Category: Editorials

Analysis of Reza Enayati’s Tenure in Iranian Football

Failure stories.

Last year, Iran’s Omid football team faced a significant setback when they were eliminated from the Asian Olympic football competition qualifiers after a surprising defeat against Hong Kong. This loss dashed their hopes of advancing to the next stage of the Olympic qualifiers. The team’s head coach, Reza Enayati, was a controversial choice due to his lack of coaching experience. His appointment came with the backing of several officials, including Team Melli’s head coach, Amir Ghalenoei. Unfortunately, Enayati’s inexperience was glaringly evident both in his squad selection and his management during the qualifiers. Despite having a roster filled with promising young talents, some of whom were already part of Iran’s senior team, Enayati’s tactical shortcomings led to the team’s early exit against a modest Hong Kong side.

The aftermath of this failure was met with widespread disappointment from both the media and fans, who demanded accountability from the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI). However, no significant actions were taken, and the pervasive impunity in Iranian football continued unabated. Surprisingly, despite this major setback, Enayati was soon appointed as the head coach of Peykan Football Club, one of Tehran’s oldest and most prestigious teams. This decision was perplexing, especially given Peykan’s history of developing young players for Iran’s national teams at various levels.

Enayati’s tenure at Peykan proved to be another disastrous chapter in his coaching career. Under his leadership, the team suffered relegation from the Premier League following a 0-2 defeat against Esteghlal in the final week of the season. This relegation marked a significant blow, as Peykan had been a mainstay in the top flight for many years. Tehran’s football scene also took a hit, losing one of its Premier League representatives.

Given these consecutive failures, it raises questions about whether any CEO would be willing to entrust Enayati with a team for the next season. However, it appears that those who supported Enayati’s appointment despite his failure with the Omid team may once again find a new opportunity for him.

Enayati’s situation is emblematic of broader issues within Iranian football, including incompetency, corruption, and nepotism. The rapid progression of former players to coaching roles without adequate training, certification, or experience is a troubling trend. Coaches like Nekounam, Shojaei, and Navidkia are examples of individuals who have been given significant coaching responsibilities without meeting international standards. In contrast, European leagues often require formal coaching certifications and a thorough vetting process before appointments, a practice largely ignored in Iran.

This lack of process and disregard for international coaching standards not only hampers the development of Iranian football but also undermines its credibility on the global stage. For Iranian football to progress, there needs to be a significant overhaul in how coaches are trained, certified, and appointed, ensuring that competence and meritocracy replace the current culture of favoritism and expediency.

Now Shakhtar sulking CEO is demanding!!

The Daily Mail has reported a Ukrainian team by the name of Shakhtar demanding FIFA to kick Iran out of the World Cup and replace it with Ukraine !!!!

The audacity of some is beyond belief!

The Daily Mail’s report says:

Shakhtar Donetsk’s CEO Sergei Palkin wants Ukraine to replace Iran at the World Cup amid reports Tehran has supplied Russia with drones to aid their invasion.

The Ukrainian capital city Kyiv was stuck by Iranian-made ‘kamikaze’ drones deployed by Russian forces last week.

President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed seven such drones had been shot down, while the United States said Iran has deployed military experts in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Footage emerged of police officers shooting down what local authorities described as an Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Kyiv.

Iran has pleaded its ‘neutrality’ in the conflict but Ukraine has already downgraded diplomatic ties with Tehran and now the chief of one of its leading football teams has demanded further punishment.

The Iranians open their World Cup campaign in Qatar against England on November 21 and also face the United States and Wales in Group B.

In a statement released on Shakhtar’s Twitter feed, Palkin wrote: ‘While the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles.

The chief executive of Shakhtar Donetsk has called for Ukraine to replace Iran at the World Cup!!

