Tag: Mohammad Khakpour

Destination Turkey.

The two mighty neighbors Turkey and Iran have a heavy mutual influence on each other, due to geographical proximity, economic benefits, linguistic and ethnic relations. They were also regional rivals at some stage of history and fought each other for influence and power. In modern times, the relation has been peaceful and friendly.  Football formed part of this peaceful relationship and also created a regional rivalry.

The Turkish association with European football and its membership in UEFA, has immensely benefitted its development. The Turkish national team, despite making it to the World Cup twice only in their history (1954 & 2002), was always considered to be better and stronger than Iran’s Team Melli from the early 50s. Those days, the two countries played a lot of football against each other including a regional tournament called RCD which was a three side annual tournament that also included Pakistan in the 60s.

However, like many things after the 1979 revolution, with Iran’s major change of political ideology, the two countries experienced less than a cozy relationship, football naturally suffered from this cold relation and the two countries cut off their football connection. Neither side showed any interest in playing friendlies against the other, no doubt politics playing a major role in the break of footballing relationship.

Meanwhile, Turkish football, at club level at least, was thriving. The trio, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas were as good as many first-rate  European clubs. With financial clout and huge fan bases, Turkey became the focus of attention and the destination of many foreign players.  For years, the Turkish clubs employed the services of European, African and Latin American footballers, those included some household names in football. However, the majority of the big name European signings were players at the twilight of their careers who were there for a last-ditch attempt to enrich their bank accounts before hanging their boots rather than seeking glory.  The success of the policy of the Turkish clubs in attracting high profile aging footballers was mixed perhaps moderately successful at best.

What the Turkish club ignored was the abundance of talents on the eastern and southern borders. Iran and to a certain extent, Iraq had a wealth of young talents that were there for the taking. Since the late nineties, European clubs, particularly the German realized that as a number of the best Iranian players were employed by clubs like Bayern Munich , Hamburg, Hertha Berlin, and Arminia Bielefeld While talented Iraqi players headed south to the Persian Gulf states. At no time, the Turks endeavored to attract Iranians and Iraqis to play for their teams, although it would have been a good investment and certainly cheaper for them too.

By the beginning of the second decade of the millennium, The Turkish clubs, at last, looked at Iran. There had to be something special in that country’s football that can generate quality players for Team Melli.  With shoestring budgets, Iranian clubs managed to continuously deliver talented players thus enriching Team Melli and many 0f those young players eventually heading outside Iran to play professional football. In the process, Iran has made 4 appearances in the FIFA World Cup after a break of 20 years since the initial one in 1978, but also steadily climbed in the FIFA World Ranking to approach the elites. Meanwhile, Turkey managed one appearance in 2002.

That made the Turkish clubs think hard and employ scouts to talent hunt in Iran and seek bargains and future investments from the Persians.

For the Iranians, Turkey is the perfect destination for a professional player. The culture, the climate and the proximity of the two countries make it an ideal place to play football, to develop and to make a decent living.  Although the flood gates had hardly opened on the Iranians, the Turkish clubs are beginning to be shrewd as they are constantly on the lookout for talented players even as young as 18 years old. In the case of Allahyar Sayyadmanish, who was hardly a fixed player in his club Esteghlal, such investment could turn out to be a clever an astute move by Fenerbahçe. The giant Turkish club is now seeking the services of the 19 years old Iraqi forward Muhanad Ali Kadhim from Al Shorta Club.

It is a win-win situation for both sides. Iranian Players can develop well in Turkey with training facilities and passionate fans enhancing the league to become one of the best in Europe. It is certainly the right environment for aspiring young Iranian and Iraqi players.


Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, is an 11th Iranian footballer in Turkey.

