Iran coach hopes Asian Cup win will unite country

Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi says his team wants to win the Asian

Cup title so it will be ”a source of inspiration” for the divided

Persian nation.

Iran defeated Iraq in its opening Group D match and will play

North Korea on Saturday.

Ghotbi compared Iran’s ambition at this year’s continental

championship to Iraq’s win in 2007. Sectarian violence had raged

across Iraq but the soccer victory united Iraqis in

celebration.

Ghotbi says his players are ”very, very motivated” by the

challenge to do the same for Iran.

Iran has been in political turmoil since the opposition

crackdown following the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud

Ahmadinejad in 2009.