Our Take…

So…it seems that the UIkranian’s motive has very little to do with any drones as the motive is for their team, which has lost in the play-off in the qualifiers, to get a free out-of-jail card similar to the Italian claims. These people have no virtue or honor and have mistaken football for the mafia and the cartel by trying to swindle their way into the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

As for the Ukrainian club, with zero achievements in its international history, the devious CEO of that club, if he had an ounce of honor, should have advised the Ukrainian national team players to engage themselves in defending their country and supporting the needy in their homeland, rather than spending a couple of weeks enjoying a first-class treat and luxury life in Doha while their families and friends are suffering under deadly attacks.

Of course, every team will get a minimum of two million dollars just being in Doha, perhaps that was not considered by the Ukrainian CEO as a motive for his cowardice demand, or has it?


The reader’s comments below that have not been moderated and are from the daily mail article.

WilliamsNike, Hub City, United States, 10 minutes ago

Lol oh go away Ukraine. Nobody cares

Why mix sport with politics? Football is one of the few pleasures left in Iran, that women can also enjoy. Punishing the footballers will not bother the Iranian Government in the slightest.

Jesus_Christ_is_Lord, Manchester, United Kingdom, 47 minutes ago

kick politics out of football…or does it only favor European football teams…remember the 2010 incident with the Togo team, when the government tried to step in and got banned for a few tournaments??

The Soccer Politics.

Why are we not surprised by the news that Canada has canceled the friendly match against Iran in Vancouver?

Competition-wise, it was an excellent test for Team Melli against a strong Canada team with similarities in style and physique to the Americans whom Iran would meet in Doha in the World Cup. In fact, despite the constant criticism that we have against the administration of the FFIRI, which remains quite poor regardless, pulling off such a friendly game was indeed a coup!

It was a long shot but somehow it was arranged to the credit of the FFIRI.

BUT…on the political side, it was a time bomb. Ultimately, politics won as it always does. Not very dissimilar to what we are experiencing against Russian football and athletes, except Russia claimed to be an aggressor in a war, while Iran has no such claims against it and has always been a target and a victim. Never mind the rhetoric of the self-proclaimed bearers of Human Rights, regimes like Canada cannot survive being independent of the American policies and Zionist influence hence Canada vs. Iran was always under threat. Iran playing right next door to the Americans would be a victory for the enemy and the Americans won’t like it. The US government would not allow that satisfaction for the Iranians.  Why would the Prime Minister of Canada intervene in a football match, doesn’t the man have more important things to do like running a country?

Trudeau simply did not want to upset his masters in Washington, the game was not going to happen, period. No doubt, Soccer Canada will come up with a bunch of excuses for canceling the game, but in reality, it is nothing but succumbing to political pressure no more no less.

In any case, this one-sided cancelation once again highlights the plight of Iran’s football lack of skilled and professional management. The FFIRI is in serious need of a competent cadre of highly experienced management personnel who have the skills, aptitude, and intelligence to run such an important organization in the country. Of course, we do realize that the government will never cease to interfere by pushing its own agents into the administration with all kinds of tricks, but there is still a great need to find a solution for this dilemma cum incompetency that is hindering the natural development of football in Iran.

Now that the Canada match is off, and that never officially confirmed match against Ecuador was also off, Iran has to scramble in the dustbin to find an opponent for the upcoming FIFA Day. It might even have to pay those pathetic Albanians after all to save Iran’s blushes and arrange a friendly game somewhere, possibly Doha.

In the end, it is no one except the FFIRI’s fault, no matter how many excuses they would come up with for Team Melli to be deprived of a strong opponent with only a few months left to the World Cup.

Geopolitics of Football.

The recent news of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism against “Canada Soccer” for arranging a friendly international match against Iran in Vancouver, reflects on how geopolitics is affecting the game as much as how hypocritical and biased the western politicians are becoming.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the geopolitics of the invasion crept into the world of football. FIFA, the world governing body, under pressure from the west addressed the Russian invasion by suspending Russia and its football clubs from all competitions on February 28, including the ultimate one: the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar. The Justification was poor and unprecedented. There was no global and agreed UN resolution of any kind. FIFA never suspended the USA for invading Iraq or Afghanistan and committing genocides in the process.

