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13 Mohammad JAMSHIDIJAFARABADI (Islamic Republic of Iran)
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Iran ready to shine with a balanced crew

TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Asia Challenge) - Iran’s 12-man roster for the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge that will be played at home at the Azadi Sport Complex in Tehran from 9-18 September has been released, and it’s a balanced crew ready to shine and defend their crown.

Veterans Hamed Haddadi, Arsalan Kazemi, Mohammad Jamshidi, Rouzbeh Arghavan and Oshin Sahakian lead the way for coach Dirk Bauermann’s squad, who are hoping to cop their third straight championship in this biennial tournament. All five of those veterans also played two years ago in the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, together with rising stars Behnam Yakhchali and Sajjad Mashayekhi, who are also present here in Tehran.

The rest of Team Melli’s lineup is rounded out by Adnan Doraghi, Farid Aslani, Mohammad Hassanzadeh, Vahid Dalirzahan and Ali Allahverdi.

Iran 12-player roster for FIBA Asia Challenge
 Ali Allahverdi  Rouzbeh Arghavan  Farid Aslani Vahid Dalirzahan 
 Adnan Doraghi  Hamed Haddadi  Mohammad Hassanzadeh Mohammad Jamshidi 
 Arsalan Kazemi  Sajjad Mashayekhi Oshin Sahakian   Behnam Yakhchali

Iran are expected to be among the favorites in this competition, and they should be especially motivated after finishing third in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship behind China and the Philippines and after going winless in the 2016 FIBA OQT.

In 2014, Iran went on an unbeaten run all the way to annexing their second FIBA Asia Cup in a row. They are, in fact, on a 14-game win streak in the tournament. The last game they lost in this competition was in the 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup when they were beaten by Jordan, 68-57, in the battle for fifth place.

Iran are looking to dominate here, especially in the paint, what with Haddadi, Kazemi and Sahakian all expected to perform at optimal level. And even without old reliables like Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Hamed Afagh and Mahdi Kamrani, Team Melli should have more than enough firepower on the perimeter with Jamshidi, Yakhchali and Mashayekhi leading the charge.


A photo posted by mo7 (@mohammadhasanzadeh) on

Iran are in Group C with Iraq and Qatar. They will all advance to the second round, where they will play each team from Group D: Japan, Korea and Thailand.

The top five teams in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge will earn for their respective sub-zones an extra berth in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup (formerly known as the FIBA Asia Championship).