Team Melli fans: Aspirations , misleading or loss of focus
The responses to the polls conducted by Team Melli.com before the FIFA World Cup 2014, and then during and after the World Premiere football show , was really intended to gauges the response and the heartbeat of the fans across the World. In a sense, we wanted to know was what were/are the expectations of the fans and whether the results of the World Cup met their expectations.
The results of the polls caused some intriguing discussions and some amount of confusions and soul-searching.
on June 17, 2014 , we asked the fans “ What is the level of your expectation of Team Melli in the World Cup? What would you consider as a satisfying outcome?”
51% answered Qualify for the next round while 19% only said “play beautiful football:
Jus to to make sure that we understand the fans right , we asked “ How many points Iran will get in the World Cup 2014?” the overwhelming majority 71%, said 3 points or more. While only 13% said 1 point only.
Team Melli neither qualified for the Next round nor did it play a beautiful or impressive football. Almost all of the few legionnaires we had in Europe were relegated with their clubs and ended up migrating to the warmer shores of the Persian Gulf leagues. This is a sharp contrast to every other World Cup Iran took part in which many of the players found interested European suitors and ended up playing in reputable European leagues.
This time , it was clear that Team Melli had one of the worst World Cups on and off the field. It certainly fell short of the expectations of the fans and the aspiration of qualifying for the next round. However, the whole picture suddenly got blurred in our next poll when we asked:
“How would you rate Queiroz work in the 3 ½ years with Iran including the 2014 FIFA World Cup?”
51% said Good, while another 34% rated his work as “Excellent, The best choice and the best result” ! That would be a total of 84% of the voters who have expressed their satisfaction with the performance of a coach who, as the major influence in the team performance and result, attained the poor result in a team which was really pretty mediocre to say the least! If we leave emotions aside, Iran actually played some ugly footballing ranking the bottom of the 32 teams in passing and major stats.
There are many scenarios that can be assumed from such polls, depending on what angle it is looked at. One of such is that the fans have accepted the low level for Iranian football and have little ambition that this team can win the long-lost glories of the Team Melli of the seventies when it ruled Asia for decades. Therefore the slightest of a positive, such as a good defense or not allowing to be heavily defeated , is considered a great achievement !
The other scenario is the loss of confidence by the fans in Iranian football of anything domestic be it the players, Managers, Coaches and administration in general. In a scene like this, a foreign coach appears, and despite his inferior delivery, he is considered as a Messiah amongst a bunch of incompetent operators.
One more scenario can be that the fans really do not follow Iranian domestic football close enough , and who can blame them for that , hence their perspectives, information and aspirations become cloudy. The Persian Gulf League that has started this season already, was hardly exciting for anyone bar the diehards. It is safe to say that club football in Iran is going downhill and that is clearly reflected in Team Melli despite attempts to inject dual-nationality European based players.
It is really regrettable that nobody is really interested in Iranian football after the World Cup. In teammelli.com we have experienced this first had. After the plethora of the inquiries, request for information and various media activities , the disappointing performance left the rest of the world focusing on other teams and ignoring Iran and Asia altogether.
In reality, who is really interested in watching a team whose entire mission in life is to park the bus in front of the goal, and everything else such as passing , penetrating the defenses, shooting and scoring are secondary and less important elements of the game.
However, we believe that there is much more potential in Iran’s football that what is being presented to us right now.
Iran is a championship breeding nation. Iranian teams and individual athletes have proven to the world that they can compete at the highest level of any competition in many sports. However, if the fans are misled into thinking or heaven forbids, tricked to be satisfied with the current results and performances of their football teams, like we witnessed in the World Cup, then what is there to force those people at the helm to change for the better? What is the catalyst for change? The football federation and the system supporting it , think they are doing a great job and slowly but surely , convincing the fans as well , and that is precisely where the tragedy could occur!
A typical example, is the recent statement that “the AFC Asian Cup 2015 is not a priority, The World Cup 2018 is” that was quoted by Kaffashian and Queiroz. While we believe that such a statement and mentality is an insult to the aspiration of the Iranian football fans, other fans and even media reporters, might actually be tricked into believing this rhetoric. This is a notorious tactic used to buy time which has been deployed by many administrations and coaches to cover their shortfalls and lack of success. In short promising that the next championship , which is normally on a four years cycle, will be better , puts the pressure of the coaches and the administrations to deliver good results!
Any match that Team Melli is involved in , the team and the squad is representing the good name of Iran and its people. Every match is important. Every championship is important, especially and particularly the Asian Cup, where at least there is a good chance of winning the trophy. Trying to dilute this historic competition where Iran is a pioneer and three times champions , is nothing short of escapism, diversion and insult to the fans.