Iran skipper Behnaz Taherkhani says their aim is to get a lot of experience from the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup, their maiden appearance in the marquee event. Iran will make their Asian Cup debut after coming through the qualifiers in dramatic fashion -- with a penalty shootout win over Jordan.
"We are extremely excited, and happy to be a part of the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022. It is a proud moment for us, and we will do our best to be successful," Taherkhani was quoted as saying in a media statement issued by the All India Football Federation.
"Our aim is to gain a lot of experience from this tournament. We know we have a long way to go, but being here is a good start," said the defender. Iran, who are clubbed in Group A, begin their campaign against hosts India on Thursday.
Nicknamed 'Team Melli Baanovaan' (Ladies National Team), Iran played their first international match in 2005, in the WAFF West Asian Women's Football Championship, when they beat Syria 5-0. Since then, they have come a long way, and are currently ranked 70th in the world and 14th in Asia. Iran were clubbed alongside Jordan and Bangladesh in the qualification round for the Asian Cup.
They defeated Bangladesh 5-0 in their opening game, but so did Jordan, setting up a winner-takes-all clash between the two in the final game in which Iran prevailed. "Despite our lack of experience, the team is motivated and works hard. We have reached this level and We are ready," said head coach Maryam Irandoost.
"We have analyzed the Indian team, and are aware that they are strong and fast. The opener is one for everyone to look forward to," Irandoost signed off.