Tag: Jalal Hosseini

Team Melli Head Coach

Queiroz defends his selection

Portuguese head coach Queiroz left Persepolis captain Seyyed Jalal Hosseini and Esteghlal winger Vouria Ghaffouri out of his squad for next month’s FIFA World Cup, insisting before squad travel to Istanbul, that the decisions were purely based on tactical issues.

“We have to call only 23 players in our final list and we could not do anything else because of the rules and logistical issues,” Queiroz said in response to criticism and then talked about the important players who have no place in his squad.

Referring to Jalal Hosseini, Queiroz said: “I respect Jalal with all my heart, but this respect should be for the next generation of Iranian football as well. We need a younger Team Melli for the upcoming events and we have to move forward. I emphasize that Seyyed Jalal will remain on our waiting list and will join Team Melli if we need him.”

When asked about Vouria Ghaffouri, the coach answered: “I needed a solid right fullback in the national team, but at his club Esteghlal he was used as a right midfielder or winger, with the decision of head coach Winfried Schaefer. I have no idea why Mr. Schaefer was surprised by seeing Vouria is not in the squad. I don’t know why he’d say that. Mr. Schaefer does not believe in Vouria as a right back and has changed the player’s position.”

Queiroz’s reasoning has not convinced many experts with some accusing him of creating tension as result of his not-so-cordial relations  with the coaches of both clubs.

Team Melli travelled to Istanbul on Monday to hold a training camp in the European country. The Persians will face Turkey football team on May 29 in a friendly match as part of preparation for the 2018 World Cup.

Iran have been drawn in Group B of the 2018 World Cup along with Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

Ghafouri’s omission turns political.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vouria Ghafouri

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

Jalal Hosseini

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

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

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

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

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

Morale boosting win for Team Melli against Montenegro.

Team Melli defeated Montenegro 1-2 in a friendly International match in the capital city Podgorica on Sunday.

Team Melli was camping in Austria, before travelling to Montenegro for the match. Both Iran and Montenegro are preparing for the FIFA World Cup2018 qualifiers next week.

Iran played a goalless draw against Montenegro three years ago before the World Cup. The Montenegro team has performed well in the current World Cup qualifying rounds with good results such as the win against Denmark in Copenhagen.

According to Queiroz at the pre-match press conference, Montenegro game style is similar to Uzbekistan and that is his reasoning behind arranging this match.

Iran and Uzbekistan’s national teams will play Azadi Stadium next week with Team Melli looking for a win to seal their qualification for the second consecutive World Cup.

Team Melli line up against Montenegro included : Alireza Beiranvand, Morteza Pouraliganji, Pejman Montazeri, Saeid Aghaei, Ramin Rezaeian, Saeid Ezatolahi (Ezzaat Pourqaz) Ehsan Hajsafi (Ali Karimi) Ashkan Dejagah (Reza Ghoochannejhad) Mehdi Torabi, Karim Ansarifard (Milad Mohammadi) and Sardar Azmoun (Ehsan Pahlavan)

Iran played the final ten minutes of the match short of one player after the expulsion of Morteza Pouraliganji for a second yellow card.

In the tenth minute Sardar Azmoun scored for Iran again after 8 months dry run. Aghaei sent a long ball to Rezaeian who headed towards Torabi and the quick and artistic move of  Mehdi Torabi was effective in gifting the goal to Sardar Azmoun.

After the goal, Montenegro took the majority of possession and threatened Team Melli several time. Biravand in goal was a saviour and prevented the collapse in the first half. However in the 31st minute the hosts scored the deserved equalizer through their star player  Jovetic the ex- Manchester City player and currently playing for Seville in the La Liga.

Saeid Ezatolahi powerful shot from a free kick, the header against the bar by Azmoun were among the two most serious attempts by Team Melli to take the lead again. Montenegro had several chances too but the half ended in a 1-1 draw.

In the second half, the substitute Ali Karimi’s cross and followed by Ramin Rezaeian header, once again to Sardar Azmoun , set up the second goal for Team Melli. The young striker has increased his goals tally to eighteen with this brace.

The host once again had most of the possession but to no real threat on the solid and tight Iranian defence.

Apart from the dismissal of Pouraliganji , the match went According to script that Queiroz wanted it

The game ended 2-1 as Asian top ranked team in the FIFA rankings, gathered valuable points to add for next months.

Queiroz once again, gave two players their debut. Saeed Aghaei and Ehsan Pahlavan made their first appearance for Team Melli and played quite well against the organized Montenegro team.

