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Iran's legendary keeper Abedzadeh returns to soccer scene

Tehran, Nov 28, IRNA -- Former national keeper and skipper Ahmad-Reza Abedzadeh Sunday returned to the soccer world as a trainer of the blue-clad Esteqlal of Ahvaz, southern Iran.

The legendary keeper signed a one-year contract with the club and will start his work as the goalkeeping coach this week.

photo: ISNA

Abedzadeh got 79 caps as he played his first national game in an Olympic Games qualifier against Kuwait in the Qatari capital Doha in Feb. 82, which Iran won 2-1 and hung his boots following the exit from 1998 France World Cup after a 2-0 loss to Germany in Montpelier.

The 188cm-high ever-smiling goalie was in the spotlight worldwide in Dec. 1997 when Iran held Australia 1-1 and 2-2 due to his spectacular saves and national hero Khodadad Azizi's goals in the two-leg 1998 World Cup playoffs in Tehran and Melbourne respectively, which helped the Asian powerhouse qualify for the most prestigious soccer event after 20 years.

Iran was overwhelmed with grief on March 2, 2002 as the bad news on Abedzadeh's brain hemorrhage spread. He underwent a brain surgery in Kasra Hospital in central Tehran the day after and narrowly survived.

... Payvand News - 11/28/04 ... --

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