Tag: Payam Niazmand

Starting lineup vs Hong Kong

Amir Ghalenoei has made a few changes to the usual starting lineup for the game in Hong Kong. The defending line has seen most of the changes as Shojaa Khalilzadedh is the only one who has maintained his place, while Abolfazl Jalali, Amin Hizbavi, and Arya Yousefi will be starting the match. Payam Nizmand has replace Ali Beiranvand.

Mohammad Ghorbani after an impressive season, will partner Saman Ghoddos while Ghaedi and Jahanbakhash will be operating on the flanks to support the two forwards Taremi and Azmoun.

The match is a formality for Iran, however, a good winning margin will boost the team for a commanding performance in the next rounds of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

12P. Niazmand
4S. Khalilzadeh
18A. Jalali
15A. Hazbavi
13A. Yousefi
10M. Ghayedi
6M. Ghorbani
9M. Taremi
20S. Azmoun
14S. Ghoddos
7A. Jahanbakhsh

Worrying league forms of Team Melli goalkeepers.

In the latest round of the Persian Gulf League, the spotlight fell squarely on the performance of Team Melli’s goalkeepers, with their errors leading to conceding goals that should have been easily avoided.

The Premier League witnessed rare occurrences this week, with individual mistakes and bizarre own goals becoming the talk of the town. Alireza Rezaei of Nasaji Mazandaran was the first to make headlines, allowing a seemingly innocuous ball slip through his legs in the dying moments of the game against Naft Abadan.

However, the most alarming incident unfolded during Sepahan’s clash with Peykan, where Payam Niazmand’s errors drew the ire of head coach Jose Morais, prompting a halftime substitution with Nima Mirzazad taking over goalkeeping duties.

Yet, the most disappointing display of the week came from Persepolis’s Alireza Beiranvand, the stalwart goalkeeper for Team Melli. Despite his status, Beiranvand’s recent form has been under scrutiny since the AFC Asian Cup 2023. His performance against Foolad Khuzestan further fueled doubts, as elementary errors led to both of Foolad’s goals, including a momentary lapse that resulted in a Persepolis own goal.

With Amir Ghalenoei and his coaching staff closely monitoring these league matches, concerns have undoubtedly arisen regarding the reliability of Team Melli’s main goalkeepers. However, amidst these worries, Esteghlal’s Keeper and Team Melli’s third-choice goalkeeper, Hossein Hosseini, emerged as a beacon of hope by maintaining a clean sheet.

As the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers loom on the horizon, all eyes are on Ghalenoei’s next move. Will he adhere to his pledge of rejuvenating the Team Melli squad, or will he opt for continuity with the old guard under the guise of needing more time? The next two matches will undoubtedly provide crucial insights into the direction Ghalenoei chooses for the national team.

Reza Asadi called back by his club from Team Melli camp.

At the request of Sepahan Club to the president of FFIRI , the head coach of Team Melli agreed to release the midfielder Reza Asadi from national team duties and leave the camp just before departure to Bulgaria for the friendly match.

The midfielder left after two days of training with the squad.

Iran’s national football team left the country on Monday morning, while Asadi headed to Esfahan.

The Sepahan midfielder, who managed to score four times by the end of the fourth week, was prematurely removed from the list for the match against Bulgaria for the rumors mills to start churning,

However, there is a logical explanation for this move hat came from Mehr News. According to their sports reporter, Sepahan requested the release of two players from Team Melli camp, Asadi and Payam Niazmand in a letter sent to the Football Federation. The reason for such request is the upcoming friendly game between Sepahan and Zenit St. Petersburg.

In the text of Sepahan club’s letter, which was signed by Mohammad Reza Saket and handed over to Mehdi Taj, the club reminded FFIRI of the presence of eight Sepahan players in the Omid and Team Melli ranks. These two players are needed for the friendly match with Zenit St. Petersburg.

The request was handed over to Amir Ghalnoei for his final decision. The head coach of Team Melli agreed to release one rather than two players and the choice was Asadi.

