While Team Melli is actively training in the camp set in Dubai, the head coach sent Persepolis players on the first flight back to Tehran from UAE.
This follows the harsh criticism by Branko Ivankovic, the head coach of Persepolis and his club management about the untimely break of the league program demanded by Queiroz and agreed by FFIRI. Earlier on Ivankovic said any failure by Persepolis to win the league title must be shouldered by Carlos Queiroz who disrupts the rhythm of his team.
In a statement to the press, Mehdi Taj the head of FFIRI who approved the Team Melli plans, tried to calm the situation and agreed that any program must be discussed by all stakeholders before being carried out. Taj however blamed the AFC scheduling for the problems of Team Melli. He said ” not only in Iran we suffer from this bad programming by the AFC but also Qatar and UAE suffer from it too. I have talked to Shaikh Salman (AFC President) and expressed my views. He agrees that there should be some changes in the system”
Interestingly enough, both Qatar and UAE are enjoying a full league program without any interruptions at this stage. Qatar and Iran will meet on 22nd March in Doha.
Sending the Persepolis contingent back is worrying as Queiroz has a tendency to castigate players for absenteeism, even if such absentee is beyond the players control. It remains to be seen if Queiroz will take punitive action and leave the Persepolis players out on the bench for the next match against Qatar.
Persepolis has 7 players , the highest number, in the squad of Team Melli. The players arrived in Tehran on Wednesday and met with the club management. None of the players was prepared to give statements to the press after the meeting and leaving the club premises in Tehran.
Goalkeeper: Alireza Biranvand
Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Mohammed Ansari
Midfield: Vahid Amiri, Kamal Kamyabinia
Forward: Mehdi Taromi