Tag: Nelo Vingada

Torrid decline of U23 team no thanks to incompetent FFIRI selections.

FFIRI has an incredible knack for rewarding failures. It is something that Mehdi Taj and his predecessor Ali Kaffashian has exceled in and the Iranian football community are getting used to.  Both of these men, who have been leading the Iranian federation since 2008 , have a serious lack of picking winners while selecting staff to work for them be it on the playing fields as coaches or in the corridors of power as administrators. In Iran’s football federation, administrators and coaches do not last long, because they fail to succeed due to the pathetic selection process.

Amir Hossein Peyrovani is a classic example of FFIRI appalling policy of Mehdi Taj and his failure to pick and appoint the right person for the job. After taking Team Melli U20 to the FIFA U20 championship, the mediocre coach, who struggled to find a coaching job even at lower divisions clubs in Iran, failed miserably in dealing with the world’s top age group teams.

Iran’s U20 team was in fact one of the most promising and talented age group team of the last couple of decades. There was abundance of talents, however, tactical naivety, lack of pedigree in coaching and failure to read the game have all combined to knock Iran out of championship in the group stages. Iran U20 ended up as the bottom team of the group. The irony of this championship is that Iran U20 was scored first in all the matches and was 2 goals up against Zambia before losing 2-4.

Not convinced with the fact that FIFA U20 performance and result was a failure, Peyrovani was once again coaching but now at a higher level. Acute lack of appraisal and performance analysis system in the Iranian federation, living in denials and the relegating FFIRI’s technical committee (no thanks to Carlos Queiroz), has allowed Mehdi Taj to act and repeat the same error. In his questionable wisdom the head of the FFIRI chose Peyrovani to take the helm of the U23 team to the AFC qualifiers. Apart from a few sporadic mumbles, this appointment was surprisingly accepted by all stakeholders and the media. No one dared or bothered to question this appointment for such an important age group team, the de facto backbone of Team Melli!

Not surprising at all, that Peyrovani failed again at a much lower level of competition. Not in the FIFA U20 final but at a group qualifiers against the likes of Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and Oman. Sri Lanka withdrew and so the group consisted of 3 teams only.  Iran’s first match against the host ended in a very difficult narrow 2-1 win but the Omani’s managed to easily defeat Iran 2-0 to shatter the dream of yet another significantly talented Iranian team. A team victimized by the acute deficiency and incompetence of Iranian football management.

It is still an enigma why Iran cannot produce quality football administrators, managers and coaches as good as they produce players. Apart from one Iranian in Kambiz Atabay back in the mid 70’s  , who headed the Asian Football Confederation , Iran has not managed to produce a competent administrator worthy of consideration for top administration jobs in AFC or FIFA. Tiny countries such as Bahrain, Sri Lanka , and Singapore had more officials in the AFC than mighty Iran.

Worst still , is the record of Iranian coaches in Asia. Even the best of Iran’s national coaches have failed to pass the group stages of AFC Champions league or at best the quarter finals of Asian Cup , in the post revolutions era.

The legendary Heshmat Mohajerani is the last of the Iranian great coaches. It seems that the wait is much longer for a quality coach to appear in Iran.

The other sad news is the remarkable decline of Iran U23 teams. From winners of the Asian Games coached by Branko Ivankovic , to struggling to make the finals stages.

Iran U23 Team coaches


 Winners and losers

Omid Team Manager apologizes for the loss.

Habib Kashani offered his apologies for the loss that Team Melli suffered against Saudi Arabia in Azadi stadium in the penultimate match of the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers. The 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia resulted in the qualification of the opponents to the finals of the competition while Iran also qualified as one of the 5 best groups runners up.

Kashani , however , wasted little time in providing the usual bundle of excuses and justification for the loss. He said the team had only 3 months to prepare while Vingada’s team had 8 months yet lost to Vietnam and drew with Kyrgyzstan in the Asian Games in Incheon 2014.

“Half of the players were only recently added to the team and as such we needed more time to prepare. The defeat against Saudi Arabia was an unfortunate event which the coaching staff should offer a justification for.”

