Tag: Canada

Canadian Soccer circus. After Iran the Panama match is also canceled.

Canada Soccer’s interim general secretary Earl Cochrane looked down upon a sparsely populated ballroom in the foundations of Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium and tried to sum up the past two weeks for the national association.

“What I think it says to the international community,” he observed, “is that we have an unbelievable ability to punch above our weight in everything that we do.”

Everything? Not if everything includes successfully organizing a single friendly. It was 5.15pm, a time at which Canada should have been into the second half of their World Cup warm-up date with Panama, itself a hastily arranged encounter after the association had originally booked Iran and kicked off a firestorm. But the towering BC Place was deathly silent.

John Herdman’s side, who bridged a 36-year gap to qualify for the Qatar World Cup and light a wildfire of interest in the team, had taken a protest against their own governing body to its most drastic point. Having initially refused to train on both Friday and Saturday, on Sunday they refused to play the match itself. Canada Soccer had managed to lose not one but two friendlies in less than a week and a whole lot more besides. Millions of dollars in ticket revenue, oceans of goodwill, and positivity that Alphonso Davies and co had brought to the sport here. All of it.

Considering Canada is a co-host for the next FIFA World Cup, it speaks volumes of a disjointed, politically polluted, and unpredictable football federation in a country where Soccer is not even the first or most popular sport !

Take that.

Uruguay match called off!

After the cancelation of the Canada and Ecuador matches. Uruguay was named as a strong candidate for a friendly but today, it has been announced that Dragan Skočić is against traveling thousands of miles to Latin America to play a friendly match between Iran and Uruguay.

The friendly match between Iran and Uruguay was not singed off due to the opposition of the Head Coach of Team Melli. originally, the Football Federation had planned to travel from Qatar to South America because the Team Melli calendar was void of any matches on FIFA Day, but due to the availability of several well-known African teams, these options are more favorable, which is why Skocic has opposed his team’s departure to Uruguay. The Iranian Football Federation is negotiating with several African teams such as Cameroon, Algeria, and Congo to arrange three friendly matches in Qatar. None of these countries have suggested that it will be playing against Iran, though.

Earlier, the FFIRI was also in negotiation for a match against Senegal but nothing came out of that either.

Iran is the only qualified team for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 that has no friendly match on its calender until the World Cup Group C match against England.

Same old excuses repeated at FFIRI

According to Mehrnews, the cancellation of the friendly game of Team Melli against Canada has caused numerous criticism of Iran’s football federation (FFIRI) for not finalizing other friendly matches or considering other options. Meanwhile, the directors of communication of the FFIRI claimed that they had held talks with several associations, but in the end, due to various problems, these negotiations were fruitless.

Mohammad Javad Payendeh, Football Federation Public Relations Manager, said: “We negotiated with the Republic of Ireland, who declared their initial agreement, but later said that they could not assemble the players!.  Another association that did not qualify for the World Cup wanted us to bear all costs for a friendly match including transportation and accommodation which would have been close to $ 1.5 million.”  He added: “We negotiated with the major associations of teams from North America, South America, and Africa that did not qualify for the World Cup.  Among these countries, especially the Africans, there were some encouraging responses initially, and we are trying to hold two games on “Fifa day”.

Payandeh, who spoke to the “Stadium” Radio program, said that Mexico and Ecuador also wanted to play a friendly match with Iran: “The two countries offered to play in the United States, but the conditions for traveling to the United States are much more difficult for us than It was Canada”

For decades, such excuses have been passed to the fans. It comes from the same textbook regardless of which administration or who heads FFIRI. The end results were either downright failures or poor preparation. Queiroz suffered intensely from this federation however, he was proactive and realized the incompetency of the people in the Seoul Street building.  He, through personal contact and his network, managed to negotiate quite a few friendly matches during his tenure.