It is worth noting that Sepahan players Payam Niazmand, Ramin Rezaeian, Mohammad Daneshgar and Shahriar Moghanlou also stayed in the Team Melli camp and flew to Bulgaria with the rest of the squad.

The match between Iran and Bulgaria will be held on Thursday 7th, September at the Hristo Botev Stadium in Plovdiv.

New list of domestic players published for Team Melli camp

The list of invited players has been published while the new/old coach hasn’t set foot in Iran and has hardly seen a single league match in action.

FFIRI on behalf of Carlos Queiroz announced the names of 24 players who are invited to the Team Melli camp. The names of the footballers domestic league players are as follows:


Payam Nazamand (Sepahan)
Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal)
Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis)


Ramin Rezaeian and Omid Nourafken (Sepahan)
Mehdi Shiri and Aref Agassi (Foolad Khuzestan)
Saleh Hardani and Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal)
Saman Fallah (Peykan)
Armin Sohrabian (Gol Gohar)
Mortezapour Pouraliganji (Persepolis)

Mehdi Mehdipour (Esteghlal)
Mohammad Karimi and Yasin Salmani (Sepahan)
Reza Asadi (Tractorsazi)
Mehdi Hosseini (Mes Rafsanjan)
Mohammad Khodabandelou (Gol Gohar)
Milad Sarlak (Persepolis)

Mohammad Mohebi and Mehdi Gheydi (Esteghlal)
Saeed Sadeghi, Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis)
Shahriar Mughanlou (Sepahan)

The above players are required to be present at the Olympic Hotel on Wednesday, September 13th at 12:00. The list of Legionnaire players will be announced later through the official website of the Football Federation at the appropriate time.

Skocic rep[laces the Esteghlal dropped players. Kananizadegan told to leave too.

the list of Team Melli changed after the expulsion of Hossein Hosseini, Mehdi Mehdipour, Amir Hossein Hosseinzadeh, Aref Gholami and Saleh Hardani from the national team training camp.

y the decision of Dragan Skocic, Payam Niazmand, Soroush Rafiei, Armin Sohrabian, Saeed Sadeghi, and Mehdi Shiri are the players who have been invited to the Team Melli camp instead of the 5 dropped Esteghlal players. On the other hand, Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan is another player who has left the national team camp. Kanaanizadegan, who went to the Olympic Hotel where the national team was staying yesterday, is apparently unable to accompany the national team in the upcoming friendly matches due to a disciplinary and ethics committee’s ban, and hence he was removed from the national team list. Instead of the Kananizadeghan, Seyed Mehdi Hosseini from Mes Rafsanjan was invited by Skocic.

According to the plan, the Team is scheduled to leave for Qatar today and hold several preparatory matches in Doha and most probably in Uruguay, if the terms for the friendly is agreed.


Alireza Beiranvand rejoins Persepolis

After an initial agreement with Alireza Beiranvand, Persepolis Club was able to finalize and sign a contract with Team Melli.

Last week, the news of Alireza Beiranvand’s definitive return to Persepolis was published, and now this return has been confirmed by signing an official contract. Beiranvand signed with Persepolis for two seasons and thus returns to Tehran after an unsuccessful presence in the Royal Antwerp of Belgium and Boavista of Portugal.  By signing the contract, Yahya Golmohammadi’s mind is at ease as far as the goalkeeping post is concerned for next season.

It is possible that Beiranvand is going to oust Hamed Lak although the management has denied such a claim. Accordingly, Biranvand not only can not comment on other Persepolis goalkeepers but also will not have the right to comment on the selection of the team’s goalkeeping coach. Also, Payam Niazmand, who was said to be one of Persepolis’ options for the team’s goal, now has been dropped from Yahya Golmohammadi’s shopping list. Beiranvand hopes to secure a starting place in Team Melli for the World Cup by playing regularly, a thing that he could not achieve in Europe, Also, Beiranvand was dropped as a starter by Skocic after some shaky performances for Team Melli and replaced by Amir Abedzadeh. However, Abedzadeh’s blunder against South Korea handed the goalkeeping post back to Beiranvand against Lebanon.