Iran U23 vs Saudi U23 Ali Karimi

Kashani added that in order to prepare for the final tournament in Qatar , the U23 team needs the cooperation of the league commission and their consent to the Omid Team training schedules and programs. “ As it is now, we only have the FIFA day where we can gather the players and practice. That is not adequate. In Doha , there will be no Nepal of Afghanistan , but facing strong teams like Korea , Qatar , Japan and  Emirates.” Added the Ex-Persepolis CEO.

Kashani also pointed to the other problems that many players will face in Omid team and in particular the Military service, which is a fundamental and chronic obstacles in front of the young Iranian players.

The Manager of Omid Team admitted that the FFIRI has provided everything possible for the team and for that he is quite grateful. He also acknowledged the Military Service commission’s support in allowing some players to compete in the qualifiers. “I appreciate all the people who helped Omid Team case in order to compete in the best possible way.” However, Kashani went to by saying “ I apologize for the loss against Saudi Arabia , all I can say at this moment is that I shoulder all the blame for that loss (…) . I have nothing else to offer except to say I am sorry!”

There was no mention of technical flaws or coaching deficiencies nor player’s performance issues in Kashani’s statement.


Team Melli U23 list announced for Qatar Tournament

FFIRI’s announced the list of 23 players selected for the International friendship tournament in Doha, Qatar.

Nearly half of the team members who played for the U23 team in the Asian Games have been dropped for this tournament including famous players such as Kaveh Rezaei , Mehdi Sharifi, Mohsen Mosallman, Morteza Pouraliganji , Shahriyar Shirvand , Yaghoub Karimi and  MohamadReza Khanzadeh. The performance of these players were quite appalling particularly in the humiliating defeat against Vietnam resulting in Iran not even qualifying from a 3 team group in Asian Games. MohamadReza Khanzadeh added insult to injury by being red carded after he pushed a Vietnamese player to the ground and escaped heavy sanction by AFC due to this disgraceful act.

Many new faces have been selected  for the squad from diverse places.  A young promising player like Darvishi who was born in Minab on the Persian Gulf shores made the list as well as unknown or unheard of names such as MohammadHossein PourAghaMalaki. As usual in the last few years , neither Persepolis nor Esteghlal provided any players for the Omid team (U23). The team will assemble in Tehran Azadi complex where they will be undergoing light training without the head coach Vingada. The Portuguese coach of the Olympic Team is out of the country and unable to return fearing being arrested for tax evasion. This is yet another anomaly of Iranian football.

It is not clear who will take charge of the training, although Mohammad Khakpour and Mehdi Tartar have been named as assistant coaches to Nelo Vingada. Habib Kashani , the ex-CEO of Persepolis club is currently the Team Manager.


List of Iran U-23 Squad

November 2014

Seq Player Name Club Birth date Post
1 Ali Karimi Sepahan 11-Feb-94 FW
2 Amir Abedzadeh Rah Ahan 26-Apr-93 GK
3 Aram Abbasi Saba Qom 13-Jul-94 MF
4 Arash Rezavand Naft Tehran 05-Oct-93 MF
5 Arsalan Mottahari Naft Tehran 10-Mar-93 MF
6 Ehsan Pahlavan Gostarish Foolad 25-Jun-93 MF
7 Farshid Esmaeili Fajr Sepasi 23-Feb-94 MF
8 Hojat Sedghi Mes Kerman 07-Feb-93 GK
9 Mehdi Mehdipour Rah Ahan 21-Mar-89 MF
10 Mehdi Torabi Saipa Alborz 10-Sep-94 FW
11 Milad Mohammadi Kashmarzi Nirooi Zamini 29-Sep-93 DF
12 MohamadReza Akhbari Saipa Alborz 15-Feb-93  
13 Mohammad Daneshgar Fajr Sepasi 20-Jan-94 MF
14 Mohammad Hossein Mordmand Sepahan 22-Jun-93 DF
15 Mohammad Sattari Rah Ahan 30-Oct-93  
16 MohammadAmin Darvishi Gostarish Foolad 20-May-93 DF
17 MohammadHossein Kanan Zadegan Persepolis 23-Mar-94 DF
18 MohammadHossein PourAghaMalaki      
19 Morteza AghaKhan Mahallati Peykan 05-Apr-93 DF
20 Roozbeh Chashmi Saba Qom 24-Jul-93 MF
21 Shahin Saghebi Tractorsazi Tabriz 45-Aug-93 FW
22 Vahid Haidariya Peykan 02-Jan-93 DF
23 Yusuf Vakya Foolad Khuzestan 30-Sep-91 DF