Naser Sadeghi (Galatasaray / Konyaspor)
Mohammad Khakpour (Vanspor)
Reza Shahroudi (Altay)
Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh (Erzurumspor)
Mohammad Moemeni (Erzurumspor)
Hamed Kavianpour (Kayserispor)
Sajjad Şhahbazzade (Alanyaspor) ♣
Payam Sadeghian (Osmanlıspor) ♣
Vahid Amiri (Trabzonspor) ♣
Majid Hosseini (Trabzonspor) ♣

♣ currently active.

Zlatko Kranjcar is a leading candidate to coach Omid team.

The Iranian Football Federation is considering the appointment a head coach of Iran’s U23 (Omid) team to prepare and represent the country in the Asian Games 2018  Jakarta, although the team has already wasted a lot of opportunity, as the FFIRI Technical Committee should have selected a coach last month.

Federation officials have been negotiating with some domestic and foreign coaches during the past few days. Even the president of the federation, Mahdi Taj, told reporters yesterday that the talks are continuing, and this week the coach’s name will be announced.

The former head coach of the Sepahan squad Zlatko Krancjar, who failed to meet expectations this season with the Esfahani club, is one of the main choices for the federation, and even the Football Federation’s secretary Mohammad Reza Saket had talks with the Croatian coach.

FFIRI has always been a failure with the U23/U22 teams. For some odd reason, they have never managed to get their acts together at this age level and seem to have some complex on how to deal at this age level football teams. Most of the problems are self-inflicted, though including their chronic late preparation, and last minute search for a coach and finally poor preparations.

Krancjar, who has arrived in Tehran for a few days, is a favorite with the Federation officials who have started serious talks with him. It was confirmed that a meeting was carried out with federation officials in one of the hotels in Tehran, but the results are not clear.

Krancjar was the main choice to be the head coach of the Omid team in in December 2014 under the leadership of Habib Kashani, but the blatant intervention of the Ministry of Sports who claimed that the Croat does not conform for ethical/religious values (…), eventually meant that the federation so dependent on the government, had to shelve the idea of recruiting Karanjcar. Th coaching of the team was given to the novice coach Mohammad Khakpour, who failed to achieve anything and also failed to qualify for the Olympics.

Queiroz is targeted by Mayeli-Kohan’s wrath.

A recent interview with Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan , until recently , the Technical Director of Omid Team (Iran’s U23) created a lot of discussion and controversy in football circles.

Mayeli-Kohan is one of those divisive characters that is either loved or hated.  He is known for being hostile to anything that he does not agree with. There is no restraint or moderation to what he thinks and say. The former Team Melli coach’s wild accusations and slanderous claims have put him in trouble with the law. He was eventually sentenced to prison by a court which found him defamatory in several cases and subsequently Mayeli-Kohan was incarcerated. It was only because of the plaintiff mercy and pardon that Mayeli-Kohan was released after serving a few days of his sentence.  It was Ali Daei who was sued Mayeli-Kohan in that libel case. However, despite that brief imprisonment, Mayeli-Kohan is neither repentant nor plans to calm down his radical and harsh criticism of whatever he does not like.

 Appointed to qualify Iran to the Olympics

Despite questionable attitude and background in addition to hostilities he managed to accumulate with many sport personalities and organizations, Ali Kaffashian is his bizarre wisdom accepted Habib Kashani and Mohammad Khakpour’s recommendation to include Mayeli-Kohan in the Omid Team squad as Technical Director.

The rest is history. Omid team did not qualify despite huge budget and long preparation, not to mention stopping the league for the team. The media had its day by much criticism mostly directed at the top of Omid team leadership and coaching. Most found Khakpour inexperience as the major reason for the team’s failure.

The interview

Mayeli-Kohan did not take those attacks on him and the rest of the team leadership lightly. In a recent interview with ISNA , Mayeli-Kohn fired back with a vengeance and did not munch his words. The Technical Director of Omid Team opened fire on all front accusing everyone and everybody but his indisputable and absolute target was none other than Carlos Queiroz and his suitors!

