Mehran Afshar, lastkick.com
Mehran Afshar visits Team Melli camp at any opportunity he gets. Last week he paid the teamâ€™s training facilities another visit and compiled the following report.
Team Melliâ€™s preparation under Afshin Ghotbiâ€™s supervision was interesting to watch.
During this session of the Team Melliâ€™s training camp, there were obvious changes compared to the previous training techniques that distinguished Ghotbi from his predecessors.
His one-on-one talks with the players reminded me of Guss Hiddink approach at Russiaâ€™s training camp, and a more subtle version of Spainâ€™s Luis Aragones that could at times be intimidating!
For instance, a few times during the inter-squad training game, when the ball was dead, Ghotbi approached Arash Borhani and Khosrow Heidari, and explained, in detail, exactly what he wanted them to do, or pointed out what they did wrong few seconds earlier. You could clearly see the positive effects of these close online talks on the playersâ€™ next moves on the field.
Watching this I recalled a similar approach by former Team Melli Croatian Coach Miroslav Blazevic and his colorful translator Reza Chalangar. Once again team Melli has a hands-on Head coach who can effectively communicate his ideas to the players on the spot.
Watching the drills, it was obvious that Ghotbi has designed his exercises to shape an attacking team. He knows well that a defensive approach is not worth much during the next three qualifying matches, and perhaps that was why speed and offensive moves were the order of the day.
Compared to Daei and Branko Ivankovic, Ghotbi uses a bigger field for training. That forces the players get comfortable using all the available spaces to plan and organize attacks from their own 18 yards towards the opponentâ€™s goal.
During this session Ghotbi was giving the players more freedom with the ball. He let them use their dribbling techniques, but at the same time, he pressed to perform all their moves in a very fast pace and without breaking the rhythm of the team and the momentum of their attack.
On this day Rahmati (GK), Heidari, Hosseini, Montazeri, Ando, Karimi, Borhani, Ashubi, Mohammad, Haj-Safi, and Khalili played in red and dominated the game.
Maziyar Zare, Maysam Baoo were getting medical treatment.
After the session was over, the a few young reporters rushed Ghotbi and stuck their microphones into his face. They kept asking questions regarding his decision to invite young goalkeepers for the 3rd and 4th goalkeeper spots. Ghotbi defended his decision by pointing out to the fact that experienced goalkeepers for those positions would not have enough motivation, since they would well know that their chances to stand between the sticks would be very rare at best where as young and talented keepers would benefit from getting exposed to the national team camp atmosphere, and training with the experienced players.
Ghotbiâ€™s critics and detractors are waiting for their chances and hoping to see him slip and make a mistake, but Ghotbi seems very determined and motivated. He is unlikely to give them a chance to target him anytime soon.
More photos ….