Tag: Bijan Zulfagharnasab

The Football mafia is at it again!

Team Melli lost to Algeria 2-1 in a friendly match in Doha, and that triggered the Iranian football mafia into action. It was like the ideal result for them to call for the head of the current head coach and calls for the former one to return at the helm of Team Melli.

Commenting on such scenario, Bijan ZolfagharNasab the former player and coach of the Iranian national football team who is currently an Advisor to the Minister of Youth and Sports, in reference to Dragan Skocic status, said: “He is the best option now and the atmosphere should not be made more polluted than what is now.”

Team Melli training camp was attended by the Iranian Minister of youth Sports Hamid Sajjadi who held private meetings with senior players such as Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan HajSafi, Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Biranvand, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh the night before the match. A meeting in which the players complained about the process of preparing the team for a respectable representation of the country in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After the 2-1 loss, a result that would not be so critical to any national team in a friendly match, rumors were circulating about the possibility of a change in the coaching staff and the departure of Dragan Skocic less than five months before the start of the first game against England, with the typical name of Carlos Queiroz mentioned in addition to Javad Nekounam as possible replacements.

These rumors intended with malice were accompanied by an official reaction from the Ministry of Sports and Youth regarding interference in technical issues and the selection of the head coach of the Iranian national football team. Mohsen Motamedkia, head of public relations at the Ministry of Sports, said: “The absolute position of the Ministry of Sports and Youth has been to support the decisions made by the Football Federation (FFIRI) from the very beginning, and this position still stands.”

“The Ministry of Sports and Youth has no input in technical matters and only acts as a supporter and a patron behind all sports federations, including the football federation.”

Referring to some rumors, citing yesterday’s meeting of six national team players with Hamid Sajjadi, he noted:” The Minister knows and is aware of sports etiquette well and is fully acquainted with the position of the technical staff, and this meeting was requested by the supervisor and The technical staff of the national team was held and they listened to the concerns of these players for nearly two hours on behalf of the other players and in the presence of the team leader and member of the board of directors of the federation. “

In an interview with Mehr, Bijan ZolfagharNasab commented on criticism of Dragan Skocic: “I think we have witnessed one of the sloppiest games of the Iranian national team in the last decade. We ran after the ball without a purpose and had no strategy to win.” The Adviser to the Minister of Sports then commented on whether it is necessary to change the coaching staff of Team Melli before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: “I do not consider it appropriate to change the current situation. I think we have little chance until the World Cup games. Any change can be to our detriment. Dragan Skocic has done very well and should not be judged by a technical error in a friendly preparation match. “

Zulfiqar Nasab clarified the rumors of the return of Carlos Queiroz: “Mr. Queiroz worked hard for national football, but if he was going to do something worthwhile, he would have done it in the eight years. he was at the helm.  I do not know what changes are going to happen to Team Melli with his presence, which is not possible now. Taking command of the national team at this stage does not cure any pain. We came to a conclusion with him anyway,”

About Skocic, ZolfagharNasab “He kept his faith in these same players. Skocic is the best option at the moment”

As for lack of forward planning and poor management in the Football Federation particularly in arranging friendly international matches for Team Melli: “Unfortunately, there is no sign of planning.  The national team needs preparation for games with teams like England and Wales that have a high physical form. “The former coach of the Iranian national team noted: “We have a very difficult job with the current conditions to qualify out of the group. We can not stand to be counted against the best in the world by relying on the individual ability of the players. This team’s success is a long and complicated process. It needs a chain from the management of the federation all the way to the team players.

Ghafouri’s omission turns political.

Carlos Queiroz has never been too far from a controversy, conflict and downright confrontation with somebody or some organization.  He picks up verbal fights with anyone who dares to disagree with him and his lists of foe makes an interesting reading from his fellow trainers in Iran and outside to Head of charity organizations, journalists, TV presenters and his own staff.

This time, his adversary is not only a politician, a member of parliament, but also the issue is touching a sensitive political matter.

Following the release of Team Melli players list for the FIFA World Cup and the surprise omission of the names of Vouria Ghafouri (Esteghlal) and Seyyed Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis) from this list, a lot of criticisms of this move have been made by various sources. In the latest of such opposition to the move, the Kurdistan Provincial Sports and Youth General Director has reported the case to the parliament.

Hamid Joolayaei, in an interview with ISNA, said: ” Vouria Ghafouri’s omission has shocked the sports community, and for this reason, follow-up was needed with provincial authorities and parliamentarians.”

Referring to the fact that Ghafouri is still not entirely out of the squad (final list should be out by 4th June) , Ghafouri and several other players are on the waiting list for selection, and I hope he will return to the national team as results of the efforts we shall undertake.”

The director general of sports and youth of Kurdistan province continued to point out that the reason for Ghafouri’s exclusion is still unknown to anyone. He said “ Vouria Ghafouri has played well and was in form for Team Melli during this period and is currently is still in the AFC Champions League. It’s a surprise to be removed from the national team list without technical justification.”

Vouria Ghafouri

Vouria Ghafouri is from Kurdistan a minority community that had a long history of conflict and political struggle for independence. The government of Iran has always tried to ensure impartiality towards the minorities in the country and has attempted to eliminate any sense of injustice, prejudice or neglect in these provinces. The Kurds in particular has historically been one of Iran’s biggest worries. As such, this elimination of the only Kurdish Player, who happens to be an excellent player too, has raised more than a sporting question that could have other consequences. It certainly adds another dimension to what looks like a simple football selection decision.

Jalal Hosseini

Bijan Zulfagharnasab, one of the few Kurdish players to play for Team Melli, commented on the this subject. “Sometimes the coach is faced with a traffic jam in certain posts, a dilemma, and it is expected to give some of those players a break.”

Zulfagharnasab, pointing out that Vouria Ghafouri and Seyyed Jalal Hosseini are the two of the country’s leading players and experinced defenders , so their exclusion are quite surprising to say the least and raises questions”

Zulfagharnasab, did however note that  Vouria Ghafouri (30 years) and Seyyed Jalal Hosseini (36) are at an advanced age, said: “Given that the training and competition pressures are very high on the threshold of the World Cup, perhaps the national team coach, is giving the two players a rest for the game against Turkey so that they will be ready to take part in the World Cup.”

He recalled, “If Ghafouri and Hosseini have no disciplinary issues, they are more likely to be invited back to the national team.”

It is not clear whether the Iranian parliament will debate Carlos Queiroz’s decision on Ghafouri.