Dragan Skocic bemoans the surreal status of Team Melli

Dragan Skocic, finally reacted to the unsatisfactory state of the team’s preparation, as well as the cancellation of the Iran-Canada friendly match on FIFA day, by issuing a statement. In this message, Skocic criticized the federation and its officials, who these days are more concerned with lobbying and holding the federation assembly than with the national team and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

in the message on social media, Skocic said: “It seems that the rift between the executive members of the federation,  and holding of the Football Federation Assembly has taken a priority over more important issues such as Team Melli readiness for the World Cup, the preparations, and meeting the technical and logistical needs of the team. Those are no more the first priority of the relevant authorities. In the current surreal situation, the professional and ethical duty of the coaching staff and players is to do whatever they can with all their might to maintain their greatest asset of the national team, which is the passion and the hopes of the Team Melli fans right across the world. It is the sacred right of every Iranian to know more about the national team, especially what has passed and will pass on this valuable time from the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers until today.
The Croat coach ended his message by saying “That is why I will talk about this in detail in the next few days at a press conference.”

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.

Canada-Iran soccer friendly at Vancouver’s BC Place cancelled

Canada Soccer has canceled a planned friendly with Iran in the face of growing criticism.

In a one-paragraph statement, the governing body gave no reason for the cancellation of the scheduled June 5 game at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.

But the idea of hosting the Iranian team, ranked 21st in the world, has drawn fire since it was first announced.

At issue is whether Canada should be hosting Iran given the Canadians who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it was shot down on Jan. 8, 2020, minutes after taking off from Tehran, by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The Canadian government says 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the game “wasn’t a very good idea,” pointing the finger at Canada Soccer. Conservative MPs added their voice to the protest on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims called for Canada Soccer “to cancel the game immediately.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

Squad announced for June training camp

Dragan Skocic invited 25 players to the upcoming training camp starting next Monday.

Team Melli will start the training in Tehran and then move over to Istanbul before flying to Canada in preparation for the friendly international with the host country in Vancouver.  A second match was planned but never materialized.

With the injured players such as Ghoddos, Khalilzadeh, Amiri, and Pouraliganji not available for selection, Skocic added the name of two former members of Team Melli to the list, Omid Ebrahim and Ali Alipour. Notable absentees due to loss of form mean the exclusion of Mehdi Ghaedi and Kaveh Rezaei from the list.


Team Melli Captain Karim Ansarifard and the current AEK Athens player is the major absentee from this camp and will not accompany the national team for a long time. While the current situation requires players to secure their place in the World Cup final list by performing well with their clubs and attending training regularly, Karim was severely injured in a freak accident in the national team’s previous camp on Nowruz 1401, during a birthday party when a cake was pounded on his face, Due to that eyes injury, he also missed the game against Lebanon. As a result, he was away from training for a while and on his return, he had to conduct his training with goggles. Since his injury, Ansarifard has not played in any of his team’s matches and usually plays for a few minutes, and has now lost his place in Team Melli

Skocic has replaced  Ansarifard with Ali Alipour so that the forward who plays in the Portuguese league with Gil Vicente can finally recover after a three-year absence from the national team and may be able to improve the national team’s offensive line.


