Tag: Farhad Majidi

Amir Ghalenoei out of the race for Team Melli head coach job.

One of the main internal options for the leadership of Team Melli has withdrawn from the race.

According to news agency reports, Amir Ghalenoei, Hossein Faraki, Mehdi Tartar, Farhad Majidi, and Javad Nekounam were named as the final five internal options of the Football Federation to lead the national team. Among the candidates, only Amir Ghalenoei has prior experience in leading Team Melli. The former Esteghlal coach and current Gol Gohar Sirjan head coach was at the top of the list, however, Ghalenoei immediately announced his withdrawal.

 On his personal page, Ghalenoei announced his decision in an Instagram post story. The reasons behind his decision were not obvious except for mentioning that the timing was not right for him to accept such a move. Ghalenoei also had a veiled dig against the federation for omitting the names of the leading candidates for the Team Melli job, particularly Yahya Golmohammadi.

On the other hand, it is also reported that Mehdi Tartar has also withdrawn from the race which leaves Hossein Faraki, Mehdi Tartar, Farhad Majidi, and Javad Nekounam as the three choices. The latter has just abandoned his job as head coach of Foolad Khuzestan while still involved in the race for AFC Asian Champions League title. His petulant and highly unethical attitude makes Nekounam unworthy of coaching the National Team of Iran. His poor record in coaching and the controversies that seem to surround him in every match create unhealthy surroundings in Team Melli.

Farhad Majidi is no better than Nekounam either.

From that list, Hossein Faraki seems to be the only viable coach with experience and the right conduct for the job.

Meanwhile, the head of the football federation emphasized that we are in no rush to choose the head coach of the national team and said: “We are currently busy with holding league games and there is no possibility of forming a national team. We are thinking about both Iranian and foreign options and we have to choose the option of the head coach of the national team with special prudence and sensitivity (….) ”

A perennial failure figure in selecting a proper coach for Team Melli, Mehdi Taj is known for his authoritarian decision-making. He has always been prompted and guided by the government in form of the Minister of Sports. Therefore the appointment of the future Team Melli coach will be highly dependent on that person’s loyalty to the regime values, Islamic revolutions principles, and being an obedient servant, much more than his competency, experience, and skills in coaching.

The options for domestic coaches are quite narrow, while a foreign coach seems to be a remote possibility due to figures that the FFIRI cannot possibly afford to pay in addition to the crumbling of the Iranian currency against the dollar.


Ali Gholizadeh seeking to leave Royal Charleroi!

Team Melli  Iranian winger Ali Gholizadeh, who joined Royal Charleroi S.C. in Belgium from Saipa Alborz club back in 2018, is currently trying to have a release from his contract from the Belgian first division club.

Gholizadeh, who had extended his contract with Charleroi until 2025 just before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, plans to get his club’s consent for leaving city domestic issues. Gholizadeh has stated personal and family problems with the move. The Team Melli winger has had two bad games in his last matches. He was dropped from the squad against  Club Brugge as he was not even included in the 20-man list of his team in this week’s meeting. Although the Belgian media have announced in the past days that Gholizadeh has offers from the Middle East, the player has informed his club that his wife has returned back to Iran due to medical issues and for this reason, it is necessary for him to terminate his contract with the Belgian side to be beside his ailing wife. On the other hand, it was mentioned that a team from the UAE,  Etihad Kalba of the Emirates under the head coach of Farhad Majidi was one of Gholizadeh’s suitors, but this news has not been confirmed yet.

Dragan Skočić, drops 5 Esteghlal players from Team Melli camp.

Team Melli head coach, Dragan Skočić, dropped 5 Esteghlal players from the national team training camp today. According to press reports, Skocic removed the names of 5 players after their “no show” for training. Hamid Estili, the manager of the national football team, told ISNA: “These players were supposed to introduce themselves to the national team camp at 5 pm yesterday (Monday) and then get a release to go to the Esteghlal’s camp with the permission of the head coach, but they did not do so. They neither turned up nor informed us. They went directly to their club’s camp.”