The non-western world was shocked by such influence of politics on football. while FIFA always enforced its policy against the government and political interference in the game, it has historically tried to avoid geopolitics impacting the sport in principle. However, it is now clear that the game is not played on even grounds.

Nevertheless, the biggest shock that exposed the mentality of prejudice was the western Media’s hypocrisy and double standard. Although nothing to do with football, white reporters kept on highlighting the plight of civilized Ukrainian refugees, with white skin and blue eyes, in such acts of duplicity, prejudice, and downright bias that exposed the inherent bias against non-whites and people of other ethnic groups, races and/or religions. Embracing hate against non-whites, was perhaps subdued and carefully vetted but Ukraine made it flagrantly clear that extreme right and white supremacy is on the rise and sometimes flagrant.

It also highlighted that when it comes to their self-interest, the spirits of Olympics, sports, and others are dumped in the bin.

Russia’s suspension by FIFA was significant for two reasons. First, FIFA historically doesn’t punish countries for intrastate conflicts. Secondly, this is the first time that FIFA sided with boycotters. Moreover, the integration of politics with the World Cup goes beyond the Russian invasion, as the choice of Qatar as the host nation invited a significant backlash.

Normally, it is the role of the United Nations (UN) to sanction countries and member states following the resolution agreed upon. FIFA’s speedy suspension of Russia marks the first time since 1950 that FIFA allowed the intrastate conflict to play a role in its disciplinary decision-making without a prior United Nations (UN) resolution preempting it. Since World War II, most intrastate conflicts haven’t resulted in suspensions from FIFA. Two prominent examples stand out. England and Argentina participated in the Spain World Cup in 1982, despite the UK considering withdrawal during the Falkland War occurring earlier that year. Additionally, Iran and Iraq fought a brutal eight-year war during the 1980s, but FIFA suspended neither nation from the 1982 and 1986 World Cups (with Iraq being the aggressor).

Iran, itself has been condemned umpteen times for mixing politics with sport. Its boycott of the state of Israel is well known in every sport. Its Judo federation was finally suspended due to that. It is fortunate that Iran and Israel are far apart when it comes to football with The Jewish state not qualifying for the World Cup since its only appearance in Mexico in 1970. Can you imagine if Iran refused to play a country it does not recognize in a World Cup?

We have to face reality and that this world is controlled by the mighty powerful and the rich. Equality, human rights, peaceful existence, friendship, and understanding are all slogans that the west preaches to us and will use in their quest to dominate and influence the world. Unfortunately, football has fallen victim to this strategy. A character such as Trudeau, who is a known vehement anti-Iran politician with a special bias against the theocracy of the Mullahs, is part of such domination strategy and thus feels obliged to express his objection against a football match!

Fortunately, Canada is a democratic society where one person cannot dictate his whims or rules without the consent of the parliament. That cannot be said of Iran, of course.

And hence, Canada vs Iran match in Vancouver is on and 95% of the tickets have already been sold. Take that!

Women humiliated around Imam Reza Stadium!

Once again Iran football was in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

The government security forces stationed in Imam Reza Stadium in the holy city of Mashad forcefully prevented women from entering the stadium for a unique and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch their beloved Team Melli playing.

There has been enough written about the subject of women’s entry into stadiums in Iran. FIFA, despite its own corrupt practices and the dominance of the powerful lobbies in its decision making, rightly threatened Iran with a ban a few months back, if they stopped women from attending football matches.

Feeling the high risk of public discontent, the wrath of the masses, and very possible eruption of violence in the streets if Team Melli were to be thrown out of the World Cup because of that, the authorities dominated by clerics and bigots, succumbed to pressure. They allowed Iranian females to attend a few international matches with extreme restrictions.

However, in the match against Lebanon, the final qualifier match for both teams, the regime was back to its old tricks!

