Tag: Heshmat Mohajerani

False claims by Beiranvand

The current Team Melli player’s dream of perpetuating their name with the right of being “the best generation in Iran’s football history”, lacks credibility and proof for perpetuation!

“I firmly state that this generation is the best generation in our (football) history.” After apologizing several times for failing in Qatar, Alireza Biranvand quite seriously uttered these words to a group of journalists
who had gone to welcome the defeated Team Melli in the Asian Nations Cup.

The goalkeeper, who conceded 7 goals in 6 games in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and failed to keep a clean sheet except against Hong Kong, considers himself and his teammates to be the best generation in the history of Iran’s football, for

The current Team Melli player’s dream of perpetuating their name with the right of being “the best generation in Iran’s football history”, lacks logic and proof for perpetuation!

“I firmly state that this generation is the best generation in our (football) history.” After apologizing several times for failing in Qatar, Alireza Biranvand quite seriously uttered these words to a group of journalists who had gone to welcome the defeated Team Melli in the Asian Nations Cup.

The goalkeeper, who conceded 7 goals in 6 games in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and failed to keep a clean sheet except against Hong Kong, considers himself and his teammates to be the best generation in the history of Iran’s football, for no good reason. As soon as you hear this sentence of Beiranvand, the question begs, what have the current Team Melli players achieved to lay such a claim, and how does he (Beiranvand) consider this squad as special and unrepeatable? The answer is very short: nothing!

no good reason. As soon as you hear this sentence of Beiranvand, the question begs, what have the current Team Melli players achieved to lay such a claim, and how does he (Beiranvand) consider this squad as special and unrepeatable?
The answer is very short: nothing!


The best generation that this 31-year-old goalkeeper is talking about did not make it to the next round from the group stage of the World Cup in two attempts (2018 and 2022) and in two tournaments of
the Asian Cup (2019 and 2023) disappointed the fans by not even reaching the final let alone lifting the trophy. In terms of achievements, the current Iranian team is clearly nowhere near being labeled the best generation in the history of |Iran’s football. Perhaps Beiranvand means the presence of some
players abroad, which is also a misleading claim. Apart from Mehdi Taremi in Porto, Sardar Azmoun in Rome, and Saman Ghoddos in Brentford, no other players are active in the top 5 prestigious European leagues. Yes, that’s right, none!

Could it be that Beiranvand is referring to his performance in the team? Even that is incorrect in every sense.

To remind Beiranvand and other players of Team Melli as well as some fans who have not experienced the true meaning of the success and joy of Team Melli, so far, the best generation in the history of Iranian football were the players who won the AFC Asian Cup for 3 consecutive terms, 1968, 1972 and 1976. With such a unique achievement, yet to be repeated in the history of the AFC Asian Cup, no player of that generation made such a claim. 12 years of success and unbeaten in Asia until the semi-finals of the 1980 edition, under very difficult circumstances while the country was attacked and invaded by the Iraqis with players’ morals at their lowest, Iran lost to |Kuwait, the eventual title winner, in the semifinals.

Team Melli, under the leadership of Mahmoud Bayati, Mohammad Ranjbar, and Heshmat Mohajerani, won the Asian Cup three times but none of the players of that team ever called themselves invincible even after this hat-trick of championships. even though in in the last Asian Championship, Iran was so brilliant with Mansour Rashidi in goal that they had a clean sheet in all matches winning the championship without conceding a single goal. Maybe if Beiranvand had achieved such records, he would have considered himself the best goalkeeper in the world.

Iran has had no shortage of failures during the Asian Cup tournaments, but the point is that if, for example, the team of 2004, in which Mehdi Rahmati, Javad Nekounam, Yahya Golmohammadi, Ali Daei, Ali Karimi, Arash Burhani and… were playing. They could have claimed to be the best generation, some would have accepted it because it was only a penalty kick that deprived them of the finals. A similar can be claimed from the 1996 squad with the likes of Daei, Khodadad Azizi, Minavand, Karim Bagheri, and Mahdavikia.

The generation that became the champion of Asia for three consecutive seasons with unrepeatable honor is not much remembered these days, but do Beiranvand and his teammates expect to be remembered as the golden generation? A nickname that they believe in even though they have not won a single medal?

The game against Qatar is history now, as is the defeat against the USA, the bitter defeat against Japan in the semi-final of AFC Asian Cup 2019, or even the regret of Tarami’s last-second header against Portugal which missed by inches, It is better that instead of making such false claims like the best generation in history, Beiranvand or any player who thinks like that, face the reality that does not cast a shadow on the countless efforts for the success of the national team and the good name of Iran.

he elite of Ira’ns football are names such as Parviz Ghleechkhani, Hossein Kalani, Ali Jabbari, Hassan Habibi, Nasser Hejazi, Homayoun Behzadi, Hassan Rowshan, Gholam Vafakhah, Ali Parvin, Mostafa Arab, Ebrahim Ashtiani, Jafar kashani, Karo Haghverdian and loads of other that acheived glory for Iran. They can lay claim as being the best, not Beiranvand.

