Tag: 11-15-20

Hamid Estili appointment as Coach of Omid Team, will he be any good?

After the resignation of Farhad Majidi, it seems that FFIRI had no real choice but to appoint the Team manager, Hamid Estili as his replacement. The former Persepolis player also picked his former teammates Reza Shahroodi and Alireza Emamifar as his assistants.

During the short tenure of Farhad Majidi at the helm of Omid’s team, Omid Namazi and Farshad Majedi were appointed as his assistants. It is not clear if they are is still or will remain as part of the coaching staff as neither have any Persepolis affiliation that seems to be the level of requirement in Omid team coaching structure with Estili in charge.

As such, the Omid team has turned into The red of Perspolis after the departure of the Blues of Esteghlal to prove once again that Iran’s football will have an extreme affinity with the bipolar and partisan system.

At Omid team the status quo remains, meaning the same old chaos, with partisan, Favoritism, nepotism and partiality based upon being part of a favoured group, rather than job performance or competency being the essence.

Estili has more experience than Majidi but his coaching career has been full of failures and turmoil. In reality, he is not much of an improvement on Majidi.


Estili Coaching Career

Estili was appointed as an assistant by Ali Parvin in Persepolis in 2004. A few months after Arie Haan replaced Parvin, he sacked Estili. In August 2006, when Mustafa Denizli was signed as the head coach, Estili returned to his former post. On 13th January 2007, during the 2006–07 mid-season break, Estili was sacked again, this time by Denizli.

Denizli later stated that “It would be better for him (Estili) to take some professional trainings”

For the 3rd time, Estili returned to his beloved club as the assistant to Afshin Ghotbi, in the IPL 2007/08 season. However, with a lot of tension between the two coaches over team selection, players, and other decisions it was foreseen that one of them will have to leave Perspolis at the end of the season. Ghotbi left and Estili was touted as the new Perspolis Manager and Head Coach.
However, when Ghotbi’s returned back, Estili left Perspolis.

in summer of 2009 Steel Azin appointed out of work Estili as head coach. Despite having a star-studded team with players such as s Ali Karimi, Mahdavikia, Kaebi, Fereydoon Zandi, Shapourzadeh and Vahedi Nikbakht, Estili failed in the Hazfi Cup and was nowhere near the championship title.

He was sacked by Estil Azin on 19 April 2010

Next station was Shahin Bushehr where he was appointed on 1 June 2010. He lasted less than 10 months as he was fired on 4 April 2011 while Shahin was in 17th place out of 18, achieving 16 points in 18 matches

On 21 June 2011, Estili was back in Persepolis again as a Head coach but after a series of disappointing results and Persepolis fans disapproval of his appointment, he resigned his post on 9th Dec. 2011 after only 6 months at the helm.

From then on, Estili’s reputation as a Head Coach was tarnished.

Critics say that Estili relies more on influences, comradeship and nepotism to cover his technical weakness and poor tactics on the field. He was a divisive influence as an assistant coach bad-mouthing the head coach in the hope of taking their places.  He caused disagreement and hostility between players to serve his own interest. It was not a successful strategy as it leads to him being sacked by 3 different coaches. While as Head Coach, his poor delivery, suspect decision-making, poor technical ability, and lack of quality were exposed at the teams he managed.

Such as shame for the player who is famous for his goal against the United States in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Mehdi Taj’s masterstroke!

Mehdi Taj and the FFIRI have to be credited for the appointment of Marc Wilmots as head coach of Team Melli replacing Queiroz.

The Iranian federation FFIRI faced many obstacles in their quest to replace Queiroz beginning from the Finances, or lack of it , to political objections, to social issues and the strong local lobbies.

The lack of funds is by now a common knowledge. Despite the lack of transparency by FFIRI including no audited balance sheet that is publically available to answer discrepancies such as the alleged disappearance of large amount of payments awarded to FFIRI during the reign Ali Kaffashian, the federation has been suffering from lack of resources for years.  Transfer of salary through normal banking channels to a foreign coach is also a great challenge thanks to one Donald Trump and his American sanctions.