He accused the Portuguese head coach of Team Melli of being the main reason for Omid team’s exit by being an obstacle behind the scenes and working against them. He was overtly defensive of his own record with Omid team and apologized for the people for not succeeding to lead Iran to qualify for the Olympics games football competition, but he also accused the media of disgraceful bias in their critic of Omid team while nothing like that was directed at Queiroz after 5 years of failures, according to him, and siphoning the country’s money!

maylei Kohan in handcuffs

“He has not won any trophies, he has not won any titles, no gold medals not even a wooden medal, yet he is being revered by media and those who get benefits and paybacks because of him, while national coaches like me and Khakpour are being humiliated and ridiculed.” Mayeli-Kohan said in the interview.

The incensed Mayeli-Kohan remained unusually composed, but solidly defiant during the interview. When the reporter reminded him that Queiroz remains popular amongst the fans, he refuted such claim and claimed they are all being on some Queiroz backer payroll! He said these are the same fans that abused our icons such as Ali Parvin, Ali Daei, Ghalenoei and chanted profanities against them from the stands when the results were not going well.  They are driven by greed and who pays more.“

Logic dictates that the words of Mayeli-Kohan, which has become a dull routine, would be brushed under the carpet and very few will take any serious notice of his harsh words. Mayeli-Kohan is a known antagonist and a radical who is still a strong supporter of former disgraced President Ahmadinejad’s camp. However, this controversial interview, if that is the right expression, has shaken a few pillars in Iran’s football hierarchy. His unadulterated attack on Carlos Queiroz seems to have taken its toll, most noticeably by Carlos Queiroz.

Carlos Queiroz predicament.

Queiroz has been incognito since the last Team Melli match in 2015. He made a singular appearance in Doha during the Olympic qualifiers, to watch the progress of Omid team according to Kaffashian, but to conduct some private matters, according to Queiroz himself (take your pick). Carlos Queiroz seems to be the more accurate as he had no contact whatsoever with Omid Team camp during the qualifiers although he is known to have attended at least one match. In essence, there is no love lost between the two camps in any case.

On his brief return to Tehran, Queiroz realized that all promises that was given to him before leaving Iran by Kaffashian for improving the conditions of Team Melli, including official kit and training grounds quality, was nothing but vaporware. The conditions have even deteriorated. Queiroz is said to be seriously thinking of quitting once for all. Whether the verbal barrage by Mayeli-Kohan has made an impact will never be known, but it is know that he is always kept up-to-date with what is written about him in Iranian press. Mayeli-Kohan, despite being a colleague and working for the FFIRI has never been complimentary to him. This is nothing new although it was never so intense, personal and obvious.

The Portuguese coach is quite fond of playing this resignations game by using veiled threats or direct statements, this time however, sources close to him and Kaffashian seem to believe that he is more serious than ever. Kaffashian, although not a highly revered professional administrator or leader, has a good skills in negotiations and bargaining so he feels confident that he will be able to keep Queiroz at  least until the last two matches in the group in the World Cup qualifiers.

With Nowrooz approaching, it will be an interesting few weeks. Iran qualification to the next round of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is all but assured. With the present state of things, Queiroz is more than worried that he could lose the chance of qualifying with poor support and preparation of Team Melli. This attack on his character might create a toxic atmosphere with the fans and as such it might make his task even more difficult. As it is, the attendance for Team Melli matches in Azadi is one of the lowest in record. A few more people jumping on Mayeli-Kohan’s bandwagon will make life that much difficult for Queiroz.

All hopes dashed, Iran out of Olympics football.

Doha: Extra-time goals from Yuta Toyokawa and Shoya Nakajima kept Japan’s hopes of a sixth consecutive appearance the Olympic Games alive with a 3-0 win over Iran that moved Makoto Teguramori’s side into the semi-finals of the AFC U23 Championship on Friday.

