Tag: Macedonia

Munir El Haddadi appeals to switch to Morocco

Deportivo Alaves forward Munir El Haddadi has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in his bid to switch allegiance from Spain to Morocco.

CAS said in a statement that Munir had appealed jointly with the Moroccan Football Federation (FMF) after Fifa turned down his request on March 13.

The appeal included a request for a decision by mid-May “in order for the player’s sporting nationality to be decided prior to the commencement of the Fifa 2018 World Cup,” said CAS.

Fifa rules bar players from switching allegiance once they have played a competitive international even if they hold dual nationality.

Munir, 22, made a single appearance for Spain, in a European championship qualifier against Macedonia in September 2014, when he came on as a substitute and played less than 15 minutes.

“This was my decision and I knew what I was doing. Since I was young I have played in Spain and this was my idea,” said Munir at the time. “I spoke with people in Morocco and told them that I wanted to play here instead.”

Munir, who was born in Spain and has a Moroccan father, was raised at Barcelona’s famous youth academy where he made his professional debut and is currently on loan at Alaves.

He has also spent one season on loan at Valencia.

Fifa’s stakeholders committee is studying a proposal to make the rules more flexible in such cases.

Cape Verde’s football federation suggested the rule be relaxed in cases where the player has played only one or two games for his original national side but has no realistic chance of a recall.

“It’s a good time to have a look at this and see if there are solutions, without hurting the integrity of the game,” said Victor Montagliani, head of the stakeholders committee, in October.

Spain and Morocco have been drawn in the same group at the World Cup alongside Portugal and Iran.

Team Melli returns to Tehran to prepare for Kyrgyzstan.

Team Melli landed in the early hours of  Sunday morning in Tehran returning from Skopje , Macedonia via Istanbul airport. After the 3-1 win against Macedonia , Team Melli stayed in the country and continued training and preparation for the upcoming friendly international against Kyrgyzstan.

So far , all the squad members are in a good condition with no injury reported. The squad will stay in the hotel until the match day on Tuesday 7th June. The match will be played in Azadi Stadium at 21:00 local time (15:30 GMT).



The two neighboring countries have a very few number of games between them and no friendly matches at all. This is the first time the two teams are meeting in a friendly. The only two matches played were during the FIFA World Cup 1998 Asian Zone qualifiers were Team Melli came out comfortable winners in both matches.

Karim Bagheri tops the scoring against Kyrgyzstan with 3 goals in 2 matches while Khodadad Azizi has two goals.

Kyrgyzstan had a bit of a revival recently and despite failing to make the top 10 teams in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers, their performances were good enough to worry the opponents and never were the punching bag team of the group as some predicted. Their best achievement was defeating Jordan in the qualifiers 1-0 , the goal scored by Anton Zemlianukhin.

Kyrgyzstan never qualified for any major tournament since independence from the Soviet Union in 1992. Their biggest defeat remains the 7-0 drubbing by Iran in Damascus.

one of the promising players emerging in Kyrgyzstan  is the young  Akhlidin Israilov who is playing for the second string team of mighty Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. There are several national team players who play their football outside of Kyrgyzstan but none at major teams.



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Venue Matches W D L Goals + / –
H 1 1 0 0 3 – 1 +2
A 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 +0
N 1 1 0 0 7 – 0 +7
Total 2 2 0 0 10 – 1 +9
Date Comp. venue  score Stadium Attendance
09.06.1997 WC Qualifier
H 3 – 1 Azadi – Tehran 50000
04.06.1997 WC Qualifier N 7 – 0 Abbasyeen Stadium , Damascus 25000


Macedonian match report

Moment of the second half; photo: Filip Zdraveski

After the win against Azerbaijan, Macedonia was put back on ground by the Asian giant who recorded a comfortable win in Skopje.

