Iran - August 09, 2020 11:30Interview with Hamed KhodaeiThe Iranian globetrotter; what's next?Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Indonesia: so many travels, futsal leagues and adventures for the persian player Hamed Khodaei. We've have been in talks with him to know more about his journey in futsal and next destinations and projects. Have a read!

Cover photo courtesy: Marafon Futsal

Hamed, please tell us about your beginning in futsal in Iran. When and why did you start with futsal? And what do you like the most about this sport?

I started playing futsal when I was 14 years old. In Iran futsal is taught in schools and this causes a big interest in children and boys. And the same happened to me, so I fell in love with it!.

Have you ever been selected for young or adult national teams in Iran? Is this still a dream for you and do you think you can achieve it?

Yes I was invited to the national youth team in 2008-2009, while I have not been selected yet for the senior national team. But I have a lot of motivation and ambition for the national team and I keep on pursuing my goal. I hope that the coaching staff of the national team will give young and others players a chance to to be seen and evaluated.

What's the current situation of futsal in Iran right now? We have watched the finals few weeks ago when the league restarted and we could admire some of the best persian players. Many people know about Giti Pasand and Mes Sungun due to recent seasons, but can you tell us something more about the Iranian leaue and most valuable players in your opinion?

I firmly believe that the Iranian Premier League is one of the top leagues in the world and the level of futsal there is very high. In the next season, with the "return" of Vahid Shamsaee (note: Shamsaee has recently been appointed as player/manager of Giti Pasand), you will see a better and different league because he makes the competition more attractive and he's still an amazing player as well.
There are more great players in Iran like Mohammad Reza Sangsefidi, Mehdi Javid, Ali Abedin, Mostafa Nazari, Asghar Hassanzadeh, Morteza Farahani and Hamid Ahmadi Dazaj and I'm not mentioning many others.

You had a lot of experiences abroad, in different countries and leagues like Iraq, Azerbaijan, Indonesia. Why have you chosen to go abroad? It's just a "work" choice or also a new adventure in your life? Can you describe what you've found in those different countries, about futsal and life in general

One of my main reasons for leaving Iran is to gain experience and earn money for my family.
Each country has its own rules. I have experienced different leagues and played with many players and this is a great experience for me for sure.

In Iran, where I've been playing for Ahoora Behbahan FSC, there's actually not much difference between the first and last teams of the standing. But the key to win a game is sometimes given by the players experience. Iranian players are mostly technical and have a lot of talents and skills in futsal since they have spent a lot of their lives in futsal pitches since their childhood, often trained by good coaches. Also, most of the teams are looking for tactical improvement and this makes games very interesting to be watched.

As you may have seen in the last few years, Iraq has achieved good results in the Asian Championships and this is a sign of the country's progress and importance in futsal. The Iraqi Federation has invested good money and did a great job for futsal recently. Also, the presence of many Iranian players (Note: Hamed Khodaei played for Masafi Al-Janoob) have helped Iraqi clubs in improving their athletes' standard, above all talking about skills and creativity.

Also the level of Azeri Futsal (Note: Hamed Khodaei played for Marafon Futsal)League is very high and there are great clubs like Araz, which is one of the most powerful teams in Europe. Many good players came from abroad, but unfortunately fans are still to be attracted, though the facilities and conditions are very good there for a player. Azerbaijan coach Alecio did a great job for the national team and Araz as well.

I guess the best experience I have had in the last few years has been with the Vamos Mataram club in Indonesia. In this country everything is in place for futsal! Players have sponsors (shoes, clothes, phones) and the game is extremely popular. All games are broadcasted live, huge crowd of fans attending matches and supporting their teams. All clubs use dedicated and equipped venues for their training and with the arrival of many foreign players the standard of their futsal experienced a dramatic improvement so I'm sure in the next years we will hear good news coming from Indonesia.

What's your future project in futsal? Will you play in the Iranian league or are you looking for one more experience abroad?

I have some offers from domestic and foreign clubs and honestly I would love to play in the big European clubs. I have not made a decision for the future yet but if I get a good offer from Iran, I think I will come back to my native country and play in the Iranian league again. On the opposite if the situation in Iran is not good I will definitely think about foreign offers and maybe I will play outside Iran again.

In the pitch with Vamos Mataram (Photo courtesy: Vamos Mataram)

Life in Iraq: Khodaei (#7) with his club Masafi Al-Janoob Sport Club (Photo courtesy: Masafi Al-Janoob Sport Club)

Hamed Khodaei in the Iranian League with Ahoora Behbahan FSC (Photo courtesy: Ahoora Behbahan FSC)

Leading the way for Vamos Mataram (Photo courtesy: Vamos Mataram)

Khodaei during his Indonesian experience (Photo courtesy: Vamos Mataram)

In action with Marafon Futsal in the Azeri League (Photo courtesy: Marafon Futsal)

Hamed Khodaei happy after a win with Vamos (Photo courtesy: Vamos Mataram)

Khodaei celebrating a trophy with Marafon Futsal (Photo: AFFA)

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