The match versus Capo Verde is OFF !!

As usual yet another friendly match arranged by FFIRI is canceled only days after it is announced!!

Mehdi Taj, head of FFIRI, has earlier announced that a match against Capo Verde has been agreed upon, with the venue still to be confirmed but most probably it will be in Tehran.

Today, the director of Team Melli had something else to say about the international friendly matches on FIFA Day.

According to Mehdi Mohammad Nabi; the contract for the first friendly match, which is scheduled to be held on September 07, against the Bulgarian national team, has been approved by both federations, the relevant confederations, and FIFA. He added: Regarding the second friendly match which is scheduled to be held on September 12, considering that the Cape Verde national team has an official match against the Togo national team on September 10, and based on the statements of the representative of the mentioned federation, they have not succeeded in changing the time of the official game!!!. Accordingly, Cape Verde will not be able to play the friendly match in Tehran. (…)

He added: “We are trying to take the necessary measures after consulting with the head coach of Team Melli for finding other options for the second friendly game.”

Yet again, it is another messy, amateurish act by this federation whose intellect and professionalism are on par with that of primary school pupils, with the utmost respect for the kids. How on earth, they even think of arranging a friendly match with a National Team that plays in Africa, and expect the squad to be in Tehran two days later for a match against Team Melli, is beyond comprehension!!!

Iranian football has for the last four decades severely suffered from mismanagement, failures, screw-ups, and a lack of common sense in the most basics of administration and management. We are not even approaching corruption, political interference, nepotism, and bias.

The standard of management personnel, mostly inept former or current civil servants, Basij, revolutionary guards, and regime loyalists, have left Iran’s football handicapped and absent from crowing and championships for nearly half a century.

And there is NO hope of any improvement in sight.

Italian coach Antonio Manicone is to be appointed as an assistant coach with Ghalenoei.

Petkovic’s former assistant on the Lazio, Switzerland and Bordeaux bench is expected to assist Amir Ghalenoei in Team Melli

Together with Petkovic


June 3, 2023

According to reports in the Iranian media, Antonio Manicone is about to join the coaching staff of Team Melli, as an assistant to Amir Ghalenoei. The FFIRI has already confirmed its intention in fact confirmed its intention to hire a foreign assistant without naming anyone specific.

The 56-year-old Italian was assistant to Vladimir Petkovic on the benches of Lazio, the Swiss national team, and Bordeaux. As a player, he wore the shirts of Inter, Palermo, Genoa, and Perugia.

Currently, there are three Iranian assistant coaches helping Amir Ghalenoei, Andranik Teymourian, Hamid Mottahari, and Rahman Rezaei while Miguel Teixeira is the only non-Iranian assistant on the bench.

Afshin Ghotbi in the shortlist for coaching Omid Team.

The Iranian Football Federation is considering former Team Melli and Persepolis head coach Afshin Ghotbi as a candidate for coaching Iran’s Omid team (U21). This comes after a 3-hour meeting between Mehdi Taj, Mehdi Mohammad Nabi, and Habib Kashani to discuss the appointment of a new head coach for the team. Other names being considered include Mojtaba Hosseini and Mehdi Tartar.

In the meantime, the name of Afshin Ghotbi, the former head coach of the Iranian national football team, was added to the list of coaches available and willing to take the job. In past meetings, names such as

The coach will take over the assignment ahead of two important competitions, the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in September 2023 and the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

Two Iranian candidates and one foreign are being shortlisted according to an announcement by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) to the Football Federation. It is also determined that this appointment must be determined by May 25 so that this team is ready to participate in the Asian Games. In this regard, the Football Federation has decided to identify the head coach of the Omid national team by May 24 and introduce him to the National Olympic Committee. Also, after last night’s meeting, Mehdi Taj, the president of the football federation, and Mehdi Mohammad Nabi, the vice president of the federation, left for Qatar to participate in the draw of the  AFC Asian Cup 2023, which will be held on Thursday.

