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Iran Pre-Game Press Conference Q & A

PASADENA, Calif. (Wednesday, January 12, 2000) - In attendance were Mr. Jalal Talebi, Mr. Mohammad Khakpour representing Iranian national team and Mr. Esse Baharmast, the USSF liaison for Team Iran.

Excerpts of the Question and answer are as follows:

Q: How are you going to address the weakness in the mid field?

Talebi: there seems to be miscommunication between half back players. In the second half of the game against Mexico, halfbacks played better than first half. We will experiement and try to solve the problems.

Q: What was the reason for delay in accepting invite?

Talebi: The issue was between the two respective governments. It had nothing to do with the Football federation.

Q: Are you going to try to win against Ecuador or is just preparation against US?

Talebi: We do our best to accomplish both.

Q: We are currently playing 3-5-2 arrangement. While ago Mr. Pourhaydari suggested that we may change to 4-4-2 formation. Is this going to happen?

Talebi: Yes, but not overnight. We need at least six months period to practice and adjust to a new system.

Q: What is the status of injuries in the team?

Khakpour: No injuries, should not have any problems.

Q: How do you feel playing against US team ? Is it overshadowed by politics?

Khakpour: Media gives this game political dimensions. We came here to play and we don't like to get affected by the politics.

Q: Tell us which team you are playing and your advertisement contract.

Khakpour: I play with the Metro Stars of MLS. I have an advertisement contract with Premius Communications.

Q: Is Mr Mattheus joining Metro stars going to make you happy or intimidated?

Khakpour: Will help team morale.

Q: Please talk about Mexico game and the 2 goals?

Khakpour: It was a prepatory game to harmonize team. Our first game after along trip from Iran. Team was tired and the goals were shocking. After a short while we played better.

Q: Long term plans for the national team ?

Talebi: Game against Asian All-Stars in Tehran, Prep camp for Asian Cup.

Q: Who will start along side Daei tomorrow ? Azizi or Mousavi?

Talebi: We will give some rest to our major players, we let most of the players in the roster play.

Q: Karim Bagheri, Is heavy Weight in our mid line. How do you fill his position?

Talebi: we are not happy that he is not here. He is not here but we will have to do with the younger players.

Comment By A Fan: We thank you for the wonderful gift of bringing these players here.

Q: Any Political ramification of the game against U.S?

Talebi: not for the players.

Q: On treatment by Immigration officials upon your entry to US?

Talebi: We were treated nicely, no problems, got visas for 30 people within 4 hours. They helped us and made us feel comfortable. I appreciate that.

Q: on the future of soccer and sports in Iran ?

Talebi: We out to have a professional League to develop talents. That is the only way to go. We have plenty of talents but little facilities and skilled coaches.

Q: Can you compare Mexico of '64, which you played against, with Mexico of Sunday?

Talebi: No I can't remember that far back. I'm not sure that team (in '64) who played us in the Olympics was their pro team. But Sunday they had a good team playing us.

Q: Who will be the coach of "B" team ?

Talebi: We are looking into it. Possibly a coach from Russia.

Q: What is your prediction of the game?

Khakpour: The results are hard to predict. I hope we will see a good game.