Iran Kicks off Preparations for World Cup 2010 Qualifiers
TEHRAN â€“ (IranSportsPress.com): Iran national football team is without a head coach, and the Iranian Football Federation without a president, and the European based players are busy preparing themselves for a hectic second half of the season, but despite all this, Team Melli still managed to hold its first training session on Tuesday 01 January in Tehran.
25 players trained under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Ebrahim Zadeh (read: care-taker head coach) for 90 minutes in front of a scrum of journalists, and 40 die-hard fans who braved the cold to witness the training session. However, many of those who had come were regretting their decision. "Maybe I have come to the wrong place, but I don't know any of these players" said one fan.
While most of the players present in Tuesday's training session won't even make the final 23, there was one notable exception. Hossein Kaebi has had a disappointing few months with Leicester City, but he was one of the first few who appeared on the pitch, ready for training. Maybe 2008 will bring more luck for Hossein who remains a big favourite with the Iranian fans.
All Perspolis and Sepahan players were missing from the training session, as they were taking a well earned rest. Jabbari and Taleblou (both of Esteghlal) were also missing, as 'The Blues' are currently holding their own training camp in UAE. Ali Karimi, Javad Kazemian, and Ebrahim Mirzapour are all expected to join the training camp later this week.
Iran will play its first friendly match on 05 January against Hansa Rostock, followed by a friendly against Qatar 4 days later. Team Melli is scheduled to meet Mali and Costa Rica later in January before its first World Cup Qualifier on 06 February against Syria.