Macedonia made a small glimpse of hope with the 3:1 win over Azerbaijan on neutral ground in Austria on Sunday, but all that was quickly erased by the disastrous performance against Iran on Thursday. The many mistakes in the back line gave the Iranians lots of chances and only thanks to keeper Dimitrievski the final result wasn’t a humiliating defeat.

Sardar Azmoun was a hat-trick hero for the visitors scoring all goals for his team. He broke the deadlock after only 8 minutes of play, but Macedonia quickly equalized through Aleksandar Trajkovski in the 10th minute. Ten minutes later Azmoun brought back Iran the lead, a score that remained for the entire first half.

Macedonia tried to create some chances after the break, but Azmoun destroyed all the hopes for a positive result with his third goal in the 60th minute. The Iranians could have easily win with 5 or 6:1, but keeper Dimitrievski managed so make some great saves.

The small crowd at the Philip II Arena once again booed the players, except Dimitrievski who earned ovations on several occasions.

Iran’s golden boy scores a hat trick against Macedonia

Sardar Azmoun scored a hat trick, his first at international level to lead Team Melli 3-1 against Macedonia in the match played At Philip II stadium at Skopje.

Azmoun scored early in the 8th minute from an assist by Dejagah , however the host quickly replied back and scored the equalizer in the 10th minute by A. Trajkovski assisted by I. Tričkovski

The parity however did not last long as once again Sardar Azmoun pounced on an easy opportunity to beat S. Dimitrievski with an easy shoot from Hajsafy’s assist.  The half time finished 1-2 for Iran although Team Melli could have still added another goal.

In the second half Macedonia rested their star player Pandev and made a few changes but to no avail as The star of the Team was on a roll. Assisted by the fine pass of Saeed Ezatollahei , Azmoun found himself one on one from the through ball with only the keeper to beat. The FC Rostov top scorer finished immaculately to make it 3-1 for Team Melli. Azmoun was subbed in the 64th minute with Karimi Ansarifard who had a good season in the Greek League himself. Ansarifard managed to score a goal but it was disallowed for offside.

The result was never in doubt as Queiroz stuck to his game plan of building a solid defense and packing the midfield to feed the brilliant Azmoun. The result was a fine win for Team Melli against a European opponent , albeit not a very high ranked team. On the other hand South Korea was humiliated by Spain  6-1 in their international friendly in Switzerland.

Team Melli’s next friendly is against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.


Queiroz “We will request to move Qatar match to Tabriz”

Team Melli head coach suggested that the first match against Qatar in the final rounds of FIFA World Cup 2018 should be moved to Tabriz’z Yadegar Imam  stadium because of friendlier atmosphere!

“I have asked Mr. Taj to move our match against Qatar to Tabriz because they treat us much better there.”  Queiroz said in a statement to the press after the conclusion of the Team Melli practise session in Azadi this afternoon.  Iran has always played major Team Melli games in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. The last time a match was played in Tabriz was 16 years ago. A decision to move to Tabriz, would should surely antagonize Queiroz fans in Tehran. Queiroz did not mention how he figured out the friendlier atmosphere in Tabriz while he never experienced playing there with Team Melli.

Queiroz who is never far from controversy , hostility and a battles against his alleged enemies, also had some harsh words for the Manager of Azadi sport complex. He accused the person without naming him of being an enemy of Team Melli  and treating his squad with contempt.! 

It is believed that this idea of moving to Tabriz is more directed to the alleged bad treatment of the stadium  management rather than the fans sentiments.

Queiroz said that he will be taking 24 players to Macedonia for the friendly international in Skopje. The final list has not been produced yet pending health report and injury condition on couple of the players.

Queiroz also said that he will present a comprehensive report on the new Team Melli kit to Mehdi Taj , the head of IRIFF , however he declined to disclose any details. Team Melli has just changed its kit to a little known Italian kit supplier.