Toyokawa put Japan in front five minutes into the first additional period before Nakajima struck twice in two minutes to settle what had been a tight tussle and victory means the Japanese are one win away from guaranteeing themselves one of the continent’s three berths at the Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Japan will meet either United Arab Emirates or Iraq in the next round, with the winner securing a place at the Olympics, while the loser will play-off against the other losing semi-finalist for the third and final spot in Brazil.

Only three of the Japan team that started in the 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia retained their places while Mohammad Khakpour kept faith with six of his line-up following Iran’s 3-2 victory over China in their final Group A clash on Monday.

It was the Iranians who started the brighter, with Arsalan Motahhari breaking through with just two minutes on the clock before firing off a shot that goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki palmed away for a corner. From the resulting set piece, Ali Karimi should have done better, heading his effort off target.

Japan threatened soon after through Yuya Kubo, only to see his effort deflected to safety, and in the 26th minute the Switzerland-based forward went closer still, racing down the right side of the penalty area before hitting a low strike that flew just wide of the far post.

With eight minutes remaining in the half, Iran should have taken the lead. The chance fell, again, to Motahhari when the Japanese defence hesitated and, with Naomichi Ueda making a mess of his clearance, the ball fell to the Naft Tehran striker, but he rushed his shot and it flew far off target.

Watch the match highlights
Japan harbour Olympic hopes after win over Iran

Three minutes shy of the hour mark, the Iranians came within a whisker of taking the lead. Ali Abdollahzadeh sent in a fine curling cross from the right that Milad Mohammadi met with a header that looped over Kushibiki, only to fall back into play via the underside of the crossbar before being cleared.

irn jpn u23-1

Iran had impressed for periods in normal time, but an inability to convincingly unlock the Japanese defence was to prove crucial as the game moved into extra time.

With only five minutes gone in the first period, Khakpour’s team were chasing the game as Toyokawa slipped between the Iranian centre backs to head home Sei Muroya’s cross from close range.

Kushibiki maintained Japan’s advantage soon after when he did well to block Seyed Mohsen Karimi’s effort as the Japanese went into the changeover holding a slender lead.

Four minutes into the second period of extra-time, however, Nakajima punished the tiring Iranians with a spectacular strike from the right that curled into the far top corner of Mohammadreza Akhbari’s goal and, a minute later, he struck again, beating the Iranian goalkeeper from a similar position, only this time to his right.

Iran almost salvaged a consolation four minutes from the end of the game, but Karimi’s attempt came back off the bar before eventually ending in the arms of Kushibiki.

Photo: AFC

Big blow for Omid team.

Iran Olympics football Team U 23, Omid Team received a setback when it was confirmed that 3 of its top players will not be competing in the finals of the AFC U23 championship which is also the qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Men Olympics Games Football competition.

Sardar Azmoun, Saeed Ezatollahi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will not be part of the squad that will be competing in Doha in two weeks time.

Habib Kashani , the head of Team Omid said “These 3 players are registered as professionals in European club. We were unable to obtain the release from their respective clubs. The competition for the Olympics are not played in FIFA days and as such these clubs are not obliged to release their players for their national representative teams. All these clubs will be either busy in their own league competitions or preparing for the league as the case with the two Russian based players are.”

Sardar Azmoun, Saeed Ezatollahi  (FC Rostov) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar) are also in Team Melli squad in addition to playing for the U23 team. Their  quality and European experience is considered vital for the Omid team which is trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 40 years. Kashani , however, played down the significance of the 3 players absence and said that their team has been mainly competing and training without the 3 players most of their campaign and their absence for the final will not produce a shock for the team.

Iran, under coach Mohammad Khakpour,  will be playing in Group A with host Qatar , Syria nd China. Omid’s first match will be on 12th January against Syria U23.

Haj Rezaei criticizes Queiroz.

Amir Haj Rezaei one of the country’s most respected football analysts criticized the behavior and conducts of Team Melli coach and said that Carlos Queiroz views of Iran’s football is contemptuous and that this is not at all desirable.

