Team Melli conducted its last practise session before the China game at Sanat Naft research institute field in Tehran today morning. The session was attended by all the 23 players of the squad and no injuries were reported among the players. There was an initial fear that Alireza Jahanbakhsk who received a knock against Qatar, might be absent for this match, however, Jahanbakhsh practised with the squad and there is no sign of any problem.
The interesting event was the appearance of a new face in the coaching staff. A Portuguese coach named Alexander López , turned up quietly and started coaching the three goalkeepers, Alireza Biranvand , Mazaheri and Akhbari. Of course, Team Melli management from Saket to the PR officer maintained absolute silent about the sudden disappearance of the American Goal Keeping coach Dan Gaspar who has accompanied Queiroz for a long time and was the most popular of all the coaches amongst the players and the administrators. It is believe that he has been sacked like Peyrovani, Nekounam & Aghajanian.
What is known of these changes, is that Queiroz by his own wisdom, suddenly decides that these staff are of no use to his plans and fires them. Dan Gasper was the only non-Iranian in the list. Since there has been no official announcement, or communication by the FFIRI , that is the strongest of the many speculations.
Lack of transparency, covert like practices, extreme self-centeredness has marred Team Melli for many years now. In such circumstances, rumors and speculation play a major role and as such , is detrimental for the squad.
In another development, The Italian Marcello Lippi , China’s national team head coach , failed to appear for the post-match press conference. The Chinese failed to provide a justification for his absence which is mandatory practice by the FIFA ruling, hence China will be fined. Not that such a fine will rattle the finances of the Mega-rich Chinese.