No. Pos. Player Date of birth  Age Caps Goals Club
GK Alireza Beiranvand 12-Sep-1992   29 50 0
 Royal Antwerp
GK Hossein Hosseini 30- May-1992   29 4 0
GK Amir Abedzadeh 26 -Apr-1993   29 9 0
DF Sadegh Moharrami 24 -Mar-1996   26 18 0
 Dinamo Zagreb
DF Aref Gholami 23-Apr-1997   25 1 0
DF Milad Mohammadi 29-Sep-1993   28 45 1
 AEK Athens
DF Hossein Kanaanizadegan 23-Mar-1994   28 32 2
DF Saleh Hardani 14-Sep-1998   23 2 0
DF Majid Hosseini 20-Jun-1996   25 16 0
DF Omid Noorafkan 09-Apr-1997   25 12 0
DF Aref Aghasi 02-Jan-1997   25 0 0
MF Ehsan Hajsafi (Captain) 25-Feb-1990   32 118 7
 AEK Athens
MF Saeid Ezatolahi 01-Oct-1996   25 44 1
MF Alireza Jahanbakhsh 11-Aug-1993   28 61 12
MF Ahmad Nourollahi 02-Jan-1993   29 23 3
 Shabab Al-Ahli
MF Milad Sarlak 26-Mar-1995   27 8 0
MF Omid Ebrahimi 15-Sep-1987   34 52 0
MF Amirhossein Hosseinzadeh 30-Oct-2000   21 2 0
MF Mehdi Torabi 10-Sep-1994   27 34 6
MF Ali Gholizadeh 10 -Mar-1996   26 23 6
MF Mehdi Mehdipour 18-Feb-1994   28 2 0
FW Mehdi Taremi 18-Jul-1992   29 57 27
FW Sardar Azmoun 01-Jan-1995   27 62 40
 Bayer Leverkusen
FW Ali Alipour 11-Nov-1995   26 3 0
 Gil Vicente
FW Allahyar Sayyadmanesh 29-Jun-2001   20 6 1
 Hull City

Team Melli news update.

Team Melli is preparing fror the friendly match against the Canadian national team on the morning of June 6. As per the announcement of the Canadian Federation, 50 people can be included in the list of Iran’s squad traveling to Vancouver for this match. FFIRI has also prepared a list of names of people who can accompany Team Melli on this trip. According to the list that will be soon submitted by head coach Dragan Skocic, the FFIRI will proceed with the administrative affairs related to issuing visas. Between 23 to 25 players will be selected plus the coaching staff and the support group, medical kits, and Culinary team are expected to be included in the list. It is also expected that security agents and undercover police be part of the group keeping an eye on the players.

Dragan Skočić

The Croatian head coach of Team Melli who has recently returned to Tehran from his holiday is just about to announce the final list of the Team Melli’s squad traveling to Canada. One major absentee will be Saman Ghoddos who is still on the injury list and not fully fit for competitive matches.

Skočić is still hoping that the federation could find a second opponent in Canada as it seems that the Ecuador match is in doubt.

Karim Bagheri.

The Football Federation of Iran FFIRI has crossed out Karim Bagheri’s name from the list that was submitted to the  Canadian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, for visa application. Karim Bagheri’ was given the choice to be either a part of the Team Melli coaching staff full time or maintain his post as assistant in the Persepolis team. Due to the requirement of Team Melli at this stage, the federation did not find it feasible for Krim to hold both posts simultaneously.

Dragan Skocic, the head coach of the Iranian national team, along with the executive officials of the Football Federation, have opposed the simultaneous presence of Karim Bagheri in Persepolis and the national team regarding the national team’s qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, the name of Karim Bagheri has been removed from the ranks of Skocic’s assistants, and he will definitely not accompany the national team on his trip to Canada.

Khodadad Azizi

On other hand, Mirshad Majedi, the acting head of the Football Federation, with the approval of the executive and technical committee of the Iranian national team, has agreed with the appointment of former Team Melli star Khodadad Azizi as part of the coaching staff during this trip to Canada. Azizi has been included in the list of visa applications. It seems like the possibility of his permanent presence as a replacement for Karim Bagheri is a serious possibility.

Mirshad Majedi

The acting head of the FFIRI is likely to head the delegation to Canada although it has not been confirmed yet. The Canadian Federation has requested in its contract the presence of the highest official of the federation on this trip for the possibility of negotiations of cooperation development, mutual agreement on future friendlies, and other areas of support between the two federations.  Therefore, Majidi is likely to accompany the national team on their trip to Canada.

Istanbul Camp.

The Football Federation has planned a mini-camp in Istanbul which allows  Skocic to train his player for at least three sessions in Istanbul. Apart from physically obtaining the visas, the squad will most probably have to travel to Vancouver through Istanbul anyway, so that created an opportunity for a mini-training camp that Skocic duly agreed uupon.

