Iran’s former soccer star Mehdi Mahdavikia has been appointed as the first Grassroots Ambassador in Asia by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Mahdavikia, along with Chinese female soccer player Bai Lili, were officially named as AFC’s ambassadors during a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 15, 2013 marking the AFC’s Grassroots Football Education Day.
As AFC’s new ambassador, the 2003 Asian Footballer of the Year and the 1997 Young Asian Footballer of the Year, Mahdavikia, will help the continent and particularly Member Associations develop their amateur soccer.
The former Iranian soccer legend appreciated AFC members for their trust given to him to help Asia grassroots soccer.
“I hope I would be able to assist the continent and also MAs in their grassroots efforts and I’m sure my experience in Europe and the Iranian clubs and national team would come in handy,” Mahdavikia said.
He was the captain of popular Iranian soccer team Persepolis from which he retired only last week and he is now helping prepare Iran’s national team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE in August in his transition to the coaching world.
He has also extensive European experience as he has played in German VfL Bochum, Hambuger SV and Eintracht Frankfurt.
A poll recently conducted on the website of the International Federation of Football History & Statistics showed that the 35-year-old Iranian has been voted the most popular soccer player in Asia with 103,703 votes, and the second most well-liked in the world for the year 2012.
By Press TV
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