Both of them were encouraging.

Queiroz gave a chance for seventeen players in the match and utilized his full quota under the rules. Many fixed players did not get a chance to play including the likes of Jahanbakhsh, Taromi, Shojaei, Amiri and Jalal Hosseini.

The make-shift team of Queiroz has proved that he has managed to create two parallel teams capable to compete at the highest levels in any match. So that injuries and suspensions, without prejudice to the team, does not affect the overall performance.

This was a morale boosting win against a European team away from home.

Team Melli is further depleted !

A depleted Team Melli will be flying to Tashkent on Tuesday 11:00 am missing 7 players. The latest additions,  is one of the most experienced players, Seyed Jalal Hosseini and Foolad young starlet , Soroush Rafei. The pair is facing administration issues preventing them from leaving Iran.

As reported earlier in teammelli.com , Hosseini is facing tax evasion charges due to the non-payment of taxes while he was playing with Persepolis. Hosseini learned of his dilemma when he returned to Iran after the end of the QSL season where he was playing with Al Ahli in Qatar.  Hosseini is adamant that according to his contract , Persepolis was supposed to pay for his income taxes , something they never did.

Soroush Rafei is faced with the military service which in Iran means the person is not allowed to leave the country until the completion of his duty. However, there are exemptions based on admissible evidences. Queiroz personally took Rafei’s issue to task but it appears that his efforts were fruitless.

Although the decision on both are not final with another 30 odd hours remaining to the flight , it is hardly unlikely that the matter will be resolved. Hosseini’s absence will be a real blow to Team Melli already missing Amir Hossein Sadeghi in the central defense and Mehrdad Pooladi. Montazeri will most probably be paired with young Pouraliganji in the central defense while Ghafoori , Heydari or Beikzadeh will be occupying the defensive flanks.

The list of the absentees on the trip to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is as follows:

  1. Ashkan Dejagah (Injury)
  2. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (injury)
  3. Ghassim Haddadifar (Fatigue)
  4. Jalal Hosseini (Taxation)
  5. Karim Ansarifard (Form)
  6. Mehrdad Pooladi (Military Service)
  7. Soroush Rafei (Military Service)

Pooladi and Shojaei relegated in QSL.

Al Shahaniya club lost its final match in the Qatar Star League QSL against Al Ahli and were relegated to the second division. Al Shahaniya which has two Team Melli players Mehrdad Pooladi and Masoud Shojaei in their squad , were just promoted last season. The two Iranian players started with the team from the beginning of the season , but their efforts were fruitless and could not help keep the newly promoted team in top flight for more than one season.

Al Shahaniya finished in 13th position with 20 points 7 points ahead of the bottom team Al Shamal which is also relegated along with Al Shahaniya.

Al Ahli which is coached by the ex-Sepahan coach Zlatko Kranjcar and has Jalal Hosseini and Mojtaba Jabbari playing for them finished the season at 5th place. Hosseini and played Pooladi played the full match for their respective teams , while Masoud Shojaei was introduced as a substitute from the second half. Jabbari is currently injured.

Al Wakrah which has Reza Ghoochanejad in their squad , just missed on relegation by beating Al Gharafa 2-1 in the final round of the QSL a result that ensured their survival. Al Wakrah finished with 23 point at 12 place just above the relegated Al Shahaniya. Ghoochanejad made a cameo appearance for Al Wakra when he replaced Ahmad Koheyl Substituted in the final 5 minutes of the game.

QSL title was won by Lekhwiya for the fourth time in their history.

Jalal Hosseini ” the fans should not expect miracles.”

Jalal Hosseini , Team Melli central defender said “since Team Melli preparations was way behind the other opponents , the fans should not expect miracles.”

 Seyed Jalal Hosseini spoke to Mehr news agency about the conditions of Iranian national team six days before the opener match against Bahrain, He said: “Thanks God our physical condition is quite decent. Unfortunately, we did not have an ideal number of preparation friendly games and that is a crucial point. Therefore, we had to compensate with much preparative physical work. From the day we landed in Australia, we have worked quite hard to get in shape ready for the Asian Cup with hard and tough training.”