The security forces, deployed pepper spray on Tuesday against females who were also subjected to insults, pushed, shoved around by a brutal security force outside Imam Reza stadium. The females were told to go home as there are no place for them in the stadium. Many of the women held genuine tickets.

Of course, the old finger-pointing, denials, the blame game, and the all-time favorite speech that this was all the work of the great Satan, will start to be circulating, but the fact remains that the government through their security agents has once again exposed the ugly part of the country to the outsiders. It has put the good name of Iran into disrepute with such uncivilized treatment of women. The Persian society from thousands of years ago has valued women’s roles, importance, and always appreciated their part. They are now being demoted, devalued, humiliated by the very regime that is supposed to protect them.

Not only they are being constantly prosecuted for not covering their hair or wearing the hijab according to the whims of a few, but they have also been deprived of the freedom of watching a football match too. This is one of the hundreds of other restrictive rules and practices of this clerical regime.

It is very sad to admit that the only way that the regime understands, and respects international law is by throwing the book at them. FIFA will surely reach the conclusion that it is dealing with deceptive and conniving people. A total ban on international matches in Iran is very much on the card. Iran has few friends and many enemies, and that will be reflected in any FIFA decision.

A critical look at Team Melli.

Team Melli got the result it wanted against the UAE and put further pressure on Korea Rep for the race at the top of the group. With qualification assured, it was an excellent opportunity for Dragan Skocic to introduce changes in the lineup, but to the great disappointment of many, he stuck with the same players except for those enforced changes such as through suspensions or Covid.

If the mission of Skocic was just to finish the match with three points and minimum damage, then he achieved that objective, but it was far from pretty. A countless number of passes went astray, the finishing in front of the goal was abysmal, final balls lacking accuracy, misunderstanding between players and lack the sense of urgency and accuracy. Players were guilty of some unprofessional works at this level. Team Melli must look beyond the final two games of the group, although the one against Korea is a good test, and start looking forward to how would they like to play and compete.

To be recognized and accepted, Team Melli has a long way to go in a relatively limited time period.

Player’s selections and Opportunities

Skocic pick for the match was frustrating. If Team Melli has any aspiration to stand and be counted amongst the elite in Qatar, then Skocic must think positively and bravely to build a team of 23 highly-rated players and not just stick with a skeleton of 11 to 13 fixed starters. That was Queiroz regime style and despite the limited success of Queiroz’s team, it failed to go beyond the group stages in Russia and did not win the title in the Asian Cup 2019.

To give players confidence, Skocic must offer them the chance to play and perform. The bench players must be as good as the main players. Bench players must be integrated and there is no better way of such integration except actually giving them the minutes at any opportunity.

Skočić missed that opportunity against the UAE. Perhaps fear of losing was the catalyst and that is understandable. It is not a crime for a coach to be result-oriented, however, there is a time when the future integration and strength of the team must take priority.

Shaky individual Performances

Non-performing players or those who are consistently playing sub-standard games must realize that they would lose their place in the lineup. For example, both Ghoddos and Gholizadeh were poor against Iraq, yet they both kept their places against UAE. To create the spirit of competition amongst the players, Skocic could have dropped them for this match to send a signal to everyone else that there is no such thing as a permanent place in the team, sub-standard performances have consequences, there are alternative options who can fill the gap and the team is more important than the interest of the individuals.

That methodology has proven to work, as the problem with Taremi proved not long ago.

Most professional coaches religiously adhere to this mindset, Skocic must follow too. If a player is selected to play, he must deliver.

If a player continues playing weakly and yet he is still picked up for matches, there will be a sense of injustice and disappointment in the team the consequences of which is unimaginable.

Players must feel that bad performances will have consequences and hence give it 100% effort. Players in Team Melli must understand that there are at least two if not more players that can take their place if they do not deliver. This is missing in Skocic team.

Professional players of this generation will develop a false sense of security and believe in their own vitalness. Only a good professional coach can change that.

Disciplinary acts.

