Carlos Queiroz, manager of Iran, Nigeria’s World Cup opponents has named a 28-man Asia-based squad for the tournament. They will be joined later by players from European leagues.
Queiroz selected the roster the day after the end of the season in Iran – with the league won in dramatic fashion by Foolad Khuzestan.
His 28 troops will now take part in a training camp in South Africa. The biggest omission from the list – that consists of 26 players from Iran’s domestic league and two players from Persian Gulf leagues – is Ali Karimi, highly popular experienced midfielder dubbed “the Maradona of Asia”, who retired from international football in 2013 but recently changed his mind in hope for World Cup call-up.
Two other veteran playmakers – Mojtaba Jabbari and Mohammad Nouri – were also dropped, as Queiroz opted for fresh faces like Foolad’s captain, Bakhtiar Rahmani.
Several Europe-based players – such as Ashkan Dejagah and Reza Ghoochannejhad – will join the team in May for the next stage of preparations in Austria.
The 23-day pre-World Cup camp will start April 14 and Iran will likely play a friendly match with Mozambique in the camp.
Iran has been pitted against Argentina, Nigeria and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2014 World Cup.
Carlos Queiroz’s men will face Trinidad and Tobago in their final preparation for the 2014 World Cup. The match will be played on June 8 in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Iran will play Nigeria in Curitiba on June 16.