The Esteghlal players are : Aref Gholami, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Mehdi Mehdipour, Amir Hossein Hosseinzadeh and Saleh Hardani. It is not clear if this move by Skocic is a long term one, but it seems that these player’s chances of making it to the trip to Latin America are quite slim, but more importantly, it will be even a slimmer chance of anyone of them making the final list to the World Cup unless a strong reason is provided by Farhad Majidi, the team’s head coach and the Esteghlal management.

Esteghlal has won this seasons League title undefeated. They received the trophy yesterday after the match against Naft Masjed Soleiman.


In the latest development, Esteghlal club swiftly reacted to the dropping of the players by issuing an official apology!

The statement read: “Following the recent events which resulted in the expulsion of Esteghlal players selected for Team Melli training camps, we would like to inform the general public that the club has always acted in good faith in interacting with the national football team of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and considers itself obligatory to help the country’s representatives. In the recent case, unfortunately, despite the previous announcement of Team Melli’s head coach on the importance of the attendance of all players from the first day of the camp, there were discrepancies (..) in the planning of last week’s league matches, which caused negligence of our part. The team Melli leader issued a disciplinary action. Esteghlal Club is aware of its role in this incident and accepts its responsibility.

Therefore, while supporting and apologizing to Mr. Skocic for interrupting the national team training camp, we ask him to reinstate the 5 dropped  Esteghlal players to the camp. Attending the camp and wearing the national team’s sacred shirt is the pride of Esteghlal Club. The club management supports and wishes Mr. Skocic and the Iranian national team all the success in their quest for the World Cup in Qatar, emphasizing our backing for the national team.”

The Derby ends in a draw with little to shout about.

The much anticipated Tehran Derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis was played on Thursday in Azadi Stadium and ended in a 1-1 draw. The importance of this derby was due to the fierce rivalry between the two teams at the top of the league table, allowing fans entry into Azadi and the selection of players for Team Melli.

Despite the restriction on the number of fans allowed into the stadium, the effect on the atmosphere and the players of the two teams was quite significant as the match was a thrilling contest from the word go. It is estimated that 20,000 fans were presently divided equally between the two teams’ supporters while thousands waited outside Azadi and in the perimeters.

The pace of the game was fast and furious, which excited the fans, but there were very few tactics and beautiful moves in the game.  From the onset, the game was spoilt by the continuous protests from players and the bench every time the referee whistled for a foul!

There is little to write about the positive side of this game despite its importance. Errors in passing, poor finishing, wild tackles, lack of basics of football was quite vivid in this game. Even allowing for the sensitivity of the match, there were numerous schoolboy errors by what was supposed to be a match between the two top teams in the country. The finishing in front of the goal was truly embarrassing and comical. In general, the match was not a good advertisement for Iran’s football whose national team has just qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

The biggest criticism, however, must be fired towards the two coaches of Persepolis and Esteghlal. Golmohammadi and Majidi. Two ex- Team Melli teammates from the same era, have stepped up to coaching without solid groundwork.  They both have a lot to learn in football management but more significantly in anger management and behavior.

From the start of the match, the bench of both teams was the catalyst in bringing the game into disruptions by their constant protests and violations.  lack of manners, shouting, threatening behavior, and the attempt of Golmohammdi to physically attack the referee resembled a scene from a gangster movie rather than a football pitch.

Golmohammadi was dismissed but it was far too late from a feeble referee who could have acted much firmly early on and could easily award a few cards of different colors earlier in the game.

GolMohammadi’s behavior was not befitting a professional coach and his loss of control in front of the camera watched by millions globally, should give the club an indication that the man is emotionally not fit to lead a big club at big events. Majidi is in a similar boat however, he escaped being sent to the stands for being able to control his temper earlier on after a stern warning from the referee.