Deputy Minister “It is better not to participate in the Olympic Qualifiers with this team”

Deputy Minister for Youth and Sport said that the sports federations whose results were well below expectation are themselves accountable for their performances in the Asian Games. Nasrollah Sajjadi, speaking on a TV show on Friday , earmarked the FFIRI for special mention criticizing the poor performance of the football team. “If this is all what the footballers can offer, then I see no point of this team competing in the preliminaries of the Rio Olympic Games. “

“Other countries reap the awards of their hard work. The football federation is solely responsible for this team and it is obvious that this team was not prepared well.  Being third in a 3 team group is not exactly a matter of bad luck either.”

Iran’s u-23 team was eliminated from the group stages of the Asian Games for the first time in decades after losing to Vietnam 4-1 and drawing with Kyrgyzstan. None of these two teams in Iran’s group made it beyond the next round, which magnifies the ghastly performance by the U-23 team coached by Nelo Vingada.

The expected shock : Iran U23 elimnated from the Asian Games.

In what is probably the worst day for Iran’s football in decades, the elimination of the football team from the Asian Games men’s football competition was confirmed after Vietnam defeated Kyrgyzstan 1-0 this morning. With this result, Vietnam (6 points) and Kyrgyzstan (1 point) have qualified for the next round while Iran is out on goal difference.

The last time Iran was eliminated from the group stages was in the Asian Games Hiroshima, Japan in 1994 when Iran marginally failed to qualify after winning 1 match drawing 2 and losing 1.

The Asian Games regulations requires the teams or the individual to leave the Games accommodation within 24 hours, but an angry reaction from under pressure Kaffashian and the Iranian IOC , resulted in orders for the football team to leave the Olympic Village immediately and catch the first plane home.

The inquest in this shameful exit will no doubt be carried out, but we seriously doubt that anyone or any group will take the blame or accept accountability. The coach Nelo Vingada accepted the blame for the defeat but already declared that he will not resign!

Kaffashian has stated that other teams are getting stronger, which pretty much means that Iran can be defeated by any Asian team so there is no need to get excited about defeats, if one accepts Kaffashians mentality!

In the midst of all this, the real effect is on the fans of team Melli who passionately follow and support their teams but in return, they all getting abysmal results followed by a thorough packages of justifications from the “Merchants  of Speech and Preaching ”.


Iran Football performances in the Asian Gems Men Football competition.

1951 New Delhi, India                – Silver Medal

1954 Manila , Philippines            – DNP

1958 Tokyo, Japan                    – Eliminated from group stage (Worst ever results)

1966 Bangkok, Thailand               – Eliminated from group stage 

1970 Bangkok, Thailand               – Eliminated from group stage

1974 Tehran, Iran                    – Gold Medal

1978 Bangkok, Thailand               – DNP

1982 New Delhi, India                – Quarter Finals ( lost to Kuwait 0-1)

1986 Seoul, South Korea              – Quarter Finals ( lost to S. Korea on penalties)

1990 Beijing, China                  – Gold Medal

1994 Hiroshima, Japan                – Eliminated from group stage   (5 points in 5 team group)

1998 Bangkok, Thailand               – Gold Medal

2002 Busan, South Korea              – Gold Medal

2006 Doha, Qatar                     – Bronze Medal

2010 Guangzhou, China                – Fourth place

2014 Incheon, South Korea            -Eliminated from group stage   

Vingda “I accept all the blame , I apologize but will not resign”

Nelo Vingada , the Portuguese head coach of Iran’s Olympic (U-23) team, accepted all the blame for his team’s disastrous performances and said “It is no one’s fault but mine. I accept all the blame , I apologize . I know that this is the worst result of Iran in the history of the Asian Games , but I will not resign!”

Vingada was talking to the Iranian news agency reporter ISNA  in Incheon after what seems to be a certain exit by Iran’s Football team from the Asian Games. Iran has one point from a draw against Kyrgyzstan and a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Vietnam. Iran’s only hope is for Vietnam to beat  Kyrgyzstan by a 4 goal margin.

When asked by the reporter about the shortfalls of the team, the head coach provided no better answer other than to say that “These things happen in football. This football is the only sport that such unexpected results can occur!”