Perhaps after a short period when the national team players realized that one of the most attainable championship chances in the history of post-revolution Iranian football was lost in Qatar, they should have a nice apology from a generation that has not yet tasted success after 48 years. A generation that only a few people will know about them these days.

Mehdi Taj “National coach is better for Team Melli”

Mehdi Taj, in a TV show, said that a national coach is much better than a foreign import to lead Team Melli.

This represents a U-turn and a change of heart from a person who has always advocated the recruitment of foreign coaches for Team Melli.

Taj admitted that the federation’s limited financial resources are a big obstacle against recruiting a foreigner. He emphasized the FIFA rule regarding the contract between coaches and football federation members of FIFA, in which a two months arrear and no payment by the federation not only gives the coach the right to unilaterally cancel the contract but also claim the rest of the contract period dues. It is believed that Marc Wilmots used this rule against FFIRI and managed to win the case. The remainder of the contract wages amounted to nearly 2 million Euros. Incidentally, it was Mehdi Taj who recruited Wilmots, and it was also Taj who failed with his administration to honor the contract with the Belgian coach by not paying him for over two months citing a lack of cash flow.

“We are considering domestic and foreign coaches,” the head of the football federation said about the final option for the national team: “There are two different views, one side has reservations about recruiting a domestic coach, while the other side fundamentally believes in them ( local coaches). We have always been proud of our domestic coaches. Mohajerani, Parveen, and Daei have worked hard for the nation, and recently, Nekounam and other coaches have also been there.”

“In the foreign dimension, for example, Queiroz has helped us a lot. We are under sanctions and are unable to pay a foreign coach,” Taj said, referring to international banking sanctions. If we have cash here, it is not practical to transfer it abroad. One of the defendants in the Wilmots case is me and other members of the board of directors. We were accused because we could not pay him. Calderon, Branco, and Stramaccioni are other examples who left and filed court cases against us because they didn’t get their money.”

It is clear that the next coach of Team Melli is going to be domestic. That cannot be good news for Team Melli fans as many believe that Iran’s domestic league has failed to produce any quality coach who is capable of leading the nation at the international level.

Frank O’Farrell, former Team Melli coach, dies aged 94

The former Team Melli coach Frank O’Farrell has died at the age of 94. The Irishman also managed Leicester and Manchester United.

O’Farrell guided Leicester to the 1969 FA Cup final during his three-year spell in charge but the Irishman was best known as the man who succeeded Sir Matt Busby as United manager in 1971, although his Old Trafford reign would last only 18 months.

O’Farrell was a wing-half who played for his native Cork, West Ham, and Preston, winning nine Republic of Ireland caps between 1952 and 1959.

He began his managerial career at Weymouth in 1961 and spent three years at Torquay before landing the Leicester job in 1968. Leicester were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in the following year’s Cup final and relegated from the First Division three weeks later.

O’Farrell was quickly appointed as Busby’s successor. After a promising start which saw United top the table for the first time in three years, O’Farrell fell out with George Best and the team ended the season eighth. O’Farrell was sacked in December 1972 with United third from bottom.

After a short spell at Cardiff, O’Farrell was appointed as the Head coach of Team Melli in April 1974. He began his tenure with seven consecutive wins, leading them to the gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games and qualification for the Montreal Olympics.

O’Farrell was credited for undertaking the development of national coaches like his protege Heshmat Mohajerani, Bahman Salehnia, and Hasan Habibi. Mohajerani took over from O’farell and became the best Iranian coach in the history of Iran and was crowned with his qualification to the World Cup 1978.

In January 2006, O’Farrell was invited to Iran to attend a ceremony in honor of Persepolis’ former players, along with Alan Rogers

In testimony to O’Farrell, the Iranian superstar of the 70’s Hassan Rowshan commented Frank O’Farrell, was a real gentleman; A coach. In my opinion, I believe that Rykov built the infrastructure and foundation of Iranian football, and O’Farrell completed it. Interestingly, unlike Carlos Queiroz, O’Farrell believe in domestic trainers and had several Iranian assistants, such as Mohajerani, Habibi, and Salehnia, with him, and taught them the work. After O’Farrell left Iran, Mohajerani took the helm of the national team and achieved good results in the Asian Cup, the Olympics, and the World Cup, especially in Argentina.