The weakness of the FFIRI against the top teams is well documented in Iran. Persepolis and Esteghlal are simply too big for the feeble federation. The disciplinary Committee has historically shown reluctance in awarding heavy fines when Persepolis or Esteghlal are involved. Any final ruling would always end up being either appealed and reduced or dismissed altogether.

Lesson learned from AFC Champions League

In one of the worst weeks of Iranian club football, the four teams representing Iran played in the second round of AFC Champions League and managed 1 point from a possible 12 with Persepolis’ draw against the unfancied Sharjah Club of the UAE.

What have we learned from the appearance of Esteghlal, Sepahan, Shar Khodro, and Persepolis in this edition of  AFC Champions League 2020 Week 2:

  • After being the top contenders and challengers for trophies in Asia, Iranian clubs are no more than also-ran and will have serious difficulty holding to their quota in the AFC Champions League in the future or even next season.
  • Despite the admirable action by sticking to the local coaches, the Iranian clubs have unfortunately also handicapped themselves as they seem to be behind the rest in terms of tactical strategy, game-plans, changes in plans, options and knowledge of modern coaching.
  • There is an undeniable gap between the best Iranian coaches and the foreign counterparts who are working in this region. This gap in knowledge and competency requires many years to close.
  • The transition from players to successful coaches has never been easy, even if the player was one of the elites. Golmohammadi and Majidi have fared worst in the two matches as head coaches of the two most popular teams in a polarized football of Iran. The results and performances of Persepolis and Esteghlal were extremely disappointing.
  • It is quite rare to experience an Iranian team, be it a club or Team Melli come from behind and win a match. This is indicative of a perennial character weakness of the whole team, players and coaches.
  • Iranian teams DO NOT learn from their experiences and mistakes. They keep repeating the same and losing due to similar weaknesses. The accountability mostly lies in the coaches for not emphasizing these mistakes and their failures to address them in order to not repeat.
  • Protests, objections, shouting and general petulant behavior of the Iranian team have become iconic. It is a regular scene to find an Iranian player or coach protest and shout his head off. This is a serious shortcoming that always affects a player’s performance.
  • Iranian teams and coaches have very little regard to sport psychology and as such, players do not act professionally and do not stick to their tasks especially while they are losing.
  • The current league has failed to produce quality players for Team Melli. The poor standard of the League, the system, coaching and politics/corruption has ensured that the league players focus on issues unrelated while ignoring their tasks and development.
  • Only a handful of Iranian players who took part in the two matches of their team are worth mentioning. Payam Niazmand, Mehdi Ghaedi , Omid Noorafkan and possibly Mehdi Torabi are the only ones that have excelled and could be assets for Team Melli.
  • There is a goalkeeper crisis in Iran. Mehdi Rahmati was a calamity in the two matches for Shahr Khodro and his standing watching while the Uzbek player score should be taught in all football schools. Alireza Beiranvand is unreliable, weak and lacking confidence. His performance is also affected by contractual issues and the desire to leave Persepolis. Hossein Hosseini , despite a few good saves for Esteghlal, is quite inconsistent and shaky at times. The only bright keeper that played well in both matches is Payam Niazmand. The young Sepahan keeper was a pleasure to watch and should be seriously considered for Team Melli instead of Beiranvand.
  • Iran used to produce solid as a rock defender and any hall of fame of Iranian football will have defenders by the dozen as great defenders. Not anymore. It is a mystery why the defenders are deteriorating, but the answers may lie in the ineffectual coaching and guidance from technical directors.
  • The poor standard of Iranian clubs will be directly reflected in Team Melli and threatens its ambition to qualify for the World Cup.

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.

Farhad Majidi resigns as Omid Team coach.

Farhad Majidi, the Omid Team (Iran U-23) has resigned his post following a series of disputes with the FFIRI management that has led to moves to dismiss him from his post.

