournament are confidence, keeping composure and more importantly take advantage of the opportunities.

The coaching staff have been working around the clock to make sure the best game plan is set and that the players understand their role on the field. It will be a difficult game, but Iran shine under pressure, and I am sure the team are ready to play against China.

Good luck Team Melli!

“There’s no substitute for hard work. If you work hard and prepare yourself, you might get beat, but you’ll never lose.” – Nancy Lieberman

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