In an interview with Mehrnews reporter during the annual book fair, Haj Rezaei expressed his anguish for the state of affairs that has rapidly developed within the football community after the rude exchanges between Asadi and Queiroz, both employers of the FFIRI. “The toxic atmosphere that has been created by those two is damaging our football. Its effects spreads to much more than the quarrelling parties. Football belongs to 80 million Iranians and these are the real victims.” Haj Rezaei said.

“Anyone who has an opinion to express or grievances should express it using proper Vocabulary and mannerism. Differences and disputes has to be confined to the federation’s office, where all concerned personnel should attempt to solve the problems internally.  It is the duty of all federation’s personnel without exception, to work towards development and advancement of our football.”

Queiroz & kaffashain

Referring to the public dispute and exchanges between Alireza Asadi , the Secretary General of FFIRI and Carlos Queiroz , Team Melli head coach, Haj Rezaei said “”they have engaged in a dispute in a manner that is detrimental to the reputation of football. My criticism of Queiroz, is his poor selection of vocabulary which is impolite , offensive and not appropriate to be uttered in public. Such display of disrespect and by not complying with the social norms of the culture is unacceptable behavior.”

“Queiroz repetitively looks down on our football. We do not need to be reminded by him where we stand in World football and how much we are behind some of the developed countries. We invited him as an experienced & Knowledgeable coach with good reputation to help us advance our football, not come here to insult our standards and class. His approach is inherently confrontational and disruptive. There is a serious flaw in his attitude.”[pullquote align=”right”]“We do not need to be reminded by him where we stand in World football” [/pullquote]

Haj Rezaei also criticized the standards of refereeing in the league and was of an opinion that Persepolis has been victimized by refereeing errors. He urged the federation to work harder to enhance the standards of referees. He also suggested that more efforts are needed in selection of referees to prevent wrongful calls resulting in loss of results to a team.

Haj Rezaei believed that the terms of contract between FFIRI and Mohammad Khakpour was an insult to the Local Iranian coaches .” Some of the clauses were discourteous to Khakpour and to Iranian coaches in general. I understand that there is a difference in financial terms in the benefit of foreign coaches, but the working conditions, accountability, responsibilities clauses should not wildly differ. Let us treat the Iranian coaches with more respect” Haj Rezaei added.

Khakpour announces Omid Team plans.

Mohammad Khakpour, Iran’s U23 (Omid) coach announced his plans for the team from now until January 2016, when Iran will join 15 other finalist in a tough battle to qualify for the Rio De Janeiro Olympics football competition. The final rounds of the qualification for Rio Olympics will be held in Doha, Qatar.

In his briefing with the sport journalist, Khakpour express his gratitude to the clubs who helped the case of Omid team with their timely release of the players for the inaugural WAFF U23 tournament. Khakpour was over joyed by the results achieved in this first tournament of its kind, where Iran’ U23 won the title defeating Syria 2-0 in the final.

“The first order of business in to set up a short camp in UAE, were we were hoping to play against Iraq and Australia. The latter match is 100% confirmed but the Iraq match is yet to be finalized” Khakpour said. “After that we will be going to Turkey foe another short camp followed by a local camp either in Kish Island or in Khuzistan (Ahvaz). We hope that by that time , we will have all our players available for the best preparation of the squad.” Khakpour continued.

The reporters then quizzed Khakpour on several topics including the readiness of  Arya Hashemi. Khakpour said that this player will not be fit on time to join the team.

About Iran’s prospect for qualifying to that eluded prize of Olympic Games, Khakpour responded “We should be under no illusion that qualifying to the next round from the group is not an easy task at all. Qatar is the host, China is one of the strongest teams in Asia at that age level, and we have all seen Syria play against us with strength and skill. So, it is not going to be an easy task, but we are not going there to surrender either.”


