Kaffashian confirms AFC sanction against Khakpour.

Ali Kaffashian who has attended the first New AFC Executive committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain confirmed in an interview that the AFC technical Committee does not recognize Mohammad Khakpour as a qualified trainer/coach for Iran’s U-23 team.

Khakpour , with little if any coaching experience at top level football was surprisingly selected to replace Nelo Vingada the coach of Iran’s U23 team or the Olympics team. This was carried out shortly after the disastrous exit of the U-23 team in the Asian games, one of the worst defeats of an Iranian representative team in the history. Widespread condemnations from the media, fans and experts, forced Kaffashian to react to save this team which was supposed to qualify for the Olympics Games in Rio. However, the man who is world famous for his grin and cool demeanor, acted hastily in an attempt to quell what was now some strong disapproval within the federation as well.

The selection of Mohammad Khakpour ahead of many qualified, more experienced and more competent coaches, domestic or foreign shocked many. In essence, FFIRI under Kaffashian could not have done any worse than such a move. To put icing on the cake, Habib Kashani and Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan were also appointed as managers in different capacities for the U23 team.

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So, It was not very surprising nor very long before the fans experienced the result in such incompetency. Iran U23 lost against arch rivals Saudi Arabia in Tehran, in the penultimate game of the Asian Qualifiers for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Iran was hosting the group but could not qualify directly to the next stage. Complete failure and elimination from the first step was avoided by the virtue of qualification to the final rounds as one of the best 5 groups runner ups. The final rounds of qualifications will be held in Qatar on January 2016.

The AFC came into the picture after examining the coaching certificates of Khakpour and found it below the minimum required to coach the U23 team. Khakpour has a coaching certificate in USA not recognized by FIFA or AFC. As such Mohammad Khakpour is not allowed to coach this team unless he attends a proper FIFA or AFC coaching course and passes the required tests.

Kaffashian’s attempt to dodge the issue of proper qualification of coaches mandated by FIFA and AFC resulted in a meeting with the Asian Technical Director Andy Roxburgh. The Scottish coach has been recently appointed in order to enhance Asian coaches education and player development.

Kaffashian, a Vice-President of AFC, failed to present a solid case for Khakpour’s appointment and could not respond to why his Khakpour’s credentials were not checked according to the AFC regulations. The verdict was clear and it stood as is. If Khakpour does not attend the proper certified AFC or FIFA coaching courses, he will be banned from sitting on the bench of Iran’s U23 team during official competitions.

True to his style, Kaffashian attempting to relegate the issue , said that the U23 team has no official activities or commitment until January 2016, so, they do not need to get all hyped up about it!

Of course, there is no mention by Kaffashian on accountability and responsibility of such an appointment or debacle, to be more precise.