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Full-strength Iran for Qatar friendly

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AFC - Iran coach Amir Ghaleenoiee has called up as many as 11 overseas based players for the March 24 friendly against Qatar in Doha.

The call-up of players like Fereydoun Zandi (Apollon) and Mehdi Mahdavikia (HSV Hamburg) has left no one in doubt about the importance of this match in the run-up to the July 7-29 AFC Asian Cup 2007™ for which Team Melli have been slotted with China, Uzbekistan and co-hosts Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Though Ghaleenoiee refused to identify all the players, he stressed that Zandi, out of favour after the FIFA World Cup last year, was in the squad while Mahdavikia confirmed his availability after Hamburg agreed to release him following a request by the Iran Football Federation.

Ghaleenoiee said he would pick 22 players out of a maximum 30 after a training camp.

Qatar, in Group B for the AFC Asian Cup 2007 ™ with co-hosts Vietnam, Japan and UAE, will be looking to avenge their defeat to Iran the last time they met in 2004 in the qualifying rounds for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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