Nelo Vingada , the 60 years old Portuguese coach is at the brink of signing a 3 years contract to coach Iran’s U-23 team.
The much traveled coach who had a short stint as Perspolis head coach in 2009 , has been negotiating with the FFIRI for months and it is reported that both sides have agreed terms and the signing will be conduct after the return of Ali Kaffashian from Iraq.
Currently , there is no coach for the U-23 team or Olympic team , however , with the 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014 in mind next September , followed by the Rio Olympic Games 2016 qualifiers, FFIRI opted to have a long term plan for the U-23/Olympic team. The appointment of a high profile coach was deemed as a priority.
The selection of Vingada was no doubt influenced by Carlos Queiroz , a close friend and associate. The pair (Queiroz and Vingada) led Portugal to lifting the FIFA U21 World Cup back in 1989 & 1991. Vingada’s last involvement with Iranian football was his advisory role to Queiroz during this current World Cup campaign [Full story]
The selection of the experienced Vingada will at least mean harmony between the two coaches of Team Melli, as Queiroz has not been having a cordial relationship with other club coaches in Iran. Club coaches have accused the Team melli coach of ignoring them in making decision that affects their teams and the matter came into a a loggerhead with the 4 clubs coaches taking part in the AFC Asian Champions league.
The other coach who was on FFIRI short list for the Olympic team was the Danish Flemmings, who coached his country’s u-21 team and also Mes Kerman youth teams.
Vingada has a tough job reviving the fortunes of the disappointing Olympic team which has failed to qualify for the final stages since 1980. After qualifying for the Moscow games, the first achievement of the post-revolution , Iran boycotted the Moscow Olympic games and subsequently the football teams did not have a chance to improve on their best performance in 1976 Montreal Olympics. However , the U-23 team has performed very well at the Asian Games level winning a gold medal in 2002, one bronze medal 2006 and one fourth place ranking in 2010.
The proposed squad which will be available for Vingada will mostly consist of the U-21 players with prominent players such as Sardar Azamoun and Alireza Jahanbakhsh available for selection.