He added “we had a very good game against Iraq. I hope that despite all the hardships, the lack of preparatory friendly games, we manage in showcasing our abilities and qualities in the Asian Cup. The first game is very important in such tournaments in particular, since our first opponent in the tournament is Bahrain, the team that we usually have some difficulties against. Anyway, I hope we have a good start, then continue from there on”

Hosseini said that there is no point in regretting what happened and divulging about the level of team preparations. “No matter how long we have been in a training camp, it is not a substitute for playing strong friendly games against quality oppositions.  If you ask me whether our team’s preparation is on the same footing at the oppositions, I categorically say NO. However, this is all water under the bridge now. We must deal with this situation . Very little time is left to the start of the tournament.,  so we must not think about the past and feel sorry about ourselves , this is like shooting ourselves in the foot if we keep on about that. We simply have to carry on. In any case, the fact is that we are way behind the other teams in preparation programs. Each of them has done a dozen or so friendly games against strong teams. Ae are very backward. In that sense”

He added, however I strongly disagree with people who have demanded that Team Melli must win the title or at least reach the finals. The fact is that we have not had the proper preparation for such a strong tournament to justify such demand. The situation dictated upon us after our return from the World Cup , was as such that the team was sitting idle for 6 months without any games and meaningful program. Our squad had not had the chance for any match to see how the team performs with new players and what the benchmark is. Now we have many young players in our team. When players can show their real ability to have more opportunity to play together. We should not expect miracles from the team; however, we are of all our efforts we can make the people happy.”

Hosseini paid tribute to the new Team Melli players. The central defender, currently playing for Al AHli , admitted thy are quite a revelation with their hard work and stamina. “We have to accept that this group and others in the same level, are the future of Iran’s football. I am quite happy to see them paying so much attention and working their extreme best to impress in order to become established players.”

Mahini on the brink of suspension from football !

Hossein Mahini , Team Melli and  Persepolis defender is on the brink of suspension from football after he failed to produces genuine and authentic medical report justifying his exclusion from the mandatory Military Service.

Mahini , who was born in Bushehr, but played most of his senior football in Khuzestan , was named as one of over 100 footballers holding fake Exemption from Military Service certificates. Many footballers were subsequently acquitted while the name of about 10 was publicized as player who are confirmed to have cheated. None of the 10 players were Team Melli members of any age level.

Mahini’s exemption was based on a medical certificate, which apparently was not very convincing to the investigating committee.   These investigations were initiated by the authorities, ironically after Persepolis and Ali Daei blew the whistle on Foolad Khuzestan players hoping that the FFIRI will deprive Foolad from their championship title last season and declare Persepolis, who were ranked second behind  Foolad, as champions!

The federation refused to act on Persepolis demands due to legality and absence of such ruling in the Federations byelaws, however FFIRI initiated an investigations into these allegations and passed the findings to the relevant authorities. As Karma would have it , an important Persepolis player in Hossein Mahini was on the list to the dismay of the reds.

If Mahini fails to produce authentic documents, he will face at least a two year suspension from playing for Persepolis putting more pressure on the beleaguered club especially in the defense where the team is already suffering after the loss of two international players Jalal Hosseini and Mehrdad Pooladi.

Daei reveals how President Ahmadinejad sacked him!

In a controversial revelation by Ali Daei, the recently sacked Persepolis coach has said that the main reason behind his sacking as Team Melli coach was the then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The outspoken Daei said the reason for his sacking is his refusal to join Ahmadinejad re-election campaign and show his public support to the hardline President.

 Daei was sacked after one defeat against Saudi Arabia in the World Cup 2010 qualifiers, his only defeat as a coach of Team Melli. Iran was going through the Presidential Election with the opposition leaders Mousavi and Karoubi gaining grounds on the incumbent President Ahmadinejad who was losing much public support as a result of poor economy.

Daei’s claim came in last night’s edition of the popular Navad program in which Ferdowsipour was discussing Persepolis recent developments, coaching and managerial changes.

As customary in such situation, it was quite difficult to believe who is telling g the truth, but what was abundantly clear in the chronic mismanagement, government interference, nepotism, political influences and back stabbing behind the scenes that is distressing football in Iran. Persepolis, like Esteghlal , is owned and financed by the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Iran. Despite the continual denials that the Ministry interferes in the day-to-day running of the clubs, facts and behind the scene events tells otherwise.  

ahmadinejad daei

Another interesting aspect of the program was the number of Persepolis fans who were upset by the recent developments in the club. Despite poor results by Daei , he still has much support base amongst the fans as the polls indicated. Daei, admitting some of his shortfall ( and that is in itself quite unique) but attributed the team’s poor performance to the attempts by the hierarchy in the club and the Ministry of Sport to dislodge him from his post as early as the season start! In brief , Daei was saying that they were plotting against him and making his life difficult.