Mehdi Taremi scores a hat-trick against Niazmand in a 7-0 win

Mehdi Taremi achieved a special achievement by recording his second hat-trick in the Portuguese league with his team Porto scoring an emphatic win against Portimonense.

In the 30th round of the Portuguese Football League Porto played against Portimonense who had TeamMelli’s reserve keeper Payam Niazmand in goal. Port won  7: 0. Taremi excelled in this match and managed to score a hat-trick with his dazzling performance. He scored in the 19th, 34th, and 47th minutes and also provided an assist.

Hattrick: Mehdi Taremi scored his second hat-trick of the season in this match. Benfica Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunz has the most hat-tricks in the Portuguese league this season three times.

Top scorers chart: The Iranian striker scored 18 goals in the league this season and is currently ranked second in the scorers’ table. Benfica’s Uruguayan striker is still in the lead. Darwin Nunes is the top scorer in the Portuguese league with 24 goals.

Assists: Taremi has the most assists with a goal against Portimonense, reaching a record of 13 assists, and after the Benfica player, Rafa Silva, The Team Melli forward lies in the second place in this category.

List of Iranian Players playing abroad (Legionnaires).

With a couple of marquee players of Team Melli changing clubs at the start of 2021/22 season, it seems like a good idea to check who is who and where are the Iranian footballer playing abroad make their living.

This season’s most prominent transfer was of Alireza Jahanbakhsh who was recruited by Feyenoord Rotterdam and mark his return to the Eredivisie. The other Alireza, Beiranvand moved from Belgium to Portugal where he joined Boavista in the first division to add to the remarkable number of Iranian players in Portugal.

One of the most surprising moves was that of Payam Niazmand, who left Esfahan to join Portimonense in Portugal who already have Ali Alipour in their squad.

The list includes some interesting names too like Bakhtiyar Rahmani who is now playing in Sweden for FF Dalkurd a club in the second division of Sweden SuperEttan. Also included is Steven Beitashour who plays for Colorado Rapids in MSL. The Iranian American who was picked by Carlos Queiroz before World Cup 2014 appeared briefly for Team Melli.  An honorary mention must also go to Mehrdadi Pooladi who is still playing football in the Second Division of Qatar Star League. Pooladi never returned to Iran after the AFC Asian Cup 2015 over a dispute of his military service.

This is by far the most complete list of Iranian players playing abroad. If you have any updates or names that we have omitted, please do send your suggestions to the Chief Editor for inclusion.

The list indicates that 20 players who are on the current selection lists of Team Melli are playing abroad. On the other hand, 11 players who have been former Team Melli players are playing abroad now.