The coaching of the Omid Team has left many of those with heads down with failure after failure in all official competitions. Apart from some odd exceptions, the FFIRI tends to pick some inconspicuous or obscure coaches to save on wages and the result is inevitably, elimination from the competitions. With the Olympic Games, there is an added situation as the Iranian NOC is involved and history shows some bitter disagreement between the two sides (FFIRI and NOC) on various issues

Ghotbi is currently the head coach of Canadian Premier League side Vancouver FC, He was appointed in November of last year. Before that Ghotbi coached in the Chinese league with Cangzhou Mighty Lions.

Milad Kor suspended for 1 year due to crtisicm of FFIRI and U20 team coach

Milkad Kor, one of the pillars of the Iran U20 team that has failed to qualify beyond the quarter-final after losing to the finalist Iraq, has been given a heavy-handed suspension by the FFIRI for daring to speak out against the Federation and lack of support for the U20 team in AFC Asian Cup U20 that was held in Uzbekistan.

MIlad Kor , Tractor’s defender was suspended from all football activities by the Disciplinary Committee of FFIRI. He was also handed a heft fine payable to the federation.

Interestingly, unlike the rest of the world, this federation did NOT mention why the player, one of Iran’s better future prospects, has been given such a heavy sentence and whether he was allowed to defend himself against any supposed allegations. The tyrannical sentence is in line with the regime’s complete intolerance of its system including expression of thought that is published in a publication under government control. There is no independent journalism in Iran. Amazingly not one of the Iranian news and sports publications that published the news of Kor’s ban attempted to seek an explanation or question the FFIRI. All of them just copied and pasted the FFIRI disciplinary committee’s notice which was published on the federation’s own website!!

In the longish interview with ‘Hamshahri; newspaper, Kor’s main criticism was directed at Samad Marfavi, the team’s coach, and the lack of support by the federation. There were no bonuses paid to the players, he claims. Kor was also critical for the team’s management’s refusal to use the swimming pool for recovery like the rest of the teams because the pool was mixed and there could be girls swimming too!  While the defender had some praise for Mirshad Majedi, he was quite scathing of Marfavi’s behavior and discriminatory acts among the players in the squad.

Meanwhile, Kor and for the first time said that the players were just about to go on strike and refuse to take part in training before the Iraq game because of the indifference of the management towards their demands.  ” In the Vietnam game, we were determined to do our best to prove ourselves and we got what we wanted, but in the Iraq game, we had no motivation. Some players did not have money to buy shoes and took loans to buy them. Some players did not have a club to play for as such they had no income. The whole situation transpired into a toxic atmosphere. We were mentally in a terrible state plus we really never had proper recovery exercise before the match with Iraq” Milad Kor said in the interview.

Hamshari reporter asked Kor “What was the story of not going to the swimming pool?” to which Kor replied ” They didn’t allow us the use of the swimming pool because there were girls in there! Well,  if this is the case, why bother forming a team when basic requirements cannot be entertained? Our bodies were fatigued half destroyed and yet we were deprived of cool water. Excuse me, but this is no back alley team that does not have such facilities and if there are ones, you are not allowed to use them.”

“In Tehran, Marfavi was not in a good mood at all since he had not received his money from the federation, he did not even come to the airport to see us off. Later, after he got his money, he joined the team. But he did not lend support to the demands of players’ bonuses. If a head coach wants the good of a player, he needs to stand by him, but this gentleman was selfish. We finished first in the group of death and had an easy quarter-final draw. Iraq also plays like us and its style of play was like ours. But we had no motivation, we were empty from the beginning of the game. I used to say that I wish we were in Iran and called several people and told them to at least bring supplements. “

“A whole generation was wasted. Our generation was golden and by the grace of my mother, we could have won the Asian championship and won the World Cup or at least advanced from the group, but they wasted our generation, with their incompetent hands. We beat Vietnam and became the group leader, but…”

The 19 years old player who is born in Bandar Torkaman, is fully supported by his club Tractor which intends to file a strong appeal against the harsh suspension.

Iranian domestic coaches.

Since the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup 2022, Team Melli has had no coach or program. It is in fact, disbanded.

