Iranians prepare for AFC U-19 event

Iranian coach Peyrovani says Singapore tournament a final tune-up for October mission

"Our first match (today) against Uzbekistan will be very tough, because they are also one of the best teams in Asia in terms of transition and attack, and hopefully we can get a good result." — Iran coach Amir Hossein Peyrovani (above, right), on their opponents



(Today, 5pm, Bishan Stadium)

They are perennial continental powerhouses.

With three Asian Cups (1968, 1972 and 1976) and four World Cup appearances (1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014) under their belt, Iran have a glittering football history.

And Singapore fans will be able to watch the next generation of the country's national players in action starting today, when Iran's Under-21 side take on their Uzbek counterparts in the opening match of the inaugural Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Under-21 International Challenge Cup at the Bishan Stadium.

Iran head coach Amir Hossein Peyrovani wants his team to use the Challenge Cup as preparation for the next round of the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship, which will take place in Bahrain in October.

Speaking to The New Paper after the team's training session at the Bishan Stadium last night, Peyrovani said: "Four months ago, the coach (Richard Tardy) of Singapore came to Iran for two friendly matches.

"During the time he was there, he invited our team to take part in this tournament (Challenge Cup) and I thought this would be a good opportunity for the players to prepare before they go to Bahrain in October.

"We will be challenging Yemen, Qatar and Japan, who are difficult teams, and, by taking on sides like Uzbekistan and either Singapore or Hong Kong, it will prepare us better for the upcoming tournament."

Iran have been drawn in Group C of the Under-19 tournament and face tough opponents in Yemen, Qatar and Japan for a place in the quarter-finals. Semi-finalists in the competition are guaranteed a spot in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.


"Our first match (today) against Uzbekistan will be very tough, because they are also one of the best teams in Asia in terms of transition and attack, and hopefully we can get a good result.

"I am really happy that our team have a chance to take part in this competition, because it gives us a chance to prepare ourselves," Peyrovani added.

Iran's senior team gave a good account of themselves at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, producing positive displays against Nigeria (0-0), Bosnia-Herzegovina (3-1 loss) and a Lionel Messi-led Argentina (1-0 loss), who lost to Germany in the final.

The senior team are once again in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and Peyrovani believes the country can do even better, if they get there.

And he tipped some of the players in his squad to transit into the senior side in two years' time

"Why not... We did well two years ago," said the 46-year-old.

"We are managed by (Carlos) Queiroz, who is one of the top football minds in the world.

"Our players are good technically and mentally, and we showed in Brazil that we can compete against top teams in the world like Argentina, so I say we can do better at future World Cups.

"Our young players in this squad are also good enough and I will not be surprised to see some of them playing with the senior team in a few years' time."

He's in a good place

In 2008, Vicente del Bosque took over a Spain team that had just reached the pinnacle of European football under Luis Aragones and, within two years, he had led them to the top of the world. Following victory at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, the glorious spell was broken by poor results at Brazil 2014 and Euro 2016. Del Bosque decided to step down after Spain's exit from the Euros but, prior to officially leaving his post, the manager met with to give his verdict on his time in charge of the European giants.

Vicente del Bosque.
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Indonesia's most wanted terrorist killed

Santoso's group responsible for string of lethal attacks on domestic security forces

VIOLENT END: (Above) Santoso (head covered), who was shot dead, with his confidant Basri.
VIOLENT END: Indonesian police transferring a body bag from an ambulance at a hospital in Palu, Central Sulawesi, yesterday following a gunfight between extremists and security forces the day before.

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Movie Date: Ghostbusters

Don’t be afraid of these female Ghostbusters — give them a call.

STARRING: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth


THE SKINNY: When scientists-cum-paranormal experts Erin Gilbert (Wiig), Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) are called to investigate a haunted house and encounter their first ghost, they devote themselves to researching and hunting the paranormal. They are eventually joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and realise that they might be the only ones capable of saving New York City from an apocalypse.




Wiig is the perfect choice to take over from Bill Murray as the Ghostbusters' ringleader.

To me, she's like the female version of the beloved comedian. The thing that really binds them as funny people is this sense of effortlessness.

She's the only comedian today who seems as floppy as Murray was.

Like Murray, she doesn't trade in wackiness. She just kind of floats around looking put-upon and delivering sad-funny quips in an idiosyncratic fashion.

It's the humour of troubled introverts who can occasionally flip it around to become the life of the party. Anyway, Wiig is great in Ghostbusters.

Love her dorky outfit, including the "world's tiniest bow tie".

Love the way she's always desperately pawing at Hemsworth.

Love the way she delivers her lines in quiet little burbles.

Unlike almost any other woman in Hollywood, she actually seems like a person that I might have known growing up.

She's not the only good thing about Ghostbusters - there are plenty of laughs and scares and a few touching moments - but she's my favourite thing.

The one area where this reboot kind of lets us down is that it's a bit too kid-friendly.

The original Ghostbusters had a more adult edge.

Where-oh-where are the "Gatekeeper" and the "Keymaster"?

Rating: 3/5


I'm terrified to admit it, but I actually enjoy Ghostbusters.

Netizens have slimed this all-female incarnation since its trailer was released earlier this year.

I admit it looked pretty terrible. But once Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones appear on screen, it becomes clear that the preview did not adequately capture the film's comedic flair.

Ghostbusters is pretty funny. You don't laugh at all the jokes, but you laugh at enough of them to have a good time.

The four leading ladies are brilliantly cast, with Wiig leading the team like the veteran comic she is.

Under Feig's direction, they inject a different kind of comedy from the boyish humour of the original 1984 film.

But unless fans expect a carbon copy of the original, this isn't a bad thing.

Even franchise fans have enough to enjoy, as Ghostbusters is more than generous with its cameos.

Not to mention, the film is certainly empowering for women to watch.

It does not explicitly discuss gender, as if there's nothing surprising about brainy women wielding guns and battling the supernatural. For this, it deserves an extra thumbs up.

Then there's Hemsworth's hilarious but painfully accurate gender spin on the pretty but airheaded receptionist.

At the end, the Ghostbusters appropriately proclaim: "It's not terrible at all."

That's true. It really isn't.


THE CONSENSUS: Don’t be afraid of these female Ghostbusters — give them a call.