Iran U23 football team in danger of not qualifying for Olympics

TEHRAN, Sep. 15 (MNA) – The war of words between Iran U23 football coach Farhad Majidi and Akbar Mohammadi, head of youth committee of Iran Football Federation, has put Iran U23 football team in real danger of not qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Last week, Iran fell to Uzbekistan twice in two friendly matches and it sounded the alarm that U23 football are at risk of not qualifying for the Olympics after 44 years.

Majidi has hit out at football federation's policy over inviting players to U23 team, blaming it as one of the reasons for the team's failings.

The ex-Esteghlal forward says he is resentful of anybody's attempts to interfere in his work.

BUT some experts believe that Majidi is responsible for his team’s losses since the U23 team suffer from lack of a defensive midfielder as they are becoming more and more critical for modern football.

Majidi’s side lost to Uzbekistan 1-0 in their first match and suffered a heavy 4-1 loss three days later.

He replaced Zlatko Kranjcar in mid-June but the Iran's Ministry of Sports and Youth and National Olympic Committee (NOC) expressed its dissatisfaction with the way of football federation for choosing him as a coach and called it disappointing at that time.

After a few days, the consensus was reached on him and Majidi announced his provisional squad for the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.

The Persians had previously earned a spot in the AFC U23 Championship 2020 Final in late March under coaching of Kranjcar but the football federation was not satisfied with the Croat’s performance in the competition held in Tehran because U23 team qualified for the final round as one of the second-best teams behind Iraq.

The 2020 AFC U23 Championship will be held in Thailand from Jan. 8 to 26 and the top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics men's football tournament in Japan as the AFC representatives.

With about three months to go until the Asian championship, Iran, a powerhouse of the Asian football, are in real danger of not qualifying for the Olympics.

Iran have not been in the Olympics since the 1976 games in Munich.

MNA/TT

News Code 150072

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