Iran women’s goalkeeper responds to accusations of being a man
The goalkeeper of the Iran women's national football team has reacted to accusations that she is a man, reportedly accusing rivals Jordan of bullying and threatening legal action.
Zohreh Koudaei saved two penalty kicks in a shootout win against Jordan back in September.
The result guaranteed that Iran qualified for the AFC Women's Asian Cup for the first time in their history, but Jordan's FA went on to lodge a complaint questioning the "eligibility of a participating player".
🇮🇷 🇮🇷 🇮🇷 #TeamMelli QUALIFIED FOR #WAC2022 FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! 👏🏼#Iran Women's National Team won 4 - 2 on penalties against #Jordan 🇯🇴 to secure a historic qualification to the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup @theafcdotcom@afcasiancup📹 🥅 Video of penalty shoot-out - Part 1 pic.twitter.com/2TxMGNRtV3— Gol Bezan (@GolBezan) September 25, 2021
Confirmation of this was provided by its president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein on Twitter, who uploaded his November 5 letter to the Asian Football Confederation while demanding the governing body "wake up".
"It’s a very serious issue if true," he added, as Iran were accused of a history of "gender and doping issues".
After news of the debacle broke internationally at the turn of this week, Koudaei, a seasoned professional born in 1989 who has played in women's football for some time, has reportedly spoken out on the matter.
"I am a woman. It is the bullying that Jordan did to me. I will file a lawsuit," Koudaei threatened, as reported by Turkish outlet Hurriyet.
LIT supports Zohreh Koudaei who has taken a lot of abuse from people in Jordan and elsewhere. Leave her alone. pic.twitter.com/H0IfZVNfjO— Living in Tehran (@LivinginTehran) November 16, 2021
Simultaneously, Iran selector Maryam Irandoost is adamant that "the medical staff have carefully examined each player on the national team in terms of hormones to avoid any problems in this regard".
"And so I tell all fans not to worry," she added to Varzesh3.
"We will provide any documentation that the Asian Confederation of Football wishes without wasting time."
As things stand, Iran will head to India to contest the competition in late January and challenge holders Japan for the crown, with 2023 World Cup spots up for grabs.