Then there was another disturbing part. The disciplinary record of Team Melli is absolutely dismal. There are far too many yellow and red cards awarded to them. It is an indication of lack of guile, professionalism, and most probably negligence.  There are certain Team Melli players that one feels could be dismissed anytime due to a wild or mistimed tackle, pure negligence, and lack of maturity. leading to suspensions and negative effects on the team. Whatever it takes, Skocic and his coaching staff must strengthen the mental agility and emotional control of the players. The World Cup is too valuable of a place for the Team to lose players through suspensions because of loss of concentration.

Game Plan

While there were some nice touches and inter-passing, despite the lack of continuity, the game plan against the UAE was not clear specifically at the forward end. There were few crosses on the flanks while Iran has the best players who could cross. There was also a lack of aerial firepower up front where the like of Taremi can excel, the direction and control of the midfield were lost mainly due to the failure of the Team Melli midfielders in keeping the ball and timely distribution. Game plans normally do not cater for players’ dismissal and that could have been a reason for the bewilderment of the team, however, even with one player short, Team Melli still managed to miss at least two certain goals!

Creativity and flexibility.

Team Melli is struggling to break down compact defense teams. Even if that is successfully done, the rate of conversion against the chances created is poor. There has been an embarrassing number of easy scoring chances missed

The problems stem from the heart of midfield. The sight of Team Melli probing from side to side, with a painful lack of incision, has left some critics lacking in confidence in the team. Flanks that feed the tall attackers seem to go missing in action. Apart from Jahanbakhsh, no other midfield player seems to have the vision and the creativity that is required at the top-level competition. The generations of Khodadad Aziz, Mehdi Mahdavikia, Ali Karimi, Nekounam which then continued with Mojtaba Jabbari, Ando Teymourian, and Ashkan Dejagah have served the Team well through the years, now such creativity is simply lacking.

The root cause is the standard of the domestic league in Iran which is feeble and has failed to produce the quality required at the international level. The solution at Skocic’s hand. Somehow he must address this complicated issue.

Skocic serves his sentence , but what about the cheaters?

Dragan Skocic, the head coach of Team Melli, got super excited after some tense moments during the match with the Lebanese national team. When Sardar Azmoun scored the equalizer, the Croat who was feeling immense pressure with his team a goal behind in the dying minutes of the match, jumped with joy running towards the Lebanese bench,  demonstrating his excitement while pointing towards the stretcher that the Lebanese players used umpteen times in the match.

The Qatari referee brandished the red card to Skocic and sent him to the stands.

The FIFA disciplinary committee issued its verdict and suspended Skocic for one match which he served against Syria. In addition, Skocic was ordered to pay 5,000 Swiss francs, which must be paid within 30 days of the date of notification.

Skocic will be able to lead Team Melli from the bench in the match against Iraq in January 2022.

While Skocic had no business encroaching into the opposing team’s area to demonstrate his anger at the host team that was not playing football like gentlemen and professionals, faking injuries, cheating, and simulating in a farce and obvious manner, the Qatari referee was an accessory, aiding and abated in this farcical act of deception. The fault ultimately falls on the world’s governing body to stop such ridiculous behavior in football. History reminds us that FIFA can and has acted before to stop such acts of anti-football. Cast your mind back to the game between Ireland and Egypt in  FIFA World Cup 1990.

Because of the Egyptian blatant time-wasting and killing of the game, it banned the passing of the ball to goalkeepers.

FIFA needs to act again. It is their full responsibility to act against teams like Lebanon and many others who use time-wasting by faking players’ injuries who drop dead with every tackle. There is no excuse for FIFA inaction. Anyone who has a passion for the beautiful game of football, must take a stand against such acts and make their voice heard against cheating.  While VAR and technology are being extensively used, it is about time that this type of technology or alternatives is also used to punish players who cheat. In this part of the world, there are aplenty.

A big call to make on Beiranvand!