About his abrupt resignation after winning the WAFF U23 tournament, Mohammad Khakpour admitted his mistake as he particularly apologized for Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan and Habib Kashani for this hasty move. “Both these gentlemen put a lot of faith in me and I let them down. I like to sincerely apologize to them and also to my compatriots for such an act and admit that it was out of emotions and not rational.”  the Iranian U23 team coach said. Khakpour also apologized for the media in an unprecedented move!  As such , this is a rare occasion that an Iranian coach admits his fault and apologized for it. So, there is still hope left in Iranian coaches!

The head coach of U23 team however, did not conceal his disappointment with Ali Kaffashian and the general lack of support for Omid Team from the federation. Khakpour said that the main reason for his resignation was the one-sided contract that he was offered in which he was held accountable for everything , while it hardly mentioned anything about the federations responsibilities.

2016 AFC U-23 Championship

Qualified teams

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament

Team Qualified as Appearance Previous best performance
 Qatar Hosts 1st Debut
 Iraq Group A winners 2nd Champions (2013)
 Jordan Group B winners 2nd Third place (2013)
 Saudi Arabia Group C winners 2nd Runners-up (2013)
 United Arab Emirates Group D winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 Syria Group E winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 Australia Group F winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 North Korea Group G winners 2nd Group stage (2013)
 South Korea Group H winners 2nd Fourth place (2013)
 Japan Group I winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 China PR Group J winners 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Thailand 1st best runners-up (Group G) 1st Debut
 Iran 2nd best runners-up (Group C) 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Vietnam 3rd best runners-up (Group I) 1st Debut
 Yemen 4th best runners-up (Group D) 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Uzbekistan 5th best runners-up (Group E) 2nd Group stage (2013)

[divider size=”5″ margin=”20″]

12 January 2016
Syria  v  Iran
12 January 2016
Qatar  v  China PR

15 January 2016
China PR  v  Syria
15 January 2016
Iran  v  Qatar

18 January 2016
Qatar  v  Syria
18 January 2016
Iran  v  China PR


Kaffashian confirms AFC sanction against Khakpour.

Ali Kaffashian who has attended the first New AFC Executive committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain confirmed in an interview that the AFC technical Committee does not recognize Mohammad Khakpour as a qualified trainer/coach for Iran’s U-23 team.

Khakpour , with little if any coaching experience at top level football was surprisingly selected to replace Nelo Vingada the coach of Iran’s U23 team or the Olympics team. This was carried out shortly after the disastrous exit of the U-23 team in the Asian games, one of the worst defeats of an Iranian representative team in the history. Widespread condemnations from the media, fans and experts, forced Kaffashian to react to save this team which was supposed to qualify for the Olympics Games in Rio. However, the man who is world famous for his grin and cool demeanor, acted hastily in an attempt to quell what was now some strong disapproval within the federation as well.

The selection of Mohammad Khakpour ahead of many qualified, more experienced and more competent coaches, domestic or foreign shocked many. In essence, FFIRI under Kaffashian could not have done any worse than such a move. To put icing on the cake, Habib Kashani and Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan were also appointed as managers in different capacities for the U23 team.

kaffashian salman alkhalifa24028

So, It was not very surprising nor very long before the fans experienced the result in such incompetency. Iran U23 lost against arch rivals Saudi Arabia in Tehran, in the penultimate game of the Asian Qualifiers for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Iran was hosting the group but could not qualify directly to the next stage. Complete failure and elimination from the first step was avoided by the virtue of qualification to the final rounds as one of the best 5 groups runner ups. The final rounds of qualifications will be held in Qatar on January 2016.

The AFC came into the picture after examining the coaching certificates of Khakpour and found it below the minimum required to coach the U23 team. Khakpour has a coaching certificate in USA not recognized by FIFA or AFC. As such Mohammad Khakpour is not allowed to coach this team unless he attends a proper FIFA or AFC coaching course and passes the required tests.