Vingada , who according to his compatriot Carlos Queiroz statement after the heavy loss against Vietnam, “knows his  job very well” , mentioned nothing about his team’s diabolical defending , lack of teamwork and team spirit , poor finishing by star players , selfish player’s attitude who were playing for themselves rather than the team and loads of other factors that were so vividly lacking in this team.

“I have picked this squad myself. I was under the impression that we will be working with the U-21 team “ Vingada said. Since 1996 only 23 years old players with three over-23 players were allowed per squad in the Olympic Games and subsequently followed in the Asian Games as of after 1998 games . It is not clear how Vingada got this idea of the U21 team or whether it was intentional.

“I know that a lot of people are very upset by the team results , it was so clear from the reaction that we heard. I am quite shocked myself by these bad results. At least I can tell you that there are some good players in the squad who have a good future and people should be proud of them (…)!”

Asked to comment about the ugly scene at the end of the Vietnam match involving defender Khanzadeh after he was awarded the 2nd yellow card and a dismissal, Vingada’s response was   “I was so shocked by his attitude and had a long talk with him. He regretted his action. It is easy to talk about it outside the game, but when you are losing by such a margin and you hear the opposition ( a Vietnamese player) swear at you , one would lose his temper and do such things.”

This is the icing on the cake for this supposedly experienced coach. Instead of condemning that shameful act by Khanzadeh , he is justifying it. There is no remorse detected in his statement either!

Iran is given a lesson in football by Vietnam.

Iran’s U-23 team was humiliated by its Vietnamese counterpart in the opening group game of the 17th Asian games Incheon.

Vietnam defeated Iran 4-1 , the first half ended 2-0.

From the onset of the match , it was apparent that this team is a group of individual players who lacked teamwork was assembled for these Asian games. The team lacked cohesion and sometimes even the ABC of basic football.

It was not much of a shock when Vietnam took the lead early in the match, but the expectation was that Iran with so many quality names can quickly return into the game. That was not to be, because the Vietnamese stunned everyone by scoring the second in the 28th minute.

Both the Vietnamese goals scored in similar style, the first one was a diagonal ball sent from the winger after he skillfully dribbled the left back. While the ball was sent into the box , there was only one defender in the box and two Vietnamese players. The second player, the furthest,  slammed the ball into the net with keeper Sadeghi ball watching

The second goal a few minutes later was again from Iran’s left , but this time the Vietnamese player dribbled 3 Iranian defenders with embarrassing ease before he slotted from an angle passed Sadeghi.

The Japanese’s coach observed the weakness of Iran’s left side and directed most of the offenses on the right flank of his team.

 Vingada realized , perhaps a bit late , that his team is suffering and introduced Yaghoub Karimi instead of Ali Karimi,

Yaghoub Karimi turned out to be the best player of the team despite his late introduction.

The half ended 2-0 , however Iran really bounced back in the second half with a series of offensive moves but really awful finishing.

53′ Kaveh Rezaei wastes another golden opportunity when he receives the ball from right, dribbles past the keeper but could not control the ball int0 the empty net.

54′ Mehdi Sharifi dribbles past his last marker , had only the keeper in front of him to beat from just inside the penalty box , but he shoots skywards!

55′ Mehdi Sharifi  has forgotten his shooting boot, his final touch after some brilliant work on the right flank by Yaghoub Karimi was comical , to say the least. He completely miskicked the ball!

Iran could have easily been 4-2 ahead by minute 57

64′ a beautiful quality through pass from Mohsen Moslaman to Sharifi , was met by a wild tackle by the on rushing Vietnam keeper denying Sharifi a scoring chance. A classic red card offense. The referee called a Penalty for Iran but awarded the keeper a yellow card instead of red

65 Mosalman scores.

While Iran was on a good run despite missing so many scoring chances, Vietnam once again stunned the Iranians with the 3rd goal scored on the 69th minute.

Mojammedreza Khanzadeh , who was in the World Cup squad was quite poor in the central defense.


73′ Kaveh Rezaei bests the Viet goalkeeper but his shot is deflected out hitting the lower post. Even luck has abandoned Iran.


81′ Iran goalkeeper Sadeghi handles a back pass a few meters from his goal. A very strange act and a disastrous basic mistake, The ensuing free kick is scored by Vietnam again with quite poor Iranian defense! .

