Top 5 Asian countries to scout (except South Korea and Japan)



Asia is the most unknown continent on the football map. Of course, everyone knows players from South Korea and Japan. Also, a lot of Australians play in Europe, but it’s not a 100% Asian country. In 2006 Australia moved to AFC, before that Australians represented Oceania. My name is Nikolai Egorychev, I am a scout from Uzbekistan. Today I will tell you about the top-5 Asian countries to scout. 1. Iran FIFA ranking: 20 (2nd in Asia). Number of players in top-5 leagues of Europe: 2 – Saman Ghoddos (Brentford), Sardar Azmoun (Roma). Iran's national team is one of the best in Asia and participated in 5 of the last 7 World Cups. But unfortunately, Iran didn’t reach the playoffs even once. Pro League (Iranian domestic league) is quite good actually, but it’s not available on WyScout. That’s the reason why big clubs need to have a scout in Asia. It’s easier to follow Iranian teams and players through continental tournaments (like AFC Champions League and Asian Cups). Iranian players are strong, tactically educated and disciplined. Here are a few players to check: Mohammad Mohebi (LW/RW, 25 y.o.), Hossein Goudarzi (LB/CB, 22 y.o.), Mohammad Reza Azadi (ST, 24 y.o.), Aria Yousefi (RM/LM, 21 y.o.). 2. Uzbekistan FIFA ranking: 64 (8th in Asia). A number of players in the top-5 leagues of Europe: 2 – Eldor Shomurodov (Cagliari), Abdukodir Khusanov (Lens). Uzbekistan never played at the World Cup. All football fans in the country are waiting for this achievement. The best accomplishment of Uzbekistan at the Asian Cup was 4th place in 2011. This year Uzbekistan lost Qatar (who later won the tournament) in the quarterfinals by penalties. But Uzbekistan youth national teams are more successful: last year Uzbekistan U-20 team won the Asian Cup and U-17 team reached quarterfinals of the youth World Cup. Uzbek players are very skilful and quick. The domestic league (Uzbekistan Superleague) is not a high-level tournament. But Uzbekistan has a lot of good young players and it’s very important for them to move to the better league as soon as possible. You can look at Diyor Kholmatov (CM/AM, 21 y.o.), Bekhruz Askarov (DM/CM, 21 y.o.), Zafarmurod Abdirakhmatov (RB/RM, 20 y.o.), Alibek Davronov (CB, 21 y.o.), Jasur Jaloliddinov (AM/LW, 21 y.o.) and Akmal Mozgovoy (CM/DM, 25 y.o.). 3. Iraq FIFA ranking: 58 (7th in Asia). Number of players in top-5 leagues of Europe: - Iraq just once participated in the World Cup (1986). But results in Asia are much better – 8 times consecutively in the playoffs. At the Asian Cup 2023 Iraq beat Japan (2:1). The team of a Spanish coach, Jesus Casas, played well but left the tournament in Round of 16. Best goalscorer, Aymen Hussein, got a second yellow card for his scandalous celebration. After this Jordan made a comeback from 2:1 to 2:3 with two goals in additional time. Best Iraqi players to follow: Ali Jasim (RW/LW/AM, 20 y.o.), Amir Al-Ammari (CM/DM, 26 y.o.), Mohanad Ali (ST, 23 y.o.), Hussein Ali (RB, 22 y.o.), Safaa Hadi (DM/CM, 25 y.o.) and Abdul Razaq Qassem (DM/CM, 21 y.o.). 4. Jordan FIFA ranking: 71 (10th in Asia). Number of players in the top-5 leagues of Europe: 1 – Moussa Tamari (Montpellier). Jordan was the main sensation of the last Asian Cup. The match ended in a draw 2:2 against South Korea at the group stage (Koreans scored a second goal in additional time). And after that Jordan beat South Korea in the semi-finals 2:0! In the final Jordan was defeated by Qatar with three penalties, two of which were debatable. The best qualities of Jordan players are workability and stamina. The most interesting players are Yazan Al-Naimat (ST, 24 y.o.) and Nizar Al-Rashdan (DM/CM, 25 y.o.). Jordan has a lot of good players though, but almost all of them are 28-30 y.o. 5. Syria FIFA ranking: 89 (14th in Asia). Number of players in top-5 leagues of Europe: 2 – Mahmoud Dahoud (Stuttgart), Aiham Ousou (Cadiz). Syria used naturalization before the Asian Cup. For example, Jalil Elias and Ezequiel Ham, who were born in Argentina, Daleho Irandust from Sweden and famous ex-Bundestim member Mahmoud Dahoud joined the team. At the Asian Cup Syria was defeated by Iran in a penalty shootout. But Syria made a pleasant impression. I think that Syria will be one of the discoveries in Asian football in 2-3 years. The most interesting players of the Syria national team are Mahmoud Al-Aswad (RW/LW, 20 y.o.), Ammar Ramadan (LW/RW, 23 y.o.), Abdul Rahman Oues (RB/RM, 25 y.o.) and Daleho Irandust (AM/RW, 25 y.o.). Of course, Asia also has Arabic countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE etc. But salaries there usually are very high, and that’s the reason why players from these countries don’t want to leave.

P.S. For 2 months, the ScoutDecision team collected testimonials from scouts in our network about their jobs, the tools they use, etc. Now you can read the results for free here: Football Scouting Survey 2024


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