Pivots in the Final Four: Interview with Hossein Tayyebi

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The 28th edition of the UEFA Futsal Cup is taking place from April 26 to 28, in Almaty (Kazakhstan), the first year with its new name, UEFA Futsal Champions League. The title will be contended by the best four team in Europe: Inter are the absolute masters with five triumphs, Barça and Kairat follow with two victories, and Sporting with «just» three second places, two of them in the last two editions. To celebrate the big event, Futsal Corner thought it was a good idea to have a look at the teams from the perspective of some specialists who make futsal so unique: pivots. Today: Hossein Tayyebi (Kairat Almaty).

Click on the names to see the other interviews: Fernando Cardinal, Humberto, Esquerdinha.

Q: First of all, how is your injury? Are there any chances to see you playing the Final Four?

A: Thanks for asking. Indeed, I unfortunately broke my hand during training, and it happened at a bad moment, as we are now getting close to the Final Four. There are just a few days left until this event and the team’s doctors are doing their best to put me back in shape and able to play again. I am also doing all I can to get ready, and the rest depends on the technical staff. So let’s see what happens, how the situation is with my injury, if I can play or not…

Q: Your team won another league. This year, your scoresheet says 21 wins out of 22 games played, and a +104 goal average. Could this lack of competitivity be a disadvantage in terms of preparation for the big event?

A: Well, these results show that our team always had a passion to win and you can see this feeling in every single player, staff member and the coach. We want to win and we work hard toward victory. For this Final Four we went through so much intensive training and so many friendly matches. Our goal is to win the next matches and become champion. The good thing is that we play at home, and while we totally respect the other teams, we will definitely put everything we have got to be the winners again!

Q: How do you compare life in Kazakhstan to Iran?

A: If I want to compare Iran with Kazakhstan, I can’t see any specific differences for me, really. I am doing fine there. Of course traditions are not quite the same, it’s natural for any country to have their own. Certainly one difficult thing for me is to be far away from my family, but for the rest, people here are very nice, and in a way similar to Iran because our cultures are close. However, the weather is much colder in Kazakhstan!

Q: What is the real level of Iran’s national team? What are your goals for the 2020 World Cup?

A: The situation and level in our national team is really good. We train hard and play lots of friendly matches, and we are getting ready for the introductory match of the 2020 World Cup. At the last World Cup we got 3rd place, so clearly our ambition this time is to do better. Many people love futsal in my country Iran, and they expect that we do our best again and get a great place in the next World Cup.

Q: Despite the great level of futsal in your country, why do you think there are no Iranian players signing for top European clubs?

A: Futsalers have different opinions and I can’t answer for them, you should ask other Iranian national players their reasons or what they think. For me personally, I just always want to prove myself, get better in futsal every year, and experience new challenges, including possibly abroad.

Q: Your signing for Cartagena in Spain seemed certain last summer, but the deal was not closed. What happened? Did you talk with other Spanish clubs? Do you have any sort of verbal agreement for next season?

A: Yes I was in talks with Cartagena, but in the end I decided to stay one more year with my current club AFC Kairat, in Almaty. It’s a great club and I had 3 amazing years here. Like many people, I don’t know what will happen in the future, so I can’t really tell you anything more. Right now, I just do my best and focus on my club and the Final Four.

Q: In 2016, you knocked Brazil out of the World Cup in the round of 16. What are your memories from that match? What was its meaning for the Iranian futsal community?

A: Personally I have so much respect for the Brazilian national team and every player, staff and coach there. They are a fantastic team with so many honours. Yes, we beat them in the last World Cup, and for sure this kind of victory was sweet for us since Brazil is the best team in the world with such great players! So it was definitely an incredible moment with big
memories, because we made it to the 1/8th final of the World Cup. Personally, that day was an amazing day for me and this win will stay for years to come in Iranian futsal history, and it was amazing for all Iranian fans as well.

Q: How was the Iranian league in the early 2000s? Were you able to watch games from other leagues? Did you have any idols in futsal when you were young?

A: Actually in 2000, I was still a child so I don’t remember much about the league. But I was already playing some futsal at that time, and also football. After a few years, I really focused on futsal and when I started doing it seriously, I liked it so much. I would also love to watch
Falcao playing, he was and still is incredible.

Q: Have Iran followed some models, for example by watching other leagues, or do you feel it is something completely new?

A: In my opinion, if you follow a model and learn from it, it’s not a bad thing. It’s also good to be always up-to-date and see what’s happening and changing with the new futsal generations around the world. Also, Iran is like any other country, so if I want to say for example that the Spanish League is the best league in the world and many countries follow it as a model, then sure, it is a good thing. In any case, futsal is definitely growing and evolving around the world.

Q: Speaking of pivots, do you think we are gradually losing the figure of the pure pivot? Do you believe a player needs to be more and more versatile in order to find space in a team?

A: This is a technical question that is entirely up to the coaches to decide and what tactic they choose for the team: what they want from each player, what space they should use, where they should play, etc. Personally, I would like the pivot to be able to play in most of the space
in the pitch, so not just staying in one place without moving. But again, all this depends on the coaches and the team tactic.

Authors: Dani López & Emanuele Risso (Twitter: @eman_risso & @gremplu)

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