Mehdi Taj hinted recently that the FFIRI will be looking much closer at domestic coaches for Team Melli citing difficulty in wages payment and bank transfers.

The problem is, there are NO suitable, competent Iranian coaches who can effectively lead Team Melli.

Iranian candidates for Team Melli

Of the domestic coaches’ names, there are several that can be considered but are not necessarily capable at this time to coach at the international level. Beginning with Ali Daei and Amir Ghalenoei. They are the only two who have led Team Melli and are qualified to do so again. Daei however is in the bad book of the regime, and he himself has no interest whatsoever to coach the team again. He has also been away from football for some time. Ghalenoei, on the other hand, is active and coaching a flourishing club in Gol Gohar. Ghalenoei however, has never been popular with the establishment, and a person whose demeanors and constant finger-pointing at others for his own failures and defeats, have ranked low in popularity and competence.

On the newer generations, we have Yayha Golmohammadi, Javad Nekounam, and Alireza Mansourian. The latter is out of work since he parted company with Sanat Naft Abadan, while his coaching career is not considered successful in general. Nekounam, former Team Melli captain and record holder of most games played for Team Melli, currently is the head coach of Foolad Khuzestan. Nekounam, attitude, antics, and general lack of leadership skills, controversial, ill-spoken, and on the technical side, uncertified coach, he cannot possibly be a serious candidate.

That leaves, Yayha Golmohammadi as the most serious candidate. The current coach of Persepolis has a successful CV which includes two Persian Gulf Pro League titles in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons with Persepolis. Political dissent and possible reluctance by the club to release him might create difficulties in getting the job at the helm of Team Melli.

Apart from these five aforementioned, no other coach comes even close to making the mark.

But national coaches are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Lack of domestic Iranian coaching talents.

Jalal Chiragpour, the former head coach of Iran’s Team Melli, rejected the idea of an Iranian coach or Queiroz or Bronco to lead Iran’s national football team. In justification,  Chiragpour said: “We want a coach who can educate the players and teach them the style and mentality of modern football; Not a coach who does not allow anyone to see the training sessions, play friendly matches behind closed doors, and not allow journalists to attend the training. Team Melli team needs a “teacher-coach”.

With less than two months left until the next FIFA day (20–28 March 2023) the window of the national team’s games, the FFFIR continues to proceed slowly and calmly and seems in no hurry to choose a head coach. Some coaches and experts believe that the federation can choose a temporary coach (Caretaker) for Nowrooz at least and finally, after the end of the current season of club competitions, can make its final decision.

Jalal Chiragpour said “I have to say a few things about the Iranian coach. If we had an Iranian coach who had received coaching degrees from outside Iran, we could count on him. In this case, we would say that this Iranian coach is more educated than FFIRI’s Education Committee.

Referring to the state of the football federation’s Education Committee, whose task is to promote local Iranian coaches,  Chiragpour said: “Iran’s Education Committee is 30 years behind the modern science of the world football. Our resources are 30 years behind the world. We still teach handouts from 1974 and earlier. That’s why I say that no Iranian coach can become the head coach of the national team because they all got their coaching certificate from an outdated, archaic training institution. If FFIRI had sent a number of coaches to five or six countries like Germany, Portugal, Brazil, England, Spain, or France five or ten years ago and paid for their training, we would have a cadre of competent and certifies coaches. Our football would have changed for the better, but because they have not done anything to train the future coaches, and the football federation does not care much for coaching education, our domestic football has fallen behind even smaller neighbors.”

Teacher-coach vs. Manager coach

Chiragpour said: a “Teacher coach” is the type of coach whose work ethic is like a teacher, educator, or instructor. “Manager-coach” is  manages the team in a professional and commercial way. He deals with ready made, skilled players who need or require only little guidance. If he does not have quality players, he buys talent and brings it to his team. Queiroz is a “Manager-coach”,

Queiroz was a manager and ordered to summon such and such a player some of them with dual nationality. Or he would find talent in Manchester. No one knew why, but he made good choices about talent. The technical committee or the board of the football federation should specify whether they want a “teacher-coach” or “manager coach”?

