News ID: 239297
Published: 0351 GMT February 23, 2019

Iran on double mission in Asian championship in Thailand

Iran on double mission in Asian championship in Thailand

Iran is determined to defend its AFC Beach Soccer Championship title next month and seal a berth in the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

The AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 will be held in Pattaya during March 7-17 and Iran head coach Marco Octavio is optimistic of his team's chances, reported.

“Without a doubt, we have an excellent team for the AFC Beach Soccer Championship. We’ve found 86 new players across the country and they took part in our training camps.

"It’s very important to have young players for the future,” the Brazilian said in an interview with the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran website.

Iran will start the defense of its Asian title in Group D with Oman and Iraq their challengers.

"We know we have a difficult task in Thailand. Iraq are a strong team and we must not underestimate any side.

"However, we want to qualify for the World Cup and we are well prepared. Our goal is to win one of the three places (to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay)," said Octavio.

The Brazilian, who has been with Iran since 2012, said beach soccer is moving in the right direction in the Central Asian nation.

"Iran has beaten some of the world's top beach soccer nations and we must keep moving forward. I hope to see a beach soccer league in Iran in the near future.

"The Iranian people find beach soccer very interesting. We have won nine trophies since I started here and there is great potential."

There is no denying Iran is a world force in beach soccer, having finished third in the 2017 FIFA Beach World Cup held in the Bahamas after having stormed to the 2017 AFC Beach Soccer Championship title.

A perfect campaign in Batu Burok, Terengganu, Malaysia, saw Iran winning six matches en route to the title and this is the form Octavio's team will be looking to replicate in Pattaya next month.

Fifteen teams divided into four groups will vie for the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 title, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the quarterfinals.



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