In the build-up to the World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and Iran, head coach Jorn Andersen criticized the Iranian FA, accusing them of showing “no respect” to his team ahead of their clash in Tehran on Thursday.
Andersen expressed his disappointment with the training facilities provided to his team upon their arrival, describing it as the worst he had encountered in his four-decade career in professional football.
Despite the tough task of facing a formidable opponent like Iran, ranked 21st in the world, Andersen feels that their initial preparations were further hampered due to the substandard facilities.
Andersen, drawing from his extensive experience in professional football, expressed disappointment at the lack of respect shown by the Iranian FA. He expected better treatment from hosts of a World Cup qualifying game.
“We wanted to train two times in Iran, to prepare for a very difficult game. We hoped we would have a training field where we could actually train,” Andersen lamented.
“[On Tuesday] they offered us a training field where we could not play football. That is no respect.”
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Andersen’s preparations for the match were further complicated by the absence of several key players, including three Brazil-born players, and Sun Ming-him, a key member of the Hong Kong under-23 team that defeated Iran in the Asian Games quarterfinals.
Despite the challenges, Andersen finds hope in their under-23 team’s victory, acknowledging the significant difference in strength between the two sides, but remaining optimistic in their game plan against Iran.
“We will have a clear match plan. We know Iran have great players but we are here to try to achieve a good result.”
Andersen highlighted the potential starting role for Lam Hin-ting, emphasizing his mental strength and work ethic as valuable assets against Iran. Additionally, he expects a select few players to step up and showcase the aggressive brand of football he has instilled in the team.
“We are not here just to turn up, we want to bring an energetic and aggressive performance, and show the spirit of Hong Kong.”
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