Tehran: Iran winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh said that they will “fight for their dreams” to end a 43-year trophy drought in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Iran national football team last lifted Asian football’s most coveted trophy on homesoil in 1976.
“We are desperate to win the title after 43 years. We feel obliged to make our people happy and we also know that the fans’ expectations are very high after the 2018 World Cup. They are right to have a dream and we will do our best to make their dreams come true,” Jahanbakhsh said on Sunday.
“Iran can make history in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup because we take advantage of one of the best generations we have ever had. Four years ago, we were knocked out of the Asian Cup in penalty shoot-out against Iraq but this time we are determined to win the title,” Jahanbakhsh stated.
Coach Carlos Queiroz had announced his final 23-man squad last week — which spelt bad news for Saeed Ezatolahi and Ali Gholizadeh, who picked up injuries recently and now will miss the showcase event. The three-time Asian Champions, who will square up against Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen in Group D, will take on the latter on January 7 in their opening match.
‘Team Melli’, as they’re famously known, will feature many World Cup stars who shone last summer in Russia, including Alireza Beiranvand, Morteza Pouraliganji, Karim Ansarifard, Sardar Azmoun, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh among others.