Alireza Beiranvand, Team Melli’s number one goalkeeper, is going through some bad patch both at the club and national Team level these days. After conceding four goals in Boavista’s game against FC Porto to experience a bitter day against Mehdi Taremi and his teammates, he also conceded another five in the next game against Famalisao, in total he has conceded nine goals in two games.

However, this dip in performance did not seem to affect Dragan Skocic’s confidence as Beiranvand was picked in the starting lineup against Lebanon. As expected, he started the match in which he continued performing dreadfully against Lebanon. He still could not put things right and perform as well as expected from him.

Beiranvand was the main culprit in Team Melli conceding a goal in that match. Despite the oddity and the very strong possibility that the ball was in fact traveled well beyond the line out of play, he was nevertheless at fault for his unprofessional response. While he should have been watching the flight of the ball and being alert, he instead watched the linesman ignoring the field and raising his hand as if such action will stop the game! A clever and opportunistic Lebanon forward scored what must have been an easy gift the type of which he might never experience again at the international level.

It was a poor goal to concede even at a much lower level of competition, let alone a match in a World Cup qualifier.

The second major mistake of the day from the shaky Beiranvand came in the second half when he decided to dribble the Lebanese forward in his 6 yards area in the 55th minute of the game. As the forward was pressing on him and getting real close, in haste Beiranvand released the ball and gave it away to another Lebanon forward, waiting for a mistake, who had an empty goal in front of him, It was another gift for Lebanon!. Thanks to the great interception by Sadegh Moharrami that the shot was deflected to a corner saving Beiranvand and the Team.

A goal would have put Lebanon 2-0 up and the recovery would have been extremely difficult especially considering gift goals by Team Melli players.

There is no doubt that Alireza Beiranvand is a liability after consecutive poor performances. He is shaky and his confidence must be at the ebb. Starting him against Syria is now considered a great risk for the Team in which Skocic will be sitting on the stands as he is suspended. However, like Taremi’s absence, Team Melli has a solid bench for goalkeeping. Abedzadeh and young Niazmand are both capable and ready to slot in and relieve the underconfident Beiranvand.

Every footballer will have some downturn in his fortune and experience a bad performance patch. It remains to be seen if Skocic and the rest of the coaching staff will risk using Beiranvand against Syria, or exercise caution and rationale by choosing either of the two keepers.

The coaches of Team Melli must consider the effect of repeated failure on the psychology of a player.

There is a serious risk wherein if Beiranvand starts against Syria and heaven forbids, commits further mistakes that lead to a goal or goals conceded, the emotional uneasiness and the feeling of guilt will perhaps destroy the confidence of Alireza Beiranvand permanently ruining his career in the process. Rationale dictates that Beiranvand should not be exposed to possible psychological agony.

It is a big call for Skocic to make against Syria.

Cracks in the dressing room!!

While Team Melli is comfortably sitting at the top of the table in FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers with a two-point cushion against the closest rival South Korea and 5 points margin against 3rd rank Team, Lebanon, signs of discord and possible conflict are appearing in the squad.

There are always distractors or saboteurs lurking around in Iranian football circles to create controversy with the aim to dictate their agenda by someone stirring up troubles and following the great tradition of creating ” Hashiya”. This time it seems that Skocic is the target while Taremi and Ghoddos are part of the whole episode.

The core of the matter is that Dragan Skocic expressed his opinion about the Iranian footballer’s quality to which Mehdi Taremi took an exception. What Skocic said was nothing far from the truth, as we have witnessed these attributes for decades. Skocic said what accounts to that Iranian players lack technical abilities but physically are the best and capable.
Taremi did not like that and he tweeted against his national team coach perhaps dragging other players into it creating a toxic atmosphere in the dressing room of Team Melli.

Ghoddis’s case is about not being given playing time in the last two matches and his possible absence from the squad for the next match against Lebanon and Syria.

