Loss against Syria happened at right time: Nikkhah Bahrami

December 1, 2020 - 20:4

TEHRAN - Iran national basketball team captain Samad Nikkhah Bahrami believes that Iran’s loss against Syria was shocking and he ensures that the same thing will not happen again in the near future.

Iran basketball team suffered an unbelievable blow against Syria in the second window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers on Monday as they lost 77-70 to their rivals in Doha, Qatar.

Nikkhah, who has missed the recent games of the national team as he tested positive for COVID-19 last month, spoke about his current situation as well as Iran’s performance against Syria in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times.

“For three to four weeks I was in poor condition as I spent the time in quarantine. Two weeks ago, my test was negative and I could train but I was not ready to compete. So, I asked Iran coach Mehran Shahintab not to invite me to the national team at this stage of competition and he agreed,” he said.

Speaking about the loss against Syria, Nikkhah said: “There is nothing we can talk about. It was like an alarm for us to be careful about the next matches. This is basketball and even the greatest teams may experience some bad days. We’ve lost just a match in a long tournament. Of course, defeat is never a good thing in sport, but I think it happened at the right time for us to be watchful for the next games.”

“The fact is that we never thought that we might lose against the Syrian team. Iran’s basketball has been so strong in recent years and teams like Saudi Arabia and Syria are not as good as us. I believe that it was a special incident that may only happen once every few years. It cannot question the qualities of our players as they have proved their power during recent years. However, I repeat we have still a good situation in the competition and this defeat must not be considered as a disaster!” Samad added.

The Iranian legend, who has played in seven Asia Cups, also talked about the criticism against the national team that has been aroused after the defeat.

“It’s normal and we should accept it. When we win, we are encouraged and appreciated by people, so when we lose and play badly, we have to tolerate criticism. If we don’t accept our weakness we cannot improve and the next matches will regret more and more. I am sure the future is bright for Iran's national team and this defeat will not be repeated at least in near future,” he concluded.