“Team Melli requires a Teacher Coach”  Cheraghpour stated. “the foreign coach of the national team should teach Iranian footballers. We want someone to teach these players skill sets and tactics that they are not exposed to at club levels.

Mehdi Taj “FIFA still investigating Iran-Lebanon match incidents.”

The President of Iran’s football federation FFIRI Mehdi Taj said that the verdict on the controversial Iran-Lebanon match in Mashad in World Cup 2022 qualifiers is still under investigation by FIFA.

According to Taj, the case is still open with FIFA.

“Our case is in the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and the President of FIFA can only postpone it. He has no authority or influence beyond that,” Taj declared “the jurisdiction and the verdict is only in the hands of the Disciplinary Committee.”

Infantino helped Iran before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to prevent what would have been a serious risk of Team Melli being sanctioned. After the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup, the serious violation committed by the government and security forces at and around Imam Reza Stadium will be addressed. The violations include preventing females from entering the stadium despite carrying official tickets, using undue force in doing so, and serious overcrowding and lack of safe practices and crowd control measures at entry and exits of the venue.

FIFA Disciplinary Committee must issue a ruling in this regard, which could be anything from depriving Team Melli of playing home games in Iran to heavy fines or both.

There could also be other ramifications for FFIRI as, despite the promises given to FIFA about females being allowed into stadiums, the hardliners and religious hierarchy are not happy with such a ruling and have defied FIFA and forced their own will on the subject matter. Suspension of Iran from FIFA and AFC is a possibility, though remote.

Sajjadi accused by Majlis (Parliament) of mismanagement

Story by Mina Aldroubi, Nada AlTaher 

Iran’s Parliament gave a warning on Tuesday to Sports Minister Hamid Sajjadi, accusing him of mismanaging the ministry, the Fars news agency reported.

Mr Sajjadi spoke to parliamentarians in an open session on Tuesday to brief officials on the ministry’s financial problems and expenses, especially regarding the country’s football teams.

It came after the Iranian men’s national team (Team Melli) failed to progress past the group stages of December’s World Cup in Qatar.

“The MPs were not satisfied with Sports Minister Sajjadi’s answer about the mismanagement situation in professional sports, especially football, and he received a yellow card from the parliament,” said the agency.

Yellow cards are the Parliament’s way of holding cabinet members accountable by summoning them for questioning or interpellations, a report by Germany-based think tank Carpo said.

“Depending on the minister’s performance, interpellations can lead to ‘yellow cards’ or impeachments. Even the President can be challenged through this mechanism,” the report said.

At the World Cup in Qatar, Iranians were seen wearing the “Women, Life, Freedom” slogan made famous during months-long protests in the country, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16.

Hamid Sajjadi practically runs Iran’s football federation. He was the force behind the sacking of Dragan Skočić and restoring Carlos Queiroz to Team Melli and hence accountable for the failure of the team in the World Cup 2022. The government of Iran is the largest contributor to the football federation coffer, some claim, the only contributor to the FFIRI budget. Other federation income is mostly from FIFA and AFC for Iran’s participating in international tournaments. The government of Iran always denies interfering in football and claims that FFIRI elections are free from outside interference, however, events in the last general election and the return of the disgraced Mehdi Taj refutes such claims.

In any case, even if Hamid Sajjadi is kicked out of the Ministry, the one that will replace him will continue on the same path and the same objective of using sports, particularly football, as a tool to serve the regime.

Mehdi Taj, The arrogant and condescending head of FFIRI under fire.

In a feeble attempt by Mehdi Taj to cover his own personal shortfalls and those of his administration, the president of the football federation FFIRI gave explanations about the bitter exchanges in a live TV show, the future plans of Team Melli, and the new form of club competitions in Asia suggested by the AFC.

