Tag: Reza Enayati

Analysis of Reza Enayati’s Tenure in Iranian Football

Failure stories.

Last year, Iran’s Omid football team faced a significant setback when they were eliminated from the Asian Olympic football competition qualifiers after a surprising defeat against Hong Kong. This loss dashed their hopes of advancing to the next stage of the Olympic qualifiers. The team’s head coach, Reza Enayati, was a controversial choice due to his lack of coaching experience. His appointment came with the backing of several officials, including Team Melli’s head coach, Amir Ghalenoei. Unfortunately, Enayati’s inexperience was glaringly evident both in his squad selection and his management during the qualifiers. Despite having a roster filled with promising young talents, some of whom were already part of Iran’s senior team, Enayati’s tactical shortcomings led to the team’s early exit against a modest Hong Kong side.

The aftermath of this failure was met with widespread disappointment from both the media and fans, who demanded accountability from the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI). However, no significant actions were taken, and the pervasive impunity in Iranian football continued unabated. Surprisingly, despite this major setback, Enayati was soon appointed as the head coach of Peykan Football Club, one of Tehran’s oldest and most prestigious teams. This decision was perplexing, especially given Peykan’s history of developing young players for Iran’s national teams at various levels.

Enayati’s tenure at Peykan proved to be another disastrous chapter in his coaching career. Under his leadership, the team suffered relegation from the Premier League following a 0-2 defeat against Esteghlal in the final week of the season. This relegation marked a significant blow, as Peykan had been a mainstay in the top flight for many years. Tehran’s football scene also took a hit, losing one of its Premier League representatives.

Given these consecutive failures, it raises questions about whether any CEO would be willing to entrust Enayati with a team for the next season. However, it appears that those who supported Enayati’s appointment despite his failure with the Omid team may once again find a new opportunity for him.

Enayati’s situation is emblematic of broader issues within Iranian football, including incompetency, corruption, and nepotism. The rapid progression of former players to coaching roles without adequate training, certification, or experience is a troubling trend. Coaches like Nekounam, Shojaei, and Navidkia are examples of individuals who have been given significant coaching responsibilities without meeting international standards. In contrast, European leagues often require formal coaching certifications and a thorough vetting process before appointments, a practice largely ignored in Iran.

This lack of process and disregard for international coaching standards not only hampers the development of Iranian football but also undermines its credibility on the global stage. For Iranian football to progress, there needs to be a significant overhaul in how coaches are trained, certified, and appointed, ensuring that competence and meritocracy replace the current culture of favoritism and expediency.

Poor grassroots football development, the reason for Omid’s Failure

After the disappointment of Iran’s U23 team’s failure to make it to the AFC Asian Cup U23 Qatar, where 16 top Asian teams will try to qualify for the Olympics, criticisms and theories on the failure have been in abundance.

One interesting theory comes from a long-time coach who has been operating at the youth level for many years in Iran’s football and looking beyond the classic narrative of failures and defeat.

Referring to the reasons for the Omid team failure, the Iranian football expert, Amin Rasti said: “Iran’s grassroots football structure is frail and unethical, and we will not get anywhere with such mentality and system.”

In an interview with Mehr reporter, Amin Rasti commented on the elimination of Iran’s Omid football team under head coach Reza Enayati: “The problem is in players’ development at the grassroots level, which causes unprofessional and misdemeanor in later stages of a player’s career such as in Omid and beyond.”

“It was unreasonable to expect a miracle from Enayati to qualify for the Olympics. He had just arrived (…) and perhaps he was not fully acquainted with many issues, or perhaps lacked some necessary skills. The issue that worries me is that we are ignoring the growth of our Asian neighbors, our competitors. This problem does not refer to one institution or a few managers. The basic football structure is quite weak. The foundation is fragile. Why don’t we have a grassroots tournament in Iran? The discussion of financial issues is on one side of the equation while paying attention to grassroots football development is on the other side.”

Rasti continued: ” There is a problem with grassroots football training at club level. I have warned against the neglect at this level, several times in the past few years. Grassroots football starts with toddlers and ends with the youth. It is a critical stage but also vital in developing a footballer. We have the problem of education in these categories. The dearth of quality trainers, mixed priorities, and general lack of planning. There are a thousand and one reasons why grassroots football is bad and going to worse.”

Referring to the low level of quality, and standards of the grassroots coaches, Rasti said: ” I don’t see the problem only in the thoughts of the head coach, but I want to say that our problem is the importance of infrastructure in grassroots football. This trend is seriously alarming for national football. Our coaches have fallen behind in the modern science of player training. Self-development and improvement are rare. If we don’t pay attention, we will have problems in the senior category as well. “

Rasti talked about his fear of facing the great rivals of the Asian continent in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup and stated: ” I am really worried about the Asian Cup. Playing against Saudi Arabia can be scary for this football. We are tired of mentioning Japan, which started about 25 years ago and now it is destroying giants like Germany. Japan has moved way up but aside from that, the rest of the Asian nations are also getting stronger and stronger.”

