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Fereshteh Karimi (No. 7)
Fereshteh Karimi (No. 7)

Fereshteh Karimi Among Top Players

Long considered one of Asia’s finest players, Iran’s Fereshteh Karimi gets the opportunity at the Thai event to further enhance her already-glittering reputation, as she will arrive high on confidence after Iran drew 2-2 with Ukraine last week

Fereshteh Karimi Among Top Players

W ith the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 kicking off in Bangkok on Wednesday, The-AFC.com eyes five players in the tournament’s second edition.
The star and Most Valuable Player of the 2015 edition of the tournament, Fereshteh Karimi, is expected to lead Iran to back-to-back titles and reproduce the stunning form she showed in Malaysia three years ago.
The Tehran-born star scored six goals, including the winner in the final, and found the net a further five times as Iran took bronze at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Long considered one of Asia’s finest players, Iran’s Fereshteh Karimi gets the opportunity at the Thai event to further enhance her already-glittering reputation, as she will arrive high on confidence after Iran drew 2-2 with Ukraine last week.
Iran will start its title defense against Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in an all-Central Asian affair in Group D of AFC Women’s Futsal Championship slated for May 2-12 in Thailand.
Iran was crowned as the inaugural champions of the games after beating Japan 1-0 in a thrilling final in September 2015, Malaysia. Thailand and Malaysia took the third and fourth places respectively.

 Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan Players
The star of Uzbekistan’s women’s football national team and 2017 Uzbek Female Footballer of the Year, Lyudmila Karachik, will make her debut at an AFC futsal tournament after featuring in a number of outdoor competitions at the continental level.
While she has made her name on the football map, the forward is no stranger to the five-a-side game, having played futsal throughout much of her junior career. Fans of the Central Asian will be hoping for a repeat of her three goals in four matches in Uzbekistan’s 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
Cheung Wai Ki became the first Hong Kong international to win silverware in Australia’s prestigious W-League competition while playing for Brisbane Roar earlier this year. The 27-year-old also scored Hong Kong’s only goal in their attempt to qualify for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.
Thailand 2018 will be Cheung’s first AFC Women’s Futsal Championship, but she has previously appeared with distinction at the 2013 and 2017 editions of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games respectively.
A key contributor when Thailand won gold at the SEA Games in Malaysia last August and top scorer when they repeated the dose at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat a month later, Sasicha Phothiwong enjoyed a 2017 to remember in the national shirt.
The 26-year-old made headlines with her six-goal performance in a 16-1 thrashing of Palestine in Ashgabat, but it was her two early goals in Thailand’s 4-1 semifinal victory of China PR, which proved most crucial in the Southeast Asians’ run to the gold medal.
No less a hero when Japan reached the final in 2015, Shiori Nakajima came desperately close to forcing the decider against Iran to extra time, only to be denied on two occasions by Iranian goalkeeper Farzaneh Tavassoli.
The on-court leader was also influential, as Japan had to settle for a second consecutive silver medal on the Asian stage in Ashgabat last year.
One of few players in the tournament to ply their trade in Europe, with Spain’s FSF Mostoles, 29-year-old Nakajima will be hoping to take the East Asians one step further, and their first official Asian title.

 Biennial Championship
The 2018 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship will be the second edition of the biennial international championship organized by the Asian Football Confederation for the women’s national teams of Asia.
A total of 15 teams will participate in the tournament. This edition will see seven teams, namely Taiwan, Macau, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Bangladesh and Indonesia, making their debut in the games.
The host Thailand is set to face Hong Kong, Indonesia and Macau in Group A. In Group B, Malaysia takes on Vietnam, Chinese Taipei and Bangladesh, while Japan was drawn with China PR, Bahrain and Lebanon in Group C.

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