Iranian Legionnaires

#PlayerLeagueClubCountryTeam Melli
Team Melli
Saman GhoddosPremier LeagueBrentfordEnglandYES
Ravi ShamsiNon League PremierNuneaton BoroughEngland
Pouriya AhmadiNon League Division OneGlossop North EndEngland
Amir AbedzadehSegunda DivisiónPonferradinaSpainYES
Daniel DavariRegionalligaRot-Weiss EssenGermanyYES
Fereydoon ZandiRegionalligaSt. Pauli IIGermanyYES
Ahmad JafariRegionalligaHombergGermany
Aram AbdelkarimRegionalligaStraelenGermany
Ebrahim FarahnakRegionalligaHSC HannoverGermany
Ali SandoghdarOberligaVfL OldenburgGermany
Maziar NamavizadehOberligaRöchling VölklingenGermany
Iman Saghi beRiaOberligaHastedtGermany
Alireza JahanbakhshEredivisieFeyenoordNetherlandsYES
Nabi HakimzadehHoofdklasseHBSNetherlands
Aria HashemiEerste KlasseBest VooruitNetherlands
Behzad AriayeeQueensland NPLMoreton Bay UnitedAustralia
Mehdi SharifiPremyer LiqaSumqay?tAzerbaijanYES
Khaled ShafieiPremier LeagueBashundhara KingsBangladesh
Milad MohammadiFirst Division AGentBelgiumYES
Ali GholizadehFirst Division ASporting CharleroiBelgiumYES
Kaveh RezaeiFirst Division AClub BruggeBelgiumYES
China PR
Morteza PouraliganjiCSLShenzhenChinaYES
Sadegh Moharrami1. HNLDinamo ZagrebCroatiaYES
Younes Delfi1. HNLHNK GoricaCroatiaYES
Mohsen Behzadpour3. HNLLu?koCroatia
Saeid EzatolahiSuperligaVejleDenmarkYES
Mohammad BarzegaraslLiga 3Didube 2014Georgia
Ehsan HajsafySuper League 1AEK AthensGreeceYES
Karim AnsarifardSuper League 1AEK AthensGreeceYES
Mohammadreza AzadiSuper League 1PanaitolikosGreece
Iman BasafaIndian Super LeagueBengaluru FCIndia
Milad ZandaIraqi LeagueErbilIraq
Mohammed MhamdianIraqi LeagueNaftIraq
Mehdi DaghaghelehIraqi LeagueNaft MaysanIraq
Ali PourDaraPremier LeagueKuwait SCKuwait
Sousha MakaniEliteserienMjøndalenNorway
Omid NazariPFLUnited CityPhilippinesYES
Alireza BeiranvandPrimeira LigaBoavistaPortugalYES
Jafar SalmaniPrimeira LigaPortimonensePortugalYES
Payam NiazmandPrimeira LigaPortimonensePortugalYES
Mehdi TaremiPrimeira LigaPortoPortugalYES
Ali AlipourPrimeira LigaMarítimoPortugalYES
Taha ZareeiCampeonato (4th division)VianensePortugal
Ramin RezaeianQatar Stars LeagueAl DuhailQatarYES
Mehrdad MohammadiQatar Stars LeagueAl ArabiQatarYES
Pejman MontazeriQatar Stars LeagueAl KharitiyathQatarYES
Ali KarimiQatar Stars LeagueQatar SCQatarYES
Shojaa KhalilzadehQatar Stars LeagueAl RayyanQatarYES
Mehrdad PooladiSecond DivisionMuaitherQatarYES
Alan Hossein KarimiSecond DivisionLusail CityQatar
Sardar AzmounPremier LeagueZenitRussiaYES
Pedram ArdalanyFootball LeagueCumbernauld ColtsScotland
Iman SalimiSuper LigaSere?Slovakia
Bakhtiyar RahmaniEttanDalkurdSwedenYES
Shaho Maroufi1. Liga PromotionStade NyonnaisSwitzerland
Hamed BakhtiariThai League 1SuphanburiThailand
Vafa HakhamaneshiThai League 1RatchaburiThailand
Mahan Rahmani NoubariThai League 2Nong Bua PitchayaThailand
Mohammad NaderiSüper LigAltay Spor KulübüTurkey
Majid HosseiniSüper LigKayserisporTurkeyYES
Ebrahim AabednezhadBölgesel Amator ligSerinhisarsporTurkey
Davoud Ezat?taghBölgesel Amator ligBiga AdasporTurkey
Allahyar SayadmaneshPremier LeagueZoryaUkraineYES
Shahab ZahediPremier LeagueZoryaUkraine
Siavash HaghnazariPersha LigaVolynUkraine
Ahmad NoorollahiADNOC LeaugeShabab Al-AhliUAEYES
Mehdi GhaediADNOC LeaugeShabab Al-AhliUAEYES
Steven BeitashourMLSColorado RapidsUSAYES
Arshia AghababazadehUSL ChampionshipAustin BoldUSA
Ramak Nikan SafiNPSLJacksonville Armada IIUSA

9 players in the initial Team Melli list

According to FFIRI Official website, nine layers have already been selected for Team Melli camp from Esteghlal, Sepahan, Tractorsazi and Foolad Khuzestan. The next list will be announce3d after the Al Nasr vs Persepolis game in the Finals of the AFC Champions League West region in Doha today.

