Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Iran must arrange more warm-up games, ex-coach says

June 13, 2022 - 18:43

TEHRAN – Former Iran national football team coach Bijan Zolfagharnasab says that the loss against Algeria cannot question the quality of the current players.

Algeria defeated Iran 2-1 in a friendly match held at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar Sunday night.

It was the first friendly match for Dragan Skocic's side after the 2022 World Cup qualification.

“This defeat and the quality of the team’s performance shows that Team Melli suffer lack of preparation with about five months before the start of the World Cup,” said Zolfagharnasab in his interview with Tehran Times.

“Almost all the teams that qualified for the 2022 World Cup started planning their preparation immediately after their participation - in World Cup - was confirmed. Holding training camps and playing various friendly games is a process that began a long time ago for the other teams.

“But the Iranian national team did not have such conditions and, after a long time, finally played their first friendly game,” he added.

The ‘Persian Leopards’ prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where Skocic's side are drawn along with England, the U.S., and Wales in Group B.

However, Zolfagharansab believes that the loss against Algeria is not enough to question the quality and potential of the Iranian team’s players.

“Iran have excellent players, and this defeat cannot question our national team's technical quality. Instead, it shows us our weaknesses.

“In my opinion, Skocic and his technical staff should use the time left until the World Cup to fix the problems seen in the team's game,” ex-Saipa coach stated.

“This, of course, requires more and better preparation games, which is the duty of the Iranian Football Federation to arrange such games.

“The mistakes seen in the game against Algeria can be resolved. The national team head coach can eliminate these weaknesses with his measures and proper planning.

“The good point about the warm-up games is that the flaws are being exposed, and I think that instead of criticizing, we should use this opportunity to help the national team,” concluded Zolfagharnasab.

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