O’Farrell later attended the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as a reporter and met with the Iranian national team players.

Reacting to the fact that some consider O’Farrell the architect and a kind of gateway to the world football arena, Rowshan said: “With the change of generation that took place, O’Farrell invited younger players to Team Melli who later formed the main body of the team. First of all, if you want to build a 100-story apartment building, you have to have a solid foundation. Rykov did that and tore down our old football foundation and built a new one. O’Farrell helped modernize our football. Rykov was a coach from Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia. Most of Europe’s great coaches at the time were from Eastern Europe. As I said, Rykov took the first step and then O’Farrell prepared the team in the style of Western European teams. Unlike Queiroz, who was looking to play against weaker teams, Rykov focused on the likes of Brazil, Hungary, and Manchester United. In my opinion, Rykov and O’Farrell, in addition to Mohajerani, were our best national coaches.

Asghar Sharafi bemoans the lack of discipline and competent managers in Iran’s football.

Asghar Sharafi, the former Team Melli player and assistant coach to Heshmat Mohajerani when Iran qualified for the 1978 World Cup for the first time, is a unique outspoken character. His military background has taught him strict discipline and throughout his career, he abided by these principles. Sharafi’s values on discipline have endeared him to many but it seems that the days of such mentality of the pre-revolution era have lost their color, according to the former coach.

In an interview with Kayhan, Asghar Sharafi said  “The big clubs of the world are part of their society. Any society that abides by the law will flourish. In one European country, the prime minister was questioned for attending a party. These are the products of respect for the law, where the laws and regulations are institutional. It starts at the grassroots. In our society regretfully we think otherwise as lawlessness and revolt are admired. As such calamities befall us.”

Sharafi is referring to several breaks of discipline in various clubs and Team Melli some of which made big headlines.

“We must look at who is running our major clubs and then measure our expectation in dealing with wrongdoings and indiscipline accordingly. “Sharafi added: “Unfortunately, diminutive people manage our football here and these people do not have the guts nor the resolve to deal with immorality, insubordination, and disorderly acts. In the big and prestigious clubs of the world, the people in charge, react to such matters of transgression because of the respect the clubs has for its fan and society, even more than the sole interest of the club itself.”

“In the distant past, in Iranian football, there were people at the head of clubs who dealt with indiscipline and did not allow those irregularities to spread. In the days when I was the head coach of Shiraz, we had a player who was indisciplined. I dealt with him as severely as possible. Once, a young player on our team punched the referee in the chest during the match. I was interviewed that day and I said that this player did not hit the referee, but in fact, he hit his own coach because, with such an act, he questioned his coach’s credibility. In the big clubs of the world, ethical issues are important, but in Iran, the only thing that matters is to win points.”

“One of the biggest problems of football in Iran is managers’ fear of dealing with indiscipline; That could be the manager of the club or the director of the football federation. He says to himself that if I deal with an undisciplined player and suspend him, my team may not succeed. So, they pass a light sentence, and on many occasions on appeal, that suspension is dropped! This is a big problem. In a club like Manchester United, a young player who has committed an offense is dealt with severely, and that is not a personal treatment but to protect the interests of the whole organization, these interests include the credibility of the club and the fans. Unfortunately, the biggest problem in our football is the lack of competent and specialized managers at the top. If Iranian football had been run by people who were competent, sympathetic, and moral but most importantly, familiar with the fundamentals of the sport, we would never have witnessed recent unruly events.”

Asghar Sharafi, severly criticized FFIRI over failure to honor Wilmots contract.

After all the fuss about football federations failure to pay Wilmot’s wages, a great number of sporting personnel and media in Iran attacked the head of the federation and accused him of shortfalls and failures which has put Iran’s name in disrepute.

Asghar Sharafi, Iran’s veteran footballer , former Team Melli star and assistant coach is one of those who strongly criticized the performance of the Football Federation in the aftermath of the disgrace leading to a threat by Coach Wilmots to leave.

“if you did not have the money, why would you employ and upset a foreign coach?” Sharafi questioned.  “in reality, Team Melli has no working head coach. How can that be? Aren’t these people ashamed? Those who claim to be managing and running football affairs in our country are only embarrassing the nation and making a mockery out of us in front of the world. They are playing with the dignity of this nation. Aren’t they thinking even a little that their poor actions have an effect on the reputation of this country?  Why don’t they care to think about the country’s reputation ?”  Sharafi added:

Asghar Sharafi Team Melli Iran 1972
Asghar Sharafi Team Melli Iran 1972 winger

“Is it not in the class of Iranian football not to have a working coach for Team Melli? We are the 25th richest country in the world. Also, if we don’t have the money as they claim all the time,  then why hire a foreign coach? We have so many good young coaches right now. Our football is very beautiful. When speaking, negotiating or cutting deals, that person must have knowledge.”