It is that sanction that prompted many politicians and hardliners to question the appointment of a foreign coach and thus the wasting of rare hard currency on football while large sectors of industry and other services were in dire need of that cash and hard currency. It was certainly a legitimate question particularly that this football has yielded nothing for the country since the revolution particularly the trophy that really matters for the Iranians, the AFC Asian Cup.

Compared to other sports, football has one of the lowest returns of investment  and yields in the country yet the people associated with it are the highest paid of them all, some of whom make astronomical figures comparatively.

Socially speaking, the question foreign coach appointment has always been divisive debate in Iran. A large number of fans question such appointments based on issues such as communication, language, culture, logistics and most importantly, cost.

The other factor in this endless debate is the strong lobbying by influential people in Iran’s football. Ex-players, coaches, administrators and managers who strongly support the appointment of one of their own.

That reservation on foreign coach is responded to by the other camp who believe that Iranian coaches are not suitable or favorable at this time. Ali Daei, a legendary figure in his own right, lost his job in an un-ceremonial fashion after losing to Saudi Arabia at Azadi in a World Cup qualifier match.

Before him, Amir Ghalenoei, who is by far the most successful Iranian league club coach, tried but failed to achieve success in the AFC Asian Cup 2007.

Mansour Ebrahimzadeh was an interim coach but he was a disaster losing all the 3 matches Team Melli played under him. Finally Afshin Ghotbi, who is technically an American citizen, who failed to deliver in AFC Asian Cup 2011

In reality, in this period, there is no good Iranian candidate for Team Melli. From experience to knowledge to discipline to modern football tactics awareness and many more aspects, it is clear that Iranian coaches have a lot to learn.

Taj and his men had to navigate all those hurdles and skillfully managed to come up with the correct decision.

So, without bias, the appointment of Marc Wilmots is a masterstroke carried out under immense pressure. Mehdi Taj deserves much credit for such a move, notwithstanding the shortfalls in his administration and  lack of transparency.  Certainly there remains a lot to be corrected at FFIRI, but credit must be given were credit is due

Team Melli Coaches performances and Queiroz vs. Ghalenoei debate.

The war of words between Ghalenoei and Queiroz has reached its peak after the conclusion of the Asian Cup 2015. The warring coaches are undermining each other verbally, with fans taking sides in debates on forums.

What does the figure say about the performances of the two coaches? It must indicate to some degree the success (or failure) of the coach, if results are indeed the catalyst.

 Along with these warring coaches, we have included another 4 former Team Melli coaches performance data for a meaningful comparison.

Head to head

Direct comparison between Queiroz and Ghalenoei indicates that the Iranian coach has better record in offense and winning categories, while the Portuguese has a better defensive record.

Both have now played in the Asian Cup. Both achieved identical result. Both lost at quarter finals stage with penalty shootout. Queiroz takes the edge with winning 3 out of 3 matches against Ghaelnoei’s 2 wins and 1 draw.

Queiroz qualified for the World Cup , but that is after being in charge for 3 years. Ghalenoei lasted only 1 year and never had the chance to coach in the World Cup qualifiers.


 Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan had the best attacking record amongst the 6 coaches with his team averaging a very respectable 2.73 goals a match. This is indeed a high goal average scored and a record that might stand for decades. The worst offensive team was Afshin Ghotbi with only 1.30 goals per match , the second worst is Carlos Queiroz with 1.59

Winning percentage:

 the most wins percentage goes to Ali Daei whose teams had as 64% rate. Daei is , closely followed by Mayeli-Kohan with 60%. The worst is Ghotbi teams with only 53.33% while the second worst is Queiroz with only 54.35%.


Best defensive team goes for Carlos Quieroz with his team conceding .52 goals per match. The worst defense was Branko Ivankovic teams conceding shy of a goal per game ,  at 0.93.  Ghotbi was second worst in defense close to Ivankovic at .90 goal per game.

We leave it to you to decide who the better coach in terms of performance is. What is clear for us , though , is that Carlos Queiroz record , is far from being the best overall coach despite holding the job for 4 years now.