Referring to the results of Iran in the World Cup, Mehdi Taj, said: “The result is always determined on the field, It’s true that we endured big pressure off the field and the players didn’t have the concentration required for such top-level competition, and maybe time will pass and no one will remember what these issues were. Moreover, when we returned to Iran, this important issue (off-field tension) was not discussed much, and how far the team was from the tranquil atmosphere of concentration required for the competition. However, I accept that we failed and I apologize for that. Although no one has seen our apology in the statement of the federation, my colleagues and I had done this with full humility. I believe that under normal circumstances, our team would have advanced with this quality that we have.”

Although he claimed that “we” failed, it was far from a genuine admission in the interview as he was vigorously defending his federation and the work of Queiroz.

The head of the football federation added: “I know that the main discussion these football days is about the issue of Team Melli’s head coach. I want everyone to allow us to make the best decision in this matter. I assure you that the federation and the board of directors will be the trustees of the people and will make the best decision. Our goal is to compensate for this result in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and, God willing, we will announce our decision on the appointment of the head coach considering all aspects and the good of the national team.”

What Taj claims is not consistent with facts and track records. In his shift, Taj was responsible for two major failures in appointing the Head Coach of Team Melli, one was the disastrous Marc Wilmots, for which he resigned his post before being questioned, and the other was recently in appointing Carlos Queiroz with three months to go to the World Cup!

How would the fans and critics believe that Taj will get it right the third time? Has he gained some superior knowledge in the last few days or weeks, has he attended seminars or consulted with the elites of world football for us to believe that he and his cronies, will get it right this time?

Selection of the Head coach and the coaching team in National teams is a process. FFIRI lacks that process and even if there is written in some obscure manual of FFIRI, it will not be followed. It is the Head of the FFIRI that decides. Not dissimilar to the system that country is run, it is a one-man show here too. The comical act of the Technical Committee that sacked  Dragan Skocic without having the authority to do so, during Misrshad Majedi’s term as acting head of FFIRI, shows how chaotic this federation and the people associated with it are.

Taj finally mentioned a subject he was trying hard to avoid, and that was the TV Sport show that was talk of the town and social media since Thursday. Taj’s arrogance, sarcasm, dark humor, and condescending attitude toward the two presenters, were not received well by the fans and media.

” First of all, I consider it my duty to once again thank the media for their sincere support during the World Cup. My colleagues and I at the Football Federation are eagerly interested in receiving suggestions and criticisms from media friends. Regarding the topics related to appearing on the sports network program, that night I had general expectations about the manner of the questions and the questions themselves, which I don’t want to reveal, but for example, in the discussion of the former head coach of the national team, Mr. Khiabani, could have said “what happened to the Wilmots case? ‘, which I should have answered, instead, Mr. Khabani suddenly said, “Where is the Wilmots case?” Maybe I shouldn’t have said it was in my pocket, but I should have explained the process that I did. I fully explained that the Wilmots case has resulted in a penalty against the FFIRI in the amount of 9.2 million euros, because of contract violations.

Regarding the issues raised with Rasul Majidi, the young show host of the program whom Taj clearly insulted, he said: “The reality is that this host is like my own son. I am also interested in him. At the beginning of the World Cup, I spoke only with him in this TV show. I was supposed to go to the studio on the last day. I am interested in them and I sincerely apologize.  Taj who insinuated that Majidi was a novice in football due ro his young age, turned around and said “In the football federation, people of his age do important work. I don’t want him to be upset either.

At the end of that interview, Taj made a strong statement saying that the IRIB has no place in making football policy or questioning who is going to be Team Melli’s coach.

Not only Taj has exposed his weak self and his lack of integrity and true management skills, his arrogance and looking down on people are something that the Iranians have experienced for the first time from this man. The industrialist from Esfahan who comes from a rich family loyal to the regime has truly uncovered his mask.

Amir Abedini: Queiroz must go.

Amir Abedini is a former club chairman, former professional footballer, and currently a member of the City Council of Tehran. Abedini’s views on football and politics have always been direct and bold. He has no issues speaking up against corruption, shortfalls, and anything that he deems to be harmful to society. In football, he rarely holds back and is most critical of the football establishment, the nepotism, and the mismanagement of the federation. He does not get much press exposure because his views are deemed to be controversial and since the FFIRI and football, in general, are under direct government control, it will be detrimental to the ruling clan and the political system.

