India is all set to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scheduled to kick off on 6th October. 24 countries from six confederations will be competing for one of the biggest honours in youth football with the matches being hosted in six cities across the country.
In this segment, we take a look at Iran's U-17 team and guide you through their journey to the world cup, highlighting their achievements, key players, coach and much more.
Confederation: AFC (Asia)
Nicknames: The New Youngsters
Coach: Abbas Chamanyan
PAST RECORDS AND LAURELS
The Iranian youth side has made four appearances in the Under-17 World Cup and has a couple of laurels to their name. The side participated in their first FIFA U-17 World Cup in the year 2001, having failed to qualify for the first eight tournaments. In the 2001 U-17 World Cup at Trinidad and Tobago, the Iranian side lost all of their three games and finished bottom of their group. Eight years later, the team from the AFC participated in the 2009 U-17 World Cup in Nigeria where they advanced from their pool but lost in the round of 16. At UAE 2013 they onceagain reached the knockout stages having won one tie, drawn two and lost 4-1 to Nigeria, the eventual winners of the competition.
In 2008, Iran were crowned the champions of AFC U-16 Championship on their home soil. In the years 2000 and 2016, The New Youngsters ended up as runners-up of the tournament with the latter competition being held in India, the host nation of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.
In addition to this, Iran's young guns were also named winners of West Asian Football Federation Championship (WAFF) U-16 Championship twice (2005 and 2009) in their three years of participation.
ROAD TO U-17 WORLD CUP
Iran topped Group A at the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship owing to their better goal difference (+4) over second-placed UAE (+3). They confirmed their spot at the U-17 World Cup by comfortably dismantling Vietnam 5-0 in the quarter-finals before beating Korea DPR in the semi-finals via a penalty shoot-out (6-5), following a 1-1 draw. However, the Iranians couldn't maintain their winning run. In the ultimate tie of the tournament, they lost to the Iraqi side 3-4 in the penalty shootout.
PREPARATIONS AHEAD OF THE MEGA-EVENT
In the month of May, Iran played two international friendlies against the U-18 sides of Slovakia and Hungary. On 17th May, Iran succumbed to Slovakia in a 2-3 defeat, however in the next match on the 21st of the same month, they settled for a 2-2 draw versus Hungary. The youth side has been actively involved in preparing for the blockbuster event as they continue training in the sports complex of Karaj in Iran under the guidance of gaffer Abbas. The camp is believed to continue until the last week of September.
Abbas Chamanyan guided the Iranian boys to the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup qualification this year having bagged the runners-up spot at the AFC U-16 tournament in 2016. This was not his first spell with the Under-17 side of Iran, Chamanyan had earlier been at the helm of the youth side in 2003-04. Apart from this, Chamanyan also managed the U-20 team twice in 2002 and 2004. He is also a university lecturer who teaches Physical Education courses at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Islamic Azad University of Mashhad and Mashhad University of Medical Sciences and has numerous years of experience at club level along with international level.