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Iran coach targets fifth West Asian cup title

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Sep 2010

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Iranian nation football team coach Afshin Ghotbi has said that he hopes to guide his side to a fifth title win in the West Asia Football Federation (WAFF) championship to be held in Jordan.

Iran, who previously won the title in 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008 are in Group 1 along with Bahrain and Oman.

Hosts Jordan are in Group 2 with Syria and Kuwait, while 2002 winners Iraq will play against Yemen and Palestine in group 3.

The tournament runs through September 24 until October 3.

“It will be an interesting tournament,” Ghotbi told reporters here shortly before he and his squad left for Jordan.

“We have achieved good results playing against teams from east Asia and we hope to do so with teams from the west of the continent.”

In the buildup to the tournament Iran beat China 2-0 on September 3 and four days later won against South Korea 1-0. Both matches were away from home.

“We are expecting to come home as champions, we have learned to think of winning in all circumstances. I only plan for victory,” Ghotbi said, adding that team spirit in his squad was high.

Ghotbi said that taking part in the WAFF championship would be a good practice for the Iranians ahead of the Asian Cup 2011.

His comments on the reason for Team Melli participating in the WAFF’s tournament were echoed by the chairman of Iran’s Football Federation Ali Kafashin.

“We have played against big teams like China and South Korea but we have not played against West Asian nations,” he told the ISNA news agency.

“It will good to gain experience playing against these teams who will be playing against us in the Asian Cup.”

Ghotbi previously worked with the US national team before a long stint assisting Dutch coaches Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and then Pim Verbeek with the South Koreans.

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