Daei in his defense, said “We lost quality players like Khalatbary , Jalal Hosseini , Mosalman and others because the management failed to agree terms with them and pay what they are worth. On top of that, quite a large number of players were not fully paid from the previous season’s contract. How would you expect the players to perform on the field?” Rahimi, the sacked CEO of Persepolis supported Daei’s claims and confirmed that the Hierarchy wanted Daei out even before the season started!

Daei has accused the present Minister of Sport , Goudarzi of sacking him and has established that he has the honor of being sacked by the President of the Country once and the Minister of Sport the next time.

Clearly , much like its neighboring countries , political interference in football is widespread and prevalent in Iran. Political events and spheres of influence seem to spreads to where popularity lies. The exception in Iran is the relatively more press freedom and transparency which allows such exposures to reach the public.   

Mehrdad Pooladi , from the EPL to La Liga and now Qatar !

Mehrdad Pooladi was the top Iranian player in the World Cup. This is not just some wise guys opinion, but based on actual data, statistics and figures from each player’s performance that FIFA has introduced. He was solid in left back and was one of the reasons that the defense of Team Melli held tight, until the Bosnia match that is.

 Right after the World Cup conclusion, the rumor mills were talking about the English Premiere league as the next destination of the Persepolis left back. Then there was a mention of La Liga while Osasuna was also cited in the midst of clubs that have been chasing Pooladi. The player himself confirmed to the media that he has two offers from European clubs. He was in the process of choosing the best deal and naming the club soon. Suddenly however, it was the good old Qatar Star League  (QSL) that seems to be the destination of the best Iranian player in the World Cup. We are not sure whether Pooladi has got his bearing right.  

Like nearly half of the starting lineup of Team Melli , Pooladi is heading towards the hot temperatures of Doha to join a Qatari first division club. But unlike Jabbari , Dejagah , Montazeri and  Hosseini who are playing for higher ranked teams and title contenders, Pooladi is joining a newly promoted team , Al Shahania. The modest club has just gained promotion and working on a tight budget, relatively speaking. Al Shahania’s mission for the coming season is to maintain their place in First Division and perhaps cause a few upsets in the cup.

The deal has not been officially announced yet as Pooladi will be flying to Doha on Friday to complete the formalities. Qatar league has yet to start. Meanwhile Persepolis has been complaining about Pooladi’s absence from the squad, but the player said that he is not a Persepolis player anymore,  he is a free agent and out of contract. He does not quite understand why Persepolis is talking about absence.

So, the chapter of the most famous and Marquee players of Team Melli and their transfers to the grand arenas of Europe is just about close. There has been rumors of Karim Ansarifard going to the Spanish league, but frankly we have heard so much of these false grand plans, that we will not dignify the pages of teammelli.com with such stories until it actually happens.

Meanwhile, another Team Melli player Reza Haghighi is still persisting with Persepolis for a release so that he can be close to his Team Melli teammates in Qatar.

Jalal Hosseini Joins Al Ahli of Qatar

Team Melli central defender , Seyed Jalal Hosseini has joined Al Ahli of Qatar on a one year deal and expected to be in Doha for his medical soon.

After the breakdown of negotiation with his current club , Persepolis , Hosseini , who was out of contract , decided to seek his fortune abroad and join another Iranian player , Mojtaba Jabbari in al Ahli.It seems that the current Persepolis CEO was not willing to honor the promises given to Hosseini by the ex CEO Mohammad Rouyanian in terms of financial settlements and  arrears in wages payments. The current CEO , Rahimi also refused to accept Hosseini’s latest wage demands which he deemed to be unreasonable.


Al Ahli of Qatar had Fereydoon Zandi on its roster , before the German Born Iranian suffered a horrendous career threatening injury.  Al Ahli  just announced recently that their ex-Iranian midfielder has retired from football after will be leaving the club. There are talks that Zandi might rejoin the club as a coach.

Last season , was one of the best in a decade of this once top Qatari club. After suffering relegation and languishing in the lower leagues for years, Al Ahli gained promotion the season before last under the shrewd coaching of Milan Macala. Al Ahli reached the semi-finals of the cup last season and finished the league  in a comfortable 6th position in the 14 teams professional league.

Several other Qatari clubs are seeking to recruit Iranian players. Most of the Team Melli players who are available for transfer have been contacted by Qatari clubs agents. So, far , Hosseini is the only deal that has been announced