Abedini was recently interviewed by Mehrnews post the Tehran derby that ended in a 2-2 draw. He was critical of the standard of the match, the lack of atmosphere as the match was played behind closed doors in the 100,000-capacity Azadi stadium, and the general lack of quality, and skills by the players of Esteghlal and Persepolis. Abedini then remarked that “after the Excitement of the World Cup and the beautiful games we have witnessed, perhaps our expectation of this derby was far too high.”

Amir Abedini was then asked about team Melli.

The former president of the Football Federation emphasized: “One of the issues that play a role in the quality of the league is the national team, which we do not see in Iran at the moment. Queiroz’s national team means a predetermined package; A certain group of players who, if Queiroz could, would even be taken with him to Colombia! In my opinion, our league is useless and its output is nothing for the national team. This hurts the league, the players, and the clubs in many ways.

Mehdi Taj is losing his bearings.
Abedini also responded to Mehdi Taj’s strange behavior and answers, which caused a lot of controversy on the sports network a few days ago, and added: Taj is losing his integrity due to the intense pressure he is under. One of the admirable merits of Taj was his coolness and his reasonable dealings with the media. Today Taj is tense and nervous and this nervousness plays a role in his behavior and decision-making. The bad failure in the World Cup made him nervous. The expectations of the people and the media are quite high and yet I have not seen any true critique from the media so far.

Team Melli was disappointing in the World Cup.
” We didn’t see anything of worth from Iran in the World Cup,” the former member of the Football Federation stated: “People expected the National Team to show its face and turn up to play football in the World Cup, but we didn’t see such thing. The beating by England hurt badly. In the 2018 World Cup, we defeated Morocco, but what happened to Morocco, who lost to us, four years later? they became among the top four teams in the world and were so good that the people of Asia, Africa, and some of the people of other continents wanted Morrocco to reach the final. . Or, for example, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, which performed significantly better than Iran.

Unwanted Queiroz was reborn and became alive with Iran.
Abedini added: We defeated the modest team of Wales. A team that really had nothing to say, but we messed up the national team’s camp and created false expectations. The same package of players that I mentioned earlier, threw that gentleman (Queiroz) up and down 6 times against England. Was it the same case for Korean and Japanese coaches? No one wanted Queiroz anywhere, but we brought him back to life. Taj defends something that has been rejected by the people and the media. People are not thrilled anymore;  Why do they insist that Queiroz remains one of the options for the head coach of the national team? Mr. Taj! People attack you because you are defending something that has been rejected by the people. People enjoy and rave about winners and enjoy success. Failures have no place in society.

Queiroz needs to go.
 “I am against the renewal of Queiroz’s contract. His work is not good enough.” The former president of the Football Federation emphasized that he is against the continuation of Queiroz’s work in the national team and said: “I am expressing my opinion. If Mr. Taj wants to stay in football, he must create a platform for consensus, that is, elites and experts who believe that change is necessary for football. It is good that the league is held, but the important thing is how our matches are held and what quality.

Imaginary enemies
“The media is not the enemy of football.” Abedini said, in response to the criticism of Mehdi Taj’s performance,” Taj should be spoken to and the public is entitled to know what is his plan for football and Team Melli. How does he want to continue his work? The General Assembly members and board of directors need to address that. Fand=s and experts should feel relaxed and be assured that football is being properly run (…) . These are football fanatics. The media is not an enemy, and neither are the people. Mehdi Taj must have a master plan with checkpoints to determine whether it is moving in the right direction or not.

Plans for Team Melli
“I think people like Dadkan and Maeli Kohn can provide good advice to Taj in regard to Team Melli.
Asked about, what advice the former Head of FFIRI  has for the Federation Assembly regarding the national team. He said: “Elites must decide. The football federation is for the people and the football elites become the representatives of the people. Make a decision and accept responsibility for it. People like Dadkan or Maeli Kohn or those who have experienced the ups and downs of football should help Taj as a consultant and support him. This would be a good option. It is not just a matter of having foreign or domestic coaches; whoever takes over in Team Melli, should be a coach who is proud of his appointment and capable, skillful, and competent for the post.

it is the same old, same old Queiroz! a pentagon of failures.