Majidi, whose appointment in place of the broadly experienced  Zlatko Kranjcar has raised more than a few eyebrows, has been promising that he will take Iran to the Olympics for the first time since 1976. However, a series of bad result, extensive media criticism, disapproval from senior coaches and former players, differences between him and the Omid Team Manager Hamid Estili and player’s discontent with his training methods, forced the rookie coach to resign before the federation shows him the door.

With no more than a few games as a caretaker coach of Esteghlal in his resume, the FFIRI in a moment of madness decided to give this mammoth task of qualifying for the Olympics Games to Majidi. While much more notable and experienced Iranian coaches turned down the job of coaching Omid Team, Farhad Majidi who was away from football after he hanged his boot, found it a golden opportunity to progress his own career in coaching without considering the complication and the difficulties of the task up ahead and without seriously addressing his own level of limited experience in coaching.

There were only two persons in the whole world that believed in Majidi’s ability to deliver, one of them is the person who approved his appointment and that would be Mehdi Taj and Farhad himself. The rest thought otherwise.

The mammoth task of qualifying to Tokyo 2020 Olympics became nearly impossible when Iran was grouped with defending Champions of the last two editions of the U-23 Asian championships, Uzbekistan and South Korea while China, a contender in their own rights, complete the group.

With Majidi gone, it is assumed that Omid Namazi will take the post on a temporary basis or continue all the way to the AFC Asian U23 Championship in Thailand in January 2020. That championship will also be the qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics Games 2020 football competition. The top three teams will qualify.

Namazi has good experience with age level teams and has been coaching United States U18 and U20 teams in addition to several other clubs in the states and Iran.

He was recently appointed to Omid Team as an assistant to Farhad Majidi in a face-saving exercise by the federation after soon realizing that their gamble with Rookie Majidi s not working.  Omid Namazi also worked as an assistant to Carlos Queiroz in Team Melli.

Tough draw for Iran in AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020

Bangkok: Iran’s Omid Team has been drawn in what must be the toughest group of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
Joining Iran are the defending champions Uzbekistan, Korea Republic and China in Group C. The Thailand 2020 Finals draw was held in Bangkok on Thursday. Iran had no representation in the draw ceremony.
Uzbekistan will open their defence of the AFC U23 Championship title in Group C with a match against Iran’s Omid Team. It promises to be an exciting group as all three of Uzbekistan’s challengers will be aiming to win the title for the first time.

The fourth edition of the Championship will be played across three cities – Bangkok, Buriram and Songkhla – with the tournament kicking off on January 8, and the final to be played on January 26. Besides Continental glory, 15 of the 16 teams will also be competing for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the top three sides will join hosts Japan as Asia’s representatives next July.

Hosts Thailand was drawn in Group A and they will have 2013 champions Iraq, Australia and debutants Bahrain to contend with.
Qatar, third in 2018, 2016 champions Japan, Saudi Arabia – runners-up in 2013, and Syria are in an exciting looking Group B.

Vietnam, runners-up in 2018, have DPR Korea, Jordan – third in 2013 – and United Arab Emirates for the company in Group D.
Should Japan make the last four stage, the other three semi-finalists will be assured of their places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Under newbie coach Farhad Majidi, Iran’s U23 had a disappointing showing in the preparation matches two of which were against the same Uzbekistan team which they will meet on 9th January 2020. With the powerful South Koreans, who are a title contenders in their own right, waiting next for Iran, it is going a steep mountain to climb for Iran. Realistically, Iran chances look dim for qualification but would be more than happy to be in the top two teams. China, the other team of the group have been performing well qualifying to the finals with ease after beating Laos 5-0 and Philipines 8-0 while drawing with host Malaysia 2-2. The Chinese have two friendly matches arranged in South America in Late November with Colombia in Bucaramanga and then against Peru in Lima.

The star-studded Korean team who are the Gold Medal holders of the Asian Games 2018 may include Tottenham Hotspurs star Son Heung-min who is 27 now. However upfront they have Hamburger SV forward Hwang Hee-chan and Italian Club Verona Lee Seung-woo in the squad. It is not clear if these players will be released for this championship.



