News Day – TEHRAN, TT men’s football team captain Khaleem Hyland is expecting a tough game against hosts Iran, on Thursday, when both teams meet in a friendly encounter at the Azadi Stadium, Tehran.
Hyland, in an interview yesterday at the Parsian International Hotel in Tehran, said, “We know the quality that Iran has. They have a huge coach (Carlos Queiroz) and they are just coming off a strong showing at the World Cup.”
The 29-year-old midfielder, who plays for Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia, continued, “We played against them before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and I think this is a huge game for us to see what level we are at and where have to go. I expect a tough game and the conditions changes just the same as Saudi Arabia.
“One minute it can be very humid and then very cold. We are over here to get a job done and we’ll try to stay focused and go out and do what we are here for and try to get a positive result on Thursday,” Hyland added.
With TT preparing for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and CONCACAF Nations League, Hyland stated, “These are important games and you can only get better playing teams like these because they play in World Cup every four years and I think it’s a great opportunity to finally get ready for the Gold Cup and Nations League next year by playing teams of this high quality.
“We knew when (TT coach Dennis Lawrence) took over the team it was a very difficult period. He was trying to patch up things and it was not the easiest of positions for any coach to come in under. Right now we are at a great level since then. We had to take it step by step since to fix things and so far we are getting there. Everyone has taken Dennis on board and he he is trying to implement what he wants us to do and how he wants us to carry about ourselves.
I think he is a role model for a lot of the guys. He scored to take us to the 2006 World Cup and he has a lot of experience coaching under huge coaches. I think he can only help us and hopefully we can put every puzzle together and get ready for the (forthcoming) tournaments,” Hyland added.
The TT team had an hour-long training session, in wet and chilly conditions, yesterday at the Iran Football Federation headquarters’ training pitch in Tehran.
Queiroz named a 24-man squad on the weekend to prepare for the matches against TT, and Venezuela. Their squad includes Nottingham Forest forward Karim Ansarifard, Club Brugge forward Kaveh Razaei, experienced 34-year-old captain Masoud Shojaei and Kazan-based striker Sardar Azmoun.