Ahmadinejad gives advice to Iran's national team
1 March 2006, TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the training camp of Iran's national football team and joined the players in their training session.
1 March 2006
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the training camp of Iran's national football team and joined the players in their training session.
Ahmadinejad's appearance on the pitch of the Azadi stadium in the national Iranian team jersey and tracksuit drew the attention of all photographers and was enthusiastically applauded by the fans in the stadium.
Before joining the training, the president talked to the coaches and players of the team and was briefed on the latest developments prior to the World Cup in Germany.
"The whole nation will pray for your success at the World Cup," Ahmadinejad told the players.
"You have to study your opponents in the World Cup very carefully, but do not be afraid of them, as with God's help and people's prayers you will be able to succeed," the president added.
Iran will play in Group D against Angola, Portugal and Mexico.
Iran has had problems finding opponents for test matches, reportedly due to several anti-Semitic remarks by Ahmadinejad. The foreign ministry has now taken charge of arranging friendlies, the sports daily Goal reported.
"You (players) are individually very good, what you need to improve is the group work and for that you first must become close friends and then a strong and harmonious unit," the president said and singled out Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi as an outstanding individual player.
Ahmadinejad later also trained with the players and scored a penalty goal against number one keeper Ebrahim Mirzapour.
The president was also due to meet the Costa Rican players, but as they were late in arriving at the stadium, the meeting was cancelled.
Subject: German news