Kaffashian’s attempt to dodge the issue of proper qualification of coaches mandated by FIFA and AFC resulted in a meeting with the Asian Technical Director Andy Roxburgh. The Scottish coach has been recently appointed in order to enhance Asian coaches education and player development.

Kaffashian, a Vice-President of AFC, failed to present a solid case for Khakpour’s appointment and could not respond to why his Khakpour’s credentials were not checked according to the AFC regulations. The verdict was clear and it stood as is. If Khakpour does not attend the proper certified AFC or FIFA coaching courses, he will be banned from sitting on the bench of Iran’s U23 team during official competitions.

True to his style, Kaffashian attempting to relegate the issue , said that the U23 team has no official activities or commitment until January 2016, so, they do not need to get all hyped up about it!

Of course, there is no mention by Kaffashian on accountability and responsibility of such an appointment or debacle, to be more precise.

Khakpour gives Queiroz the cold shoulder!

While most of the league coaches who attended Team Melli training sessions in the last few days met and talked to Carlos Queiroz, the odd one out was Omid team (U23) Mohammad Khakpour who avoided Queiroz with full intent.

Khakpour sat in the stands with the fans to watch Team Melli is a training session. When the Federation Press Officer spotted him, he invited Khakpour to join what would be a special area reserved for coaches and important guest, Khakpour refused and sat put as far away from the Team Melli players and their coach!

The situation is odd as this squad has a good number of Omid Team players. Queiroz recently added players such as Akhbari, Torabi, Mohammadi in addition to Azmoun and Jahanbakhsh to Team Melli preparing for the game against Turkmenistan and before that a friendly against Uzbekistan.

It seems that the residue of the old tug-of-war between Queiroz and Khakpour when Azmoun and Jahanbakhash was wanted by both coaches, is still affecting the relationship between the two coaches. Queiroz on being informed of Khakpour refusal to come to the special area, did not show any reaction or concern, however, the Portuguese coach left instantly after the practice session was over.

The tension between the two sides of the national teams seems to be quite high but in reality, it should not be damaging to either teams. The only drawback is that the two coaches would not be in a professional talking terms to discuss the capabilities of their players to each other. Ideally , Khakpour could personally brief Queiroz about a player such as Torabi or Akhbari which would assist Queiroz in his own analysis, coming first hand from a coach who worked with the players.

On the other hand, questions have been raised about the suitability of Mohammad Khakpour by the AFC. FFIRI has been quizzed about Khakpour’s qualifications and credentials that allows him to sit on the bench of an Asian U23 team competing for a place in the Olympics. Khakpour claims that he has all the qualifications required which was obtained in USA. It is a matter bureaucratic process which has delayed the submission of his credential to the AFC and will be solved soon according to Khakpour.

Iran U23 Team, under Khakpour, failed to qualify directly to the Asian Zone finals in Doha on January 2016, however, they qualified as one of the 5 best second placed teams. Iran is not considered as one of the favorites for qualification to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Team Melli and Omid team training camps synced together.

Habib Kashani , the manager of Omid Team (Iran’s U-23) announced that they have arranged the training schedules of Omid team to coincide with Team Melli program for maximum benefits of both teams.

Kashani emphasized the fact that with such a program planning , it will be much easier for the clubs to release their players with the least interruption to the league.

“We have planned a minimum of 4 training camps and one tournament participation in our quest for qualifying to the Olympics through the AFC Asian U23 championship. “ Kashani said.

The Manger of Omid team also announced that the U23 team will be participating in the WAFF tournament on 30th September.  We could not verify that piece of information as Iran is not even a member of WAFF anymore!  In any case , the next WAFF football tournament is supposed to be held in Bahrain in 2016 so , Kashani’s information could not be authenticated.

Omid team will have to finish in the one of the top three places in the AFC Asian U23 championship to be held in Qatar in January 2016 to make it to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Omid team , coached by Mohammad Khakpour , finished 2nd in the qualifiers held in Tehran but qualified for the finals as one of the best 5 second placed teams.