When confronted by a journalist about his broad and repetitive accusations, a defiant Queiroz admitted that but said “I know that I have been repeating the same things over and over again for a few years now, but as long as these people (…) are there and acting hostile , I will talk. No body can stop me from talking against them and exposing them!”

It is clear that no one seems to dare to stop the Portuguese from trash talking , and it is also clear that many are tired of his rhetorics, however , what really matters is how he will lead his team in the World Cup qualifiers. The competition is tough but Iran is well capable of making the trip to Russia if the Portuguese plays his cards right and not come up with the excuses such as Qatar and China are rich and investing!


Kaffashian threatens clubs in AFC Champions League !

Ali Kaffashian , the head of FFIRI stated today that he will talk to the Iranian clubs about releasing their players to Team Melli.

The four clubs Sepahan Esfahan , Esteghlal , Tractorsazi Tabriz and Foolad Khuzestan have qualified for this year’s edition of the AFC Champions League  and should be starting their campaigns next week. The AFC Champions league will clash with Carlos Queiroz plan for Team Melli training camp. The 4 clubs have strongly objected to those plans and indicated their unwillingness to release their players while they are involved in this lucrative and important competition.

Kaffashian and his administration have always enforced the idea that the priority is with Team Melli and hence the clubs should cooperate with the coaching staff of Team Melli by releasing their players “I will talk to the clubs and try to accommodate their requests , but they need to release the players for Team Melli. If we do not reach an accord , I shall escalate the matter to the higher authorities to force them to release the players”  Kaffashian did not indicate whom does he mean by higher authorities. There is no law that can enforce the clubs to release the players for a training camp and FIFA rules are quite clear in such matters. The clubs cannot be forced into releasing their players and the international rules strongly rejects government interference in football. It is interesting to observe the development of this affair. The release of the 4 teams best players , will most likely mean their failure o qualify from the group stages of the AFC Champions league. The financial loss at a time that most Iranian clubs have difficulties is quite significant.

Kaffashian also confirmed that the South African training camp is on again despite Queiroz objection. The head of FFIRI said “The players in Europe and the Arab leagues are not able to join the camp , but 30 to 40 % of the team is still available . If we do not go to South Africa, then the clubs will use the players in the AFC Champions League and that is not desirable (..)” . He also confirmed the European training camp which will include two friendly matches with Belarus and Macedonia.

[quote]” The whole Team Melli coaching staff contract is US$ 2.5 million of which Queiroz receives US$ 1.5 million”  Kaffashian [/quote]

For the first time , Kaffashian has disclosed the contract value of Carlos Queiroz and his team of assistants.” the whole Team Melli coaching staff contract is US$ 2.5 million of which Queiroz receives US$ 1.5 million. Queiroz has stated that he is willing to consider extending his stay in Iran if the federation offers a better contract with substantial increase in the value.” Kaffashian said in reference to the various rumors surrounding the Portuguese coach contract value.

Despite the under-secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sport statement that his Ministry has deposited a large sum in favor of Team Melli , Kaffashian denied receiving any funds “We still have not got anything from the Ministry yet.We were suppose to receive more than one billion toman* from the ministry towards Team Melli preparation program, but this has not materialized yet because the Ministry did not receive the fund from the Government budget.”

The head of FFIRI indicated that FIFA will soon release the blocked money in favor of his federation “Our money have been blocked for 3 years now at AFC and FIFA. We managed to get a release from AFC and we are very hopeful that FIFA will release the funds that they withheld by next month. It is much needed funds at this critical time and the bulk of it will go towards Team Melli preparation program.” Kaffashian said

 Kaffashian admitted that the sponsor of Team Melli selected a few months back was not up to expectation.” The sponsor failed to deliver on the promises and contractual obligations and hence we were forced to nullify that contract. We are actively looking at new sponsors and we have a hope that an organization with a big reputation will come forward in the next few days.” Kaffashian did not name that organization , but it is believed to be one of the major Iranian banks.

* 1 Billion Toman is equivalent to USD 402,123