News ID: 58540
Published: 0716 GMT December 30, 2014

Haqiqi among AFC picks

Haqiqi among AFC picks

The Asian Football Confederation selected Iranian Alireza Haqiqi among the top five goalkeepers.

Haqiqi was a standout for Iran at the 2014 World Cup earlier in the year, reported.

He became the first Iranian goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a FIFA World Cup, and he amazed audiences against Argentina by keeping the team at bay until the 91st minute of the match. The 26-year-old goalkeeper has represented Iran at every age level, playing at a couple of AFC Youth Championships before being called up by former manager Afshin Ghotbi in 2010.

Haqiqi has been a goalkeeper to keep an eye on for some time. He made his debut for Persepolis at just 18, and incredibly he saved a penalty from the legendary Ali Daei. It was a statement of the young man’s talent, and less than a decade on great things are expected of him. Haqiqi moved abroad in 2012, joining Russian club Rubin Kazan before returning on loan to Persepolis after struggling for game time. Iranian goalkeepers are not common in Europe, but soon he moved back to sign for Portuguese side Sporting Covilha, where he helped the team avoid relegation in 2014. Still contracted with Rubin Kazan, Haqiqi then moved to Penafiel after the World Cup. Ranked as the highest seed in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the young goalkeeper will hope to lead Iran to its fourth continental title.

Australian Mathew Ryan, Saudi Arabia's Waleed Abdullah, Ali Al-Habsi of Oman and Japanese Eiji Kawashima are the other top Asian goalies.

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