We can all take sides in an argument as people are free to express their opinions however before such decision making one has to look at facts and circumstances when parting judgment.
Taremi is a clear-cut case. He is being silly and as usual, lacks discipline and professionalism, regardless of how many goals he scores. He has undoubted abilities in scoring, his physique is of a great classical forward,  and no one can deny that, however, he is far from a technically accomplished player, yet he is still of great value for Team Melli.

Ghoddos case is more complicated  He is the only Iranian player who plays in the English Premier League and that is no mean feat. He is creative with vision and quality. Ghoddos is the very player that Skocic complains that Iranian teams lack. Yet this skillful creative midfielder that can make an impact on a game is warming the bench!
Whatever the reasons Skocic has for benching Ghoddos, it conflicts with his statement about lack of skill in Iranian footballers. The player has also the right to say that if you don’t want me and I do not get playing time, I might as well stay in London and practice with my club to get better opportunities with Brentford. It is only fair.

Our verdict is with Ghoddos on this despite not knowing the exact details of the reason Goddos left the Azadi without even informing his coach.

One thing that Skocic needs to realize is that needs to keep his words to the absolute minimum. He definitely knows that there are many packs of wolves after him and his job. Despite his immaculate record with Team Melli so far, his name is not Carlos Queiroz so he is not the real charismatic coach that some want. It’s a ridiculous thought, but its is all real with many.

Iranian players sulk if they are criticized and seem to be least comfortable with criticism. They accept and expect nothing short of praise as soon as they turn up. That is a reality that Skocic needs to skillfully deal with. In a football league where coaches blame the earth and the sky and anything in between for their team losses, the management/organization of football is close to comical, a partisan media & fans and lack of strong leadership,  under these circumstances, the Croatian head coach needs to be wise when selecting his word, and wiser in dealing with the players. unfortunately, he can little to change their mentality in a few days where he meets his player.

The improvement of players’ mentality, technical abilities, professionalism, self-discipline, and respect for peers starts at the grassroots level in any country. Iran is no exception. There were the problems lies

So, if Skocic needs to act wisely if he wants to prevail and continue with Team Melli.

Azizi-Khadem’s theory on Team Melli victories!

While the Team Melli fans and many observers praised the performance and the result of Team Melli against Iraq leading to a precious victory, as a result of collective efforts from the head coach to players and support staff, there comes an individual to offer a completely different perspective to this victory.

There always seems to be one individual who manages to undermines the efforts of those who achieved the victory by sending the wrong message.

These messages or series of obscure messages starting from the Syria game came from non-other than the Head of FFIRI. Azizi-Khadem was and still is under heavy criticism for his administration’s failure to fully prepare and support Team Melli for the third round of FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

Lack of adequate financial support, late scheduling and setup of the training camp, and failure to arrange friendly internationals matches are a few of many of his administration failures. However, the man is now claiming that the victory against Iraq is nothing but a “divine intervention”.

A man whose election to the head of FFIRI has raised a lot of eyebrows and shouts of corruption, in a series of statements to the media, has in fact downplayed everything by asserting “Hands of God” theory as the reason for Iran’s victory.

We have seen the hand of divine support, guidance, and mercy of God in this victory, and we hope that these victories will be lasting and continuous and that we deserve this grace and grace of God.”

 “In the core of our existence, is faith and trust in God. Effort, diligence, hard work, planning, etc. are also fruitful (…)

 “Along with strategic planning and effort and practice … we will and will continue to recognize and emphasize that the essential element of trusting in God and divine secret grace.” !!

We ask God to make our football a means of growth and material and spiritual upliftment for us and our society.” Said Azizi-Khadem, after the Team Melli victory against Syria, also considered that victory as the result of “the blessed prayer of the world” for the national team!!

Why would the Whole World Pray for Iran’s victory, he did not explain!

The insiders and skeptics, who are quite a few, consider Aziz-Khadem’s rhetoric as a defense mechanism against his feeble and incompetent management. The man had no decency to credit the players and the coaching staff for a job well done.  Another objective of his is to limit the demands for funds to support Team Melli like setting proper training camps and playing friendly games.