Tag: Kurdistan

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.