Iran's farewell to legendary goalkeeper

Thousands of Iranians have gathered to bid farewell to former goalkeeper Nasser Hejazi after he succumbed to a bitter battle against lung cancer.

Crowds of black-clad mourners gathered in a funeral procession held at the Azadi Stadium and Hejazi's body was then buried in Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

The fans were holding pictures of the legendary goalkeeper at the ceremony attended by veteran football players and officials including Persepolis head coach Ali Daei, former Iranian goalkeeper Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh and the head coach of Iran's national football team, Carlos Queiroz.

Born in 1949, Hejazi was one of the most celebrated football players in Iran.

He won the Asian championships with the national team twice and was the first Iranian keeper to play in the World Cup. He was best remembered for his heroic performance for the national team at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

In 2000, the Asian Football Confederation ranked Hejazi as the second best Asian goalie of the 20th century.

Hejazi had 62 caps for the national team and he was also the keeper of Tehran's Esteqlal FC. He was the head coach of a number of clubs including Esteqlal of Tehran and Esteqlal of Ahvaz.

Hejazi, who had been fighting against cancer for one year and half, lost his battle on May 23, 2011.

May 31, 2011 21:35


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