Group C match fixtures

9 January 2020 Tinsulanon Stadium, Songkhla   Uzbekistan Iran
9 January 2020 Tinsulanon Stadium, Songkhla South Korea China PR
12 January 2020 Tinsulanon Stadium, Songkhla Iran South Korea
12 January 2020 Tinsulanon Stadium, Songkhla China PR Uzbekistan
15 January 2020 Thammasat Stadium, Pathum Thani Uzbekistan South Korea
15 January 2020 Tinsulanon Stadium, Songkhla China PR Iran

Concerns are high for Omid Team prospects.

Apart from the Football Federation and in particular, its president Mehdi Taj, everyone that has insight and knowledge of Iranian football believes that the appointment of a rookie as the coach of Omid Team (U23) is a big mistake.

Farhad Majidi has been put into an unenviable position and given the task of qualifying for the Men’s football Olympic tournament after more than 40 years of absence. Coaches much more experienced and qualified than Majidi have failed to take Iran to what looks like an unattainable dream and some kind of a spell.

 While many prominent and experienced domestic coaches turned down the job, Majidi took upon himself to promise success in qualification but without much thought or results in the field.

Omid Team, which is considered the backbone and the near future of Team Melli, under head coach Farhad Majidi has been performing dismally and the result of the recent friendly games (1-0 and 4-1 defeats against Uzbekistan) raises an alarm bell that many have expected and forecasted the minute Majidi was appointed.

Mansour Rashidi, the famous Team Melli goalkeeper is yet another ex-player who raised doubts on the Omid team recently. Rashidi told Mehr sports reporter: “I am not familiar with the Omid Team players except for one or two and admittedly I am not close to the team to know them inside out. I didn’t watch any of the recent friendly games with Uzbekistan either, but the results of those two preparations matches were not serving Iranian football’s reputation. ” The former coach of Iran’s Omid team continued “This team is the backbone of Team Melli and much more efforts are needs to be taken into Temporary Email consideration to develop it.  It seems the level of attention, priority and care for Omid team is low.”

He added: “Farhad Majidi is one of the Iran football upcoming prospects and I am confident that he will have a bright future in coaching. But coaching Omid Team at this stage of his career was far too early for him. This team needs much more experienced and qualified coaches.  The last time Iran qualified to the Olympics was  Montreal Olympics 1976 and I was honoured to be a member of that Olympic team ” our former national footballer said.

“We never imagined at the time that qualifying to the Olympics would be an unattainable dream for Iranian football”. Rashidi said: “Although the results of the preparatory games are a blow and a disappointment for Iranian football, I really hope the team can break the spell of half a century of not qualifying for the Olympics and take Iranian football out of this misery and pity.”

In order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic games, Iran must achieve one of the top three ranks in the upcoming Asian U23 Championship in Thailand. Iran did not even qualify directly as the achieved qualification as one of the best second teams.

Omid Namazi joined Iran’s U-23 coaching team.

Omid Namazi, who has served as an assistant coach to Carlos Queiroz during the Portugues tenure, has been added to the Iranian U23 squad that is currently preparing for a friendly match against Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

Namazi has flown to Tashkent today in time for the two friendly matches.

The Iranian U-23 has a tough task ahead as it is competing in the Asian championship competition at the beginning of the new year and hoping to make the top 3 in order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics football competition.

The task has been made that much difficult by the appointment of a coach with no prior experience in top-level coaching. The Omid Team was coached by the Croat Zlatko Kranjcar before the federation ended his contract following some poor showing. Farhad Majidi, with his limited experience, has been given the herculean task of qualifying for the Olympics football competition after many notable Iranian coaches turn down the job.

Omid Namazi, whose last job in Iran was coaching Zob Ahan football club before being replaced by Alireza Mansourian, will bring badly needed experience at the bench which is in dire need of expertise and direction and tactics.

The news about Namazi’s appointment was confirmed by the Iranian football federation website.