TEHRAN (Iran News) –“Wind of Hope” is blowing through Iranian football, with a new generation of homegrown football managers, the technocrat club presidents, and highly skillful players.
The excitement of football arguably brings together and unites football lovers in support of their clubs and national teams while inspiring Iranian children and adolescents to dream about future professional football career.
The pursuit of excellence is essential for the comprehensive football strategy of any professional football organization.
Watching the final match of the Hazfi Cup in front of approximately 40,000 cheering crowd at Azadi Stadium, we remember what Bill Shankly, former Liverpool manager and one of the most outstanding football technicians, once said about this game, “Some people think football [soccer] is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”
Nassaji, the current Hazfi Cup champions, are based in the city of QaemShahr, an actual football city with one of the most united and passionate fan bases supporting them everywhere in Iran.
Nassaji defeated Aluminium 1-0 in the final match of the Hazfi Cup to clinch the title.
Both teams started the match energetically. Nassaji played a very flexible 1-3-4-3 formation, with Alireza Haghighi in the goal proved uncompromising when defending.
Masoud Shojaei, an experienced and highly skillful skipper, was their main offensive initiator.
On the opposite side, Aluminum head coach, former Iran national team goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati, used a 1-4-3-3 system of play.
Highly talented 22-year-old front striker, Alireza Azadi, was unlucky to hit the post twice in the first half.
The match opened up drastically after the break. The tireless Nassaji midfielder Mehrdad Abdi scored the stunning goal of this spectacular match with a header from a pinpoint free-kick delivered by Ayoub Kalantari in the 58th minute.
After that, the clear-cut scoring chances were few and far between. Both teams were using high tempo, strong running, and played deep defending line and quick counter attacks.
Football, without any doubt, will continue to evolve in Iran in the near future. Soon we will witness the impact of technical directors, professional football management, marketing, sports science, and a new breed of highly competent and resilient football managers in Iran.