In an exclusive interview with ISNA , Ali Kaffashian admitted that Team Melli result has been a deep disappointment for the Sport fans in Iran and accepted that the recent loss to Lebanon was on par with defeats against Saudi Arabia at Azadi in the last World Cup campaign and the loss to Bahrain in the qualification for the 2002 World Cup.
The President of the Iranian Football Federation , however , distanced his administration from blame and the poor performance of Carlos Queiroz and his team!
Asked by the reporter if he accepts that the performance of the Team Melli in the recent months and particularly in the World Cup Qualifiers, has been dismal and unacceptable while other sports in Iran are delivering and achieving historic feats , particularly the best ever Olympics and Para-Olympics results in addition to the success of Iran’s Volleyball team , Kaffashian agreed and said that he definitely accepts that Iran’s football team results has been grossly disappointing for the fans and played substandard. Kafashian said he realizes that the fans, experts ,administrators and even the players themselves are very disappointed by the loss against Lebanon which is as worst as the two famous losses against Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “This loss has hit us heavily and we are quite concerned with it. We have expressed our concern since the poor performance with Uzbekistan and Qatar but we really expected to get at least a good result against Lebanon. It was not to be.” The president of IRIFF said.
Kaffashian continued “These are defining moments , a loss or victory were equally important and defining. This loss is a heavy blow to us but at this stage we have no other option but to support the team and the coaching staff as much as we can. Our objective is to make the fans happy and hence we have to work towards that.”
Asked about his own personal opinion why Team Melli is performing so poorly and below expectation, Kaffashian said that the coach has been with Team Melli for close to one and a half year. Queiroz has been fully supported and all provided with the resources available even it it meant pulling those resources away from the clubs. The coach had ample time to watch the teams and select his own players and according to his own wishes , so , it is apparent that the complexion and the fabric of this team has major weaknesses.
Kaffashian’s conclusion was that the clubs have not produced quality players to feed the National team. “ Years ago , the clubs provided good player and hence we had good and successful Team Melli. Even if there was some negative results , Team Melli played well , at least and that was the least the fans expected from Team Melli all the time , to play a good match.” “ However , this team is not doing so. The core of the problem remains the weak supply by the clubs , failure to produce quality players , failure to raise and develop players from youth system which has ultimately affected the performance and the output of our national team.”
Kaffashian’s stressed that Team Melli must bounce back and needs to deliver. A failure will be very harmful to our football and the first people who will suffer from such failure would be the players themselves.
When quizzed about the role of the Football federation in all these failures, Kaffashian , said the federation has no real role in all this . According to him , the role of the federation is restricted to employ the best coach available. “Carlos Queiroz is now ranked no 15 in the world (!) and first in Asia, whatever the coaching staff asked , we provided, including arranging of camps and friendly matches. All this support was despite the fact that the finances were tight at the federation but we have not stopped at anything for the sake of Team Melli. Our conscious is clear despite the fact that this team has not responded well and performed poorly. “ Kaffashian said in his own defense.
DO you think that the situation now is beyond us and depended on others , Kaffashian expressed his concern that at this stage it looks like the destiny of Team Melli is more dependent on others rather than the teams own result. “ Yes , I think we are going to that direction , one more bad result , and that would probably be for certain that we have to wish for the others to fail ”
On the issue of that was recently discussed in the Iranian sport media demanding an apology from the football federation to the sport fans due to these series of poor results, Kaffashian categorically refused to provide any such apology and insisted that an apology will make no difference on the fate of the team.
Kaffashian denied any intention by the federation to interfere in Queroz job and that includes player’s selections, he said that the coach is responsible and accountable for the team and there is no need to impose anything on him by the federation.