As to put the icing on the kick , Iran not only lost the match result but the sportsmanship as well. A visibilyy frustrated Mojammedreza Khanzadeh was shown the second yellow card after a foul on Vietnam keeper , shoves a Vitneamese player in the face in what looks like an unsportmanship behavior, and plunges him on the ground. Khanzadeh should expect a severe punishment and that might be his un ceremonial farewell to the Asian Games.

Players like him. Who cannot control their temper after a bitter loss,  should never represent Iran at any level. Their action affects the whole team.

Khanzadeh not only was poor as a player , he lost his manner and composure and will face a long suspension from AFC.

It was a bitter end for a sorry team. Even if the team recovers in the final group match , it will take a major work to make it tick for the rest of the competition.

Team Melli U-23 draws with Armenia.

Iran’s Olympic football team played a goalless draw against Armenia in Yerevan on Wednesday.

Team Melli Under 23 Football Team reached Yerevan on the 2nd of August and entered camp in Avan Academy Facilities to prepare for the two friendly games against the Armenian counterparts on Monday and Wedneasday.

On arraival and after a short rest ,  the squad started training in Avan Football Academy. Armenian  National Team manager Bernard Challandes was  on hand at the Academy. He welcomed the Iranian team and came to pitch and had chat with coaching staff. 

The Armenia trip is a part of the preparation for the upcoming Asian Games 2014 in Incheon , South Korea.

In the first match played on Monday 4th August , Armenia’s Taron Voskanyan U23 , scored an injury time winnere on the 90+2nd minute from a header after a cross by Aram Loretsyan. Armenia won 1:0. 

Nelo Vingada was not able to take the full squad with him for the usual reasons. Some players had Visa issues while a few were injured.

The squad will be flying back to Tehran today and the players will be joining their clubs for the league. The last part of the long-term preparation of the Olympic team will be carried out in China 10 days before the Asian Games starts in South Korea. The team will play several friendly games in China before heading directly to Incheon.

Human Afazeli , said “We are trying to arrange a couple of friendly games for the squad before flying to China for the training camp. That will be a good practise for the lads ” Armenia U23 vs Iran U23 action

Navid Nasseri joins Birmingham City FC

Birmingham City have signed promising teenager Navid Nasseri.

The young Iranian attacking midfielder, who turned 18 two days ago, was a scholar with Bury last season.

Nasseri has signed a one year contract with a 12-month option and will primarily be a part of Blues’ under-21 development squad.

Manchester-born, Nasseri was called up by Iran under-21s last season.

Before joining Bury he was at Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

Last season Bury signed just one of their final year Academy scholars by April, but Nasseri was kept on by manager David Flitcroft for ‘an extended trial’ and trained with his first team squad.

Birmingham City plays in the championship in England. Nasseri has already featured for Ali Doustimehr U19 team and impressed. However, being based in England , Nasseri will have a difficult time getting released by his club if he makes the full team list. Nasseri can also represent Iran at the U-23 Olympic team which is currently being coached by Vingada..

Team Melli U-23 resumes training

FFIRI has announced the resumption of the U23 team training. As per the FFIRI website, the team under the coaching of the Portuguese Nelo Vengada, will start a training camp from first day of July. This camp will be held for four days in the national teams training center . The players invited to camp are as follows:

Ahmad Noorallahei, Mohammad Nasiri, Mohammad Hossein Moradmand, Ali Karimi, Ehasan Pahlavan, Muhammad Amin Jehan Kord, Yusuf Vkya, Walid Mashaeizadeh, Mohammad Daneshgar, Ali Mardani, Ehsan Sokhandan, Mohammad Ali Framarzi, Farshid Ismaili, Aram Abbasi, Hojat Sedghi, Rozbeh Chashmi, Arsalan Motahari, Ali Mohsenzadeh, Arash Rezavand, Milad Kamandany, Farshad Ghasemi, Mohammad Hossein Kanani Zadegan, Morteza Agha Jan, Vahid Haydarieh, Behnam Barazy , Mehdi Mehdi Pour, Mohammadreza  Akhbari, Alireza Naqizadeh, Shahin Saghebi, Hojat Haghverdi.

Sardar Azmoun , who was invited for this team several times , is not included in the list for unknown reason.

Team Melli U-23 is preparing for the Asian Games 2014 and further up the road , for the Olympic games 2016 in Rio.