Pashazadeh :”Turmoil in Team Melli camp, is the result of weak leadership”

The story of the sacking of Skocic and then a U-turn by the federation is still reverberating in Iran and across many other countries. It has sent a shock wave among senior footballers and former Team Melli players, who one after another criticized both the federation and some players for their unseemly act against the coach who qualified them for the World Cup 2022

One of those who voiced his disdain at what is happening is the Former Team Melli defender Mehdi Pashazadeh. In an interview with Mehr News, he said  ”  These events have done nothing but harm to the reputation of Iranian football and our standing in the international arena is becoming subject of ridicule, especially amongst our World Cup opponents. Those who caused and create these situations can wait and see what is the end results of their behavior in Qatar.”

The former national football player said: “After the departure of Wilmots, the national team was in a precarious and tricky situation, and at that time, few people were willing to risk their career and reputation to take over the leadership of the national team on the brink of elimination from the World Cup. However, Skocic took that risk, which is precisely why he should be given much credit and respect. The results of the qualifiers with Wilmots were abnormal and it was clear that things were not going well in Team Melli camp. Under normal circumstances, obtaining such results was beyond belief. However, with the same squad under heavy pressure, Skocic was able to lead Team Melli to the World Cup. If his services were not required beyond that, it should have been done immediately but honorably after the qualification, with a new plan in mind, and a stronger coach should have been chosen. Especially since our qualification to the World Cup was confirmed halfway through and there was an ample opportunity to plan ahead and negotiate contracts”


Pashazadeh continued: “Unfortunately, Skocic was not treated correctly. Once they decided in their own mind that he was not competent, they fired him but after 10 days they retained him again, and this act was detrimental to the personality and reputation of this coach or any other coach for that matter.  Personally, if I were Skocic, I would not have come back after these behaviors.”

The former Bayer 04 LeverkusenSC Fortuna Köln (Germany), SK Rapid Wien, and SK Sturm Graz (Austria) player concluded ” These problems have appeared in our football recently as a result of weak leadership at the head of football in recent years, and this mismanagement has directly reflected on Team Melli and of course other national teams in the junior and lower age groups. Allowing players to bad-mouth coaches and dictate whom they want is the beginning of the demise.”