” Some times ago, our football was not so good, but who can criticize the progress of Yahaya Golmohammadi’s team which he built on the tightest of budgets, or Amir Ghalenoei? Who can question Esteghlal and Persepolis? Our football has changed. to the better” said Sharafi who was the assistant coach of Heshmat Mohajerani in Iran’s first participation at the FIFA World Cup1978.

“I blame the football federation100 percent for their incompetence.  They’re not worthy of the posts that they cling to.  These are people who would not even be employed in their previous organizations but somehow, they turned up as experts in sporting organizations like football. I am not seeking controversy or start a fight with someone. I have accomplished many honours across the world representing Iranian football. The World Cup , Olympics Games and Asian Games? I’ve reached all of this. Everyone has his days but a person can not be there at the top all the time. It is not always Asghar Sharafi’s day. So I’m not talking about jealousy. It really hurts me to witness the ridicule that these people have put upon us. Show me a country that doesn’t have a coach when it and goes to play a game” Sharafi added.

“It’s a real shame they didn’t pay the coach his dues or any money for that matter, a real shame. Why hire a foreign coach? Extend your foot to the size of your carpet. Wilmots has the full rights to refuse to work with this lot ” said Sharafi. “He has a contract with us, he gets ten times as much as a local. How much we gave to Queiroz and Branco. Whose money is this? It’s yours and mine, it’s people’s money. Then they take two photos for their family album and say, look, I wasn’t in football but I was the president of the federation.” Sharfi taking a dig at the head of the federation. Mehdi Taj.

Iran’s first World Cup hero passes away.

Iraj Danaeifard, the former Team Melli player who scored Iran;s first goal in the 1978 World Cup has passed away in Shiraz on Wednesday 12 December 2018 after a struggle with kidney illness. Danaeifard was 67 years old

 Iraj was the son of another famous Iranian footballer and coach ,Ali Danaeifard . Iraj  was invited by Heshmat Mohajerani to Team Melli and made his debut for  in the qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup 1978 in the match against Saudi Arabia. He was a late starter for Team Melli , however , he was quite impressive in the league.

His memorable goal against Scotland,  where he dribbled past Archie Gemmell and scored from an acute angle, ensure he will remain in history  of Iranian football as the first ever goal scorer for Team Melli in the World Cup.

Danaeifard played 17 times for Team Melli and scored 3 goals.

May he rest in peace.

Heshmat Mohajerani “Mahdavikia should work along with Queiroz”


 Iran’s legendary football coach Heshmat Mohajerani praised the Iranian U-17 team and said this team should easily win its two remaining matches after their sterling display against Argentina, the current champions of South America. Mohajerani singled out Ali Doustimehr for rave commendation calling him a dedicated coach who has tremendous ability to work with youngsters and inspires them to do their best. “Doustimehr, time again showed us his quality and capabilities. He is a dedicated coach who has the interest of the boys at heart and works tirelessly with them to achieve a high standard of performance and create a team spirit and camaraderie in these youngsters.  They are able to deliver largely to the inspirational and technical powers of Ali Doustimehr. He is an asset for Iran.”

Mohajerani was speaking to reporters in Dubai during his visit to the Team Melli U-17 training camp where the U-17 are participating in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013 . The veteran coach who is a resident of Dubai told the press “I hardly attend the senior team’s matches, but for the youngsters, I would not miss the opportunity to watch them live. It is a delight when you see these young ones play to such a level of football”. Mohajerani also praised the role that Mahdavikia is playing with the team. “Mehdi was a tremendous player; he is also a gentleman that has a lot to offer for Iran’s football if he elects to go into coaching. I have a lot of confidence in the potentials of Mahdavikia. His excellent character for a starter is a big advantage that is in short supply in Iran’s football. In fact I strongly suggest from now that Mahdavikia should work along with Queiroz as step in his career progression.”

Mehdi Mahdavikia is currently accompanying Team Melli U-17 in an advisory role. He has been praised by Doustimehr for the work he carried out for the team, including his exceptional effort to organize the Germany camp where the team had valuable matches with strong German clubs youth teams. Mahdavikia’s contacts in Germany and the respect that he is awarded there, enable Team Melli U-17 to set up the camp.

Commenting further on the potentials of Mahdavikia , the former Team Melli coach who took Iran to the 1978 World Cup , believes  apart from Mahdavikia calm character and the respect that he has for player and people around him, his long experience in Germany working under professional environment, will ensure that new ideas and mentality in introduced in Iran`s football.