The Canadian connection.

the Football Federation of Iran and its Canadian counterpart expressed concern about some adverse comments regarding the match. The bad propaganda against Iran’s visit and the match in Vancouver are not sport-related and it is meant to negatively influence the potential attendees against the Iranian regime.  In this letter, the Football Federation of Iran, according to the clauses in the contract, has demanded stern action by the authorities against any kind of political protest and anti-regime slogans in the stadium.  It also demanded that the match be held in a complete sporting atmosphere and not spoiled by politics

. The Iranian Federation has stated that any political gathering during the presence of the Iranian convoy in Vancouver should be stopped and the necessary guarantees should be given in this regard. In the contract for this meeting, the host country has given a full commitment that it will not allow any formally and planned political protests. However, the Iranian Football Federation is waiting for an official response from its counterpart to ensure this. Canada responds explicitly The Canadian Federation, in response to a letter from the Iranian Football Federation, has announced that it has signed a contract with Iran as an independent body and will provide a full guarantee for the match without any political interference.

Letter of appreciation

 The second letter of tFFIRI to Canada includes thanks and appreciation for the response of Soccer Canada against political meddling and its rights to arrange friendly matches as it deems necessary for Team Canada.  The letter mentioned in part that Soccer Canada is an approved and independent body and that nothing could be expected but to maintain transparency and commitment to the contract signed by the country that will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Termination of this contract will only be possible under extreme conditions or unpredictable events and hence “force majeure” will be activated. If the game between the two teams is to be canceled under the “force majeure” conditions, no compensation will be awarded to either party.

Friendly with Albania

FFIRI  was negotiating with several federations for friendly games in Doha amongst them was Albania. This UEFA member is currently occupying 65 places in FIFA Ranking against Iran’s 21st. Albania never qualified for any world cup in its history and hardly has any famous name on its national team. Yet, this team demanded a large fee for the match plus all expenses paid by FFIRI for the Albanian squad.

FFIRI respectfully turned down the Albanian demands, however, the audacity of the Albanians seems to be laughable!!!

Ecuador match in doubt!

When the news of the Team Melli match against Ecuador on 11th June first emerged, teammelli.com checked the authenticity of the news and quickly discovered that Ecuador is already scheduled to play Mali on 12th June! However, as the news was confirmed by the Manager of Team Melli, Hamid Estili on a TV show, we grudgingly published the news.

However, less than three days have passed since the announcement, there is now the possibility of canceling the game with Ecuador and a general change in the plans of Team Melli has been raised.  Most likely, there never was such a game with Ecuador, and someone must have fabricated it while Hamid Estili hastily confirmed it.

“The venue for the Ecuador game has not been determined yet,” Estili claimed today Friday. “If the game is to be played outside of Canada, both teams must meet the conditions. There was even talk of Spain, which was not possible for us and them.”

He also talked about FFIRI’s effort to find a replacement for Ecuador in case of cancellation of this game and said: “We are looking to play with Senegal on June 12th or 14th  at Azadi Stadium if the game with Ecuador does not materialize.”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has supported us with this.

The second Team Melli preparation match is now in doubt thanks to the chronically incompetent management of FFIRI.


Ecuador is the second opponent for Team Melli.

According to the Mehr News reporter, Team Melli will play against the Canadian national team in its first preparation match for the FIFA World Cup 2022  on the morning of June 6th in Vancouver. Continued negotiations with other possible opponents for a second match by the Football Federation, resulted in an agreement to play the Ecuadorian national team to be held in Canada. Ecuador coached by Gustavo Alfaro’ is in the first group of the World Cup with the Netherlands, Qatar, and Senegal.

Ecuador’s place in Qatar is under threat due to Chile’s complaint to FIFA over the Byron Castillo who is alleged to be a Colombian national who played for the Ecuador National Team during the qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2022.

Hamid Estili, the manager of the Iranian national football team, confirmed the match against Ecuador. Dates and Venue to be confirmed.