 # Name Nationality Matches W D L win % GF GA GFPG GAPG
1 Mohamad MAYELI-KOHAN Iran 40 24 10 6 60.00% 109 27 2.73 0.68
2 Branko IVANOKOVIC Croatia 56 33 14 9 58.93% 115 52 2.05 0.93
3 Amir Ghalenoei Iran 17 10 6 1 58.82% 30 12 1.76 0.71
4 Ali Daei Iran 25 16 6 3 64.00% 44 15 1.76 0.60
5 Afshin Ghotbi USA 30 16 6 8 53.33% 39 27 1.30 0.90
6 Carlos Queiroz Portugal 46 25 14 7 54.35% 73 24 1.59 0.52

Arash Afshin desperately seeking an escape route.


Arash Afshin is desperately looking for an escape route out of Sepahan club after sitting on the bench in many matches. The 25 years old Team Melli player, has not featured regularly for Sepahan after his transfer from Foolad Khuzestan at the beginning of the season. Afshin’s name was also absent from the list of Team Melli recently announced by Queiroz.

It is rumored that Afshin is seeking the help of another Iranian player and some agents to find him a club in Qatar. So far those efforts have not yielded any results as it seems that Afshin has to fight it out in Sepahan to secure a starting role in the forward line, presently occupied by Mohammad Gholami.

Arash Afshin , a promising young player in his own right, represented Team Melli at different age levels and was selected for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 by Afshin Ghotbi. The Foolad player was showing a lot of promise with his club, and when given a chance in the Asian Cup, he took it well and scored a goal while continuing to impress. However , with the end of the Ghotbi era , and the return of Afshin to league football, his form started to suffer and his problems started to grow.

Afshin & Queiroz during Team Melli camp
Afshin & Queiroz during Team Melli camp

Like almost all young Iranian players at this stage of their career when they shoot to fame in a short period of time, he developed an attitude. So early in his career, he started to think that he must be the first choice to start in all Foolad matches. On few occasions, he displayed his displeasure for being substituted. Although , the coach and the club tolerated him fo a while , he was eventually disciplined and fined by the club for his misbehavior and lack of discipline. But very true to the usual Iranian style of doing things, he was soon pardoned shortly after he was disciplined! His fine would be waived and everything would return to normal!  Except , it did not. His lack of discipline continued and it was even more evident in training where he did not give his best and certainly looked lethargic to his coach, unwilling to run, or do physical exercises.

The supposed transfer to the French league with Lille never materialized. When Sepahan came calling for Arash Afshin, both the club and the mild mannered coach Hossein Faraki, who had just had about enough of the troublemaker, agreed to sell. Afshin was a source of disturbance to Faraki’s finely balanced team, and since Afshin left, the problems decreased and the club concentrated on playing football. They are currently at the top of the league table.

While Sepahan was never short of players in every line, Afshin had to prove himself worthy of taking the place of the likes of Gholami , Dalovic , Sukaj and the promising youngster Ali Choopani. The first three players were quite established and in the top of the picking order. However, Afshin continued his way of being lazy and short of commitment in Sepahan. The difference though was one Croat in the shape of Zlatko Kranjcar , a no-nonsense man who would not hesitate one bit to bench a player of much greater stature and fame than Afshin, if he found the player is not working hard enough. While Afshin was argumentative and even shouted against Faraki, the Croat coach of Sepahan has no time for such antics, insisting that players need to show their worth in training and whenever given playing time in a match to claim for a regular place in the starting line-up. Clearly , Afshin has failed to do so, and as seen last week , his cry baby antics and leaving the match in disgust , did not go down very well with Sepahan , who are surely thinking of offloading him at the right opportunity.

Arash Afshin with Foolad Khuzestan.
Arash Afshin with Foolad Khuzestan.

Afshin, is a typical breed of Iranian young players who believe they are way better than what they actually are. The type of player that want to do the minimum but earn the maximum. The record books are full of such young players with good potentials who never made the grade because of their attitude.

If Arash Afshin is not careful and not willing to work hard, he will go into oblivion the way many has done not long time ago in Iran’s football. Unfortunately, players attitude and mentality, has never been properly addressed in Iran’s football. Only the minority of Iranian coaches have the right tools to deal with offenders. Such mentality and poor discipline, is not exclusive to young players either, which makes the job of foreign coaches like Queiroz and Kranjcar , so much difficult.