The selected players are:

GHAYEDI, Mehdi (Esteghlal)
GHOLAMI, Aref  (Esteghlal)
HAJSAFY, Ehsan (Tractorsazi)
HOSSEINI, Majid  (Esteghlal)
KARIMI, Ali  (Esteghlal)
MAZAHERI, Rashid (Tractorsazi)
NAJJARIAN, Mojtaba (Foolad Khuzestan)
NIAZMAND, Payam (Sepahan)
NOORAFKAN, Omid (Sepahan)


Lesson learned from AFC Champions League

In one of the worst weeks of Iranian club football, the four teams representing Iran played in the second round of AFC Champions League and managed 1 point from a possible 12 with Persepolis’ draw against the unfancied Sharjah Club of the UAE.

What have we learned from the appearance of Esteghlal, Sepahan, Shar Khodro, and Persepolis in this edition of  AFC Champions League 2020 Week 2:

  • After being the top contenders and challengers for trophies in Asia, Iranian clubs are no more than also-ran and will have serious difficulty holding to their quota in the AFC Champions League in the future or even next season.
  • Despite the admirable action by sticking to the local coaches, the Iranian clubs have unfortunately also handicapped themselves as they seem to be behind the rest in terms of tactical strategy, game-plans, changes in plans, options and knowledge of modern coaching.
  • There is an undeniable gap between the best Iranian coaches and the foreign counterparts who are working in this region. This gap in knowledge and competency requires many years to close.
  • The transition from players to successful coaches has never been easy, even if the player was one of the elites. Golmohammadi and Majidi have fared worst in the two matches as head coaches of the two most popular teams in a polarized football of Iran. The results and performances of Persepolis and Esteghlal were extremely disappointing.
  • It is quite rare to experience an Iranian team, be it a club or Team Melli come from behind and win a match. This is indicative of a perennial character weakness of the whole team, players and coaches.
  • Iranian teams DO NOT learn from their experiences and mistakes. They keep repeating the same and losing due to similar weaknesses. The accountability mostly lies in the coaches for not emphasizing these mistakes and their failures to address them in order to not repeat.
  • Protests, objections, shouting and general petulant behavior of the Iranian team have become iconic. It is a regular scene to find an Iranian player or coach protest and shout his head off. This is a serious shortcoming that always affects a player’s performance.
  • Iranian teams and coaches have very little regard to sport psychology and as such, players do not act professionally and do not stick to their tasks especially while they are losing.
  • The current league has failed to produce quality players for Team Melli. The poor standard of the League, the system, coaching and politics/corruption has ensured that the league players focus on issues unrelated while ignoring their tasks and development.
  • Only a handful of Iranian players who took part in the two matches of their team are worth mentioning. Payam Niazmand, Mehdi Ghaedi , Omid Noorafkan and possibly Mehdi Torabi are the only ones that have excelled and could be assets for Team Melli.
  • There is a goalkeeper crisis in Iran. Mehdi Rahmati was a calamity in the two matches for Shahr Khodro and his standing watching while the Uzbek player score should be taught in all football schools. Alireza Beiranvand is unreliable, weak and lacking confidence. His performance is also affected by contractual issues and the desire to leave Persepolis. Hossein Hosseini , despite a few good saves for Esteghlal, is quite inconsistent and shaky at times. The only bright keeper that played well in both matches is Payam Niazmand. The young Sepahan keeper was a pleasure to watch and should be seriously considered for Team Melli instead of Beiranvand.
  • Iran used to produce solid as a rock defender and any hall of fame of Iranian football will have defenders by the dozen as great defenders. Not anymore. It is a mystery why the defenders are deteriorating, but the answers may lie in the ineffectual coaching and guidance from technical directors.
  • The poor standard of Iranian clubs will be directly reflected in Team Melli and threatens its ambition to qualify for the World Cup.