Iran basketball have big motivation against Syria: Mohammad Jamshidi

February 16, 2022 - 15:32

TEHRAN – Iran basketball team small forward Mohammad Jamshidi says that they are ready to play Syria at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.

It was the upset heard around Asia when Syria pulled off a 77-70 win over Iran at the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers. The game is already more than a year old already, but it still feels fresh, mainly because of how unexpected the result was.

Shocking as it was, life goes on. The qualities that define how strong a team are is by how they conduct themselves following a defeat of such magnitude.

And Iran certainly bounced back.

In the next four games in Asia, Iran won by an average margin of 24.0 points per game.

“That [loss to Syria] was a big shock,” Iran's star forward Mohamad Jamshidi told “But it's basketball and it helped us to improve and make us fully focused in every game we play, doesn't matter who we play.”

For Iran basketball fans, however, it might matter a little bit about who the team plays in the upcoming second window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers. On February 27, Iran are scheduled to host Syria in a rematch, facing each other for the first time since the upset.

Jamshidi, who scored 13 points and passed out 8 assists in the last encounter, can't help but admit that there's a little bit of extra motivation heading into that game.

“We have big motivation to play against them,” said the 30-year-old forward. “They are good and respectable team, but we will come out to play hard and defend the name of Iran.”

They can't be focused solely on that game against Syria either, as they are also scheduled to play against Kazakhstan on February 23 as well. Kazakhstan finished the first window of the Asian Qualifiers without a loss, winning both the home and away game against Syria.

“Kazakhstan are a tough team,” said the 1.85m (6'1") sharpshooter. “They play physical basketball and it's a hard game every time we face them.”

Nonetheless, Iran are in a good rhythm at the moment. They currently sit at first place in Group D following two straight wins against Bahrain. This window might be a little bit tougher, going up against two teams with World Cup Qualifiers experience, which is why are deep in preparation heading into these two games.

“We have had almost [a month] of hard practice and our confidence comes from that,” said Jamshidi. “We believe in our team and we know we can do big things when we want.”

Iran's strength, as usual, stems from their core of players with vast experience playing at a high level. There are plenty of names that Asia basketball fans are familiar with whether it is Jamshidi himself or even legends like Mahdi Kamrani in the 24-player preliminary roster.

“We have experienced players and we've played together for so long and we know each other. This is our advantage.”

Even with that advantage, Jamshidi emphasized that the team has to be wary of any opponent they face and stay focused on the mission on hand: qualifying for the World Cup.

“We [can't] underestimate the opponent and have be focused for these two important games. We need these two game for points to move on to the next round.”

And, of course, they'll be needing these two game to defend the name of Iran.

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