13 - 19
August 2023
to read

After a memorable win, can Iran make a historic trip to Division A?

BANGKOK (Thailand) - The fact that Iran were even on the court at all in Amman for FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021 Division B was already a triumphant return.

"We want to win and we are ready to win."

- Kimiya Tehrani


It was their first time playing in the Women's Asia Cup since 1974 and therefore, also meant it was their first time playing in the two-division format of the competition.

"For so long we have not been able to be at the tournament and I feel so happy to be able to show what we have been doing when it comes to women's basketball in my country," said team veteran "Tina" Edna Eissaianjangi back in 2021.

They had waited so long to be back on the court, but were unfortunately unable to claim a victory in their return. While they were showing everyone what women's basketball in Iran were capable of in 2021, Tina and the team still had the hunger to show a bit more.

So they waited.

And the wait finally ended on 13 August 2023, when Iran were able to hold off Malaysia and see themselves with the higher score at the final buzzer. The scoreboard flashed the official score of 65-59, making it Iran's first win in the competition since 1974 - almost a full 50 years in the making.


"We are ready to fight and feeling pretty good," Tina, who scored 9 points, had said before the start of the competition and that's what she and the team put on display.

The victory was certainly worth a celebration, but the goal for Iran here in Bangkok is bigger than just claiming that first win.

They want to go the distance.

"Grateful that we are here again," said Kimiya Tehrani. "I think our team has improved so much because we have a great coach now and all of us improved level by level."

"I hope we win it all."

That confidence and expectation resonate throughout the team.

"We have a great coach and she's very smart," added Tina. "She's teaching us very well and we're learning very well, too."

"We should be win because we are so different [from last time]."

"We want to win and we are ready to win."

Any coach would love to see this level of confidence from their players. Greek head coach Eleni Kapogianni certainly appreciates that, but she also wants to keep the team level-headed after their historic win.

Iran had led by as much as 16 points against Malaysia before allowing their opponents to comeback and even tie the score up late in the final quarter. They managed to come away with a victory, but it was not a perfect one - at least by coach Kapogianni's standards.

"Listen, if the players played perfectly we should [have won] by 30 points but, it's the first game, and they have an excuse," she said.

Nonetheless, that doesn't take away what the team accomplished and their potential in this competition.

"I'm happy at the end because my players showed character and finally what matters at the end is that we won and I'm very proud of them."

After one historic win in the books for Iran, can they make it a tournament to remember by making it to Division A for the first time as well?