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TEHRAN, Iran (4th FIBA Asia Cup): Memi Becirovic couldn’t have asked for a tougher task in his first international stint as the coach of the Iranian Team Melli when he takes the team to the 4th FIBA Asia Cup to be played in Tokyo (Japan) from Sept 14-22. The Slovenian has had to lend the players from his training pool more regularly than he would have liked.
First came the request from Iranian Super League champions Mahram to let the players belonging to their club out in order to participate in the 34th William Jones Cup. And from the remaining players – most of them youngsters – many of them had to don the Iran U18 NT colors at the 22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), where Iran finished with the bronze medal.
“We don't have too much time for preparing team but we do our best in this week,” Becirovic said during a training camp.
“Mahram club's players are not in a good shape, but the young players are bringing some motivation in training camp,” he added.
“I am trying to see how players like Amir Sedighi, Behnam Yakhchali will do. I want to know them better and therefore have a better picture for next year, which is more important and crucial for us.”
Iran are drawn with hosts Japan, winners of the FIBA Asia Cup when it was known as the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup in its inaugural edition in 2004 Qatar, tricky East Asian rivals Chinese Taipei and SABA champions India in Group B of the Prelim Round competition at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup. Top four teams from group will progress to the quarterfinal play-offs.
“I don’t know much about other teams in Asia so this is a good opportunity for me to see other teams in Asia,” Becirovic said looking ahead at the competition.
“I’ve worked in Europe, but Asian systems are different. I saw Asian U18 teams and I think their senior teams should be the same,” he added.
Iran start their campaign with a game against India on Sept 14, the opening day of the competition. Click here for complete schedule of 4th FIBA Asia Cup.
Photo: Milad Payami / FIBA Asia
Reporting inputs from Fereshteh Seyfi Naji in Tehran