Team Melli has just experienced its fifth major failure under Carlos Queiroz, meaning that the football federation, after spending billions of tomans (Millions of dollars) in the last 11 years, could not fulfill the two demands of the fans and people of Iran in football.

 11 years ago and when FFIRI decided to choose a renowned head coach for the national team to put an end to the failures and disappointments of Team Melli especially since Iran won the AFC Asian Cup three times in a row from 1968 to 1976, a feat not repeated until now by any nation. and also failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup, the leaders of the FFIRI did not imagine that even a 9-years tenure by a renowned coach,  still could not achieve anything of worth.

Carlos Queiroz was the option that the Football Federation chose to lead the national team in early 2010 based on analysis and research, as claimed! He was supposed to be the Messiah, able to break the spells of several decades of Iranian football failures and heartbreak. FFIRI objectives for Queiroz were clear and that would be to lead Team Melli into the knock-out rounds of the World Cup and win the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 1976.  Two objectives had been set for Iranian football for years and the federation members spent millions of dollars to break these spells, but until today, they failed.

Qualification to the FIFA World Cup and winning thirds and fourth places in AFC Asian Cup were achieved by national coaches at a fraction of the cost of appointing Carlos Queiroz. In fact, Iranian coaches had a better performance than his team. Football Federation hired this Portuguese head coach at a very high cost that the FFIRI could not afford,  to break the two spells, but the 1-0 defeat against the United States was the end of the dream of qualification completing a pentagon of Queiroz’s failures with the Iranian national team.

Under Carlos Queiroz, In the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Team Melli had one draw and two defeats and was knocked out at the group stage.
In the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, the team experienced the same feat with one win, one loss, and one draw collecting 4 points.
Now,  in the FIFA World Cup Qatar  2022, the same thing repeated as Iran was knocked out with one win, two losses, and 3 points.

The Portuguese head coach was supposed to lead the Iranian national team to the title in the AFC Asian Cup, but during these competitions (2015 in Australia and 2019 in the UAE), when he was the head coach, Team Melli could not reach the finals with defeats against Iraq in the quarter-finals 2015 and loss to Japan in the semi-finals of AFC Cup 2019, and hence Iran completed its pentagon of failures under this Portuguese coach.

One of the criticisms that were leveled at Queiroz during this period is that he had a brute defensive mentality, commonly known as Park the Bus. It became synonymous with Queiroz and Team Melli quite unlike the Croatian coaches before him like Blazevic, Ivic, and Ivankovic who believed in offensive and attractive football.

While coaching Iran, Queiroz preferred strong defense detrimental to the offensive side. Whatever the coach’s playing strategy is, must be respected but ultimately he is responsible for the result. In Iran’s case, the defensive mentality of Queiroz failed to yield results.

In modern-day football and with so many advances in every angle of the game, it is rare that a coach survives that long in a team without achieving zilch.  Queiroz is unique perhaps an enigma. Why are they sticking to this man?

There is a logical reason, prepare a few for that. The first of which is the poor communication skills of the FFIRI, the nonexistence of quality international relations, and the twisted way that this federation is run. In Iran, the football federation is an extension of the government. It is an NGO by name only as the de facto leader of the federation is the Minister of Youth and Sports. It was the ministry that shouldered the coact of employing the highly expensive coach.

So, the failure of FFIRI is a natural extension of the failure of the government where loyalty rather than skills, intelligence, and suitability is the main requirement for appointment in every government-controlled organization.

Mehdi Taj has shown that he has a special faith in this coach because, despite past failures, he ludicrously went on to recruit the Portugues while the man who created a miracle that took Iran to the FIFA World Cup was fired with two months left! There was no logic and reasoning behind this but what it highlighted is the culture, or lack of it, of FFIRI leaders. A Culture of deceit, back-stabbing and immoral behavior.