Rasti re-emphasized: “We are not proceeding on the systematic path in any way. Grassroots football is lost. We have a large pool of talent at the grassroots, but it is managed poorly. It is a pity for these talents. We must be much stronger than what we are now. We will not reach our potential because of mismanagement Believe me, this year is too late to return to the first level of Asian football, and we must formulate and adjust the basic structure from today to reap the benefits in the coming years”

Amin Rasti

Nepotism, favoritism, and poor coaching eliminated the Omid Team.

Iran’s Omid (U23) football team failed to advance to the final stages of the AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Qatar 2024 and the chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics. This under-23 national team, which, like its previous generations, has some prominent players in their own right, and despite the experience of the likes of Amin Hizbavi, Yasin Salmani, Mohammad Javad Hosseinnejad, Mohammad Reza Bardbar, and Allahyar Sayadmanesh, failed to score against Uzbekistan and was the weaker team in the final match.

After two wins against weaker opponents namely Hong Kong and Afghanistan, the crucial game against the host, which scored an amazing 18 goals against the same two weak teams, was a must-win situation. However, Omid lost and it was now up to the classification of the 4 best second teams. Malaysia had an identical record as Iran, but booked its place in the final rounds based on a better disciplinary record, to add salt to the wounds of the Iranians.

In the post-match press conference, despite this humiliation, Reza Enayati was defiant and blamed the loss against Uzbekistan on everything but himself while rueing the two yellow cards his players received. Funnily, he blamed the results against Hong Kong and Afghanistan on the pitch, as if Iranian stadiums and grounds are exemplary!

Digging deep into the selection of this coach, evidently, he was supported and approved by Amir Ghalenoei, the head coach of Team Melli and former Estaghlali like Enayati himself. Through a complicated process, despite the differences of opinion among the country’s football leaders and sports managers. Mehdi Taj, head of FFIRI planned to hand over the executive and management affairs of Omid Team to Habib Kashani, as in the past. The numerous financial problems of the Football Federation forced Taj’s to extend a hand to the member of the Tehran City Council to try to break the spell of the Olympics’ failures with Kashani’s management experience in sports.

Kashani agreed to take over the affairs of the team, conditionally on having total authority, including the appointment of the head coach, and without interference from anyone. That never happened. Kashani quietly withdrew and declined calls by the federation to re-consider.

Many local coaches were approached and offered the chance to be the head coach of Team Omid. The likes of Hamid Derakhshan, Mehdi Tartar, and Mojtabi Hosseini, all rejected such appointments. The 46-year-old, Reza Enayati, who has been jobless since he left Naft Masjed Soleyman was chosen with the direct approval of Ghalenoei, despite his lack of experience and weak resume.

Kashani opposed Enayati’s choice from the very beginning, and when he felt the appointment was going through against his will, he left the job and resigned from his post as Manager of Omid Team. For arranging matches for the team, Mehdi Taj, could only get WAFF U23 Cup. In this regional competition, Omid won against Syria and drew against Palestine. They then defeated Jordan in the penalty shootout and went to the final with Iraq, but this time the penalty shootout was not auspicious for the team as Omid was content with a second-place finish.

Enayati was then able to enforce the Turkish camp program with the extensive support of Ghalenoei and two of his close friends. in Turkey, the team was able to have good preparatory games which raised the expectations that Omid would go through to the final first stage of the Olympic qualifiers.

With all the players at his disposal, Enayati went to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to lead one of the most promising generations of Iranian under-23 teams. With the extensive support of the head coach of Team Melli, who supported Enayati providing the team with Sayadmanesh, Hizbavi, Salmani, and HosseinNejad, The only absentee was Saman Fallah, who stayed in Tehran due to injury.

Iranian football is experiencing a yearning of half a century to qualify for the Olympics. The Olympic mascot for Iranian football enters its sixth decade it is considered a completely wrong way to manage hopes.

A brief look at this half-century of regret shows that one of the weaknesses of the strategy has always been in choosing the right management model for the team or how to choose the head coach and creating a platform for the cooperation of clubs with this team. Choosing a person who is perhaps in the third or fourth tier of Iranian coaches, is a sure way to fail. everyone understands that.

Enayati, when asked about the chances of winning this group, before traveling to Tashkent, said “Inshallah, with the good prayers of the fans, we will win” !!!

If we have to depend on prayers, why would we need him on the bench of the Omid Team? we might as well do our prayers and hope for the best.

The recipe of failure was drawn this time with Enayati’s lack of experience and the poor vision of Ghalenoei and the football federation headed by an incompetent Mehdi Taj who is the master of apology in Iran. This time like last time there was nothing to offer the fans except for the repeated word “regret”. There is no talk of any long-term plan, which is definitely alien for this federation, no talk of gap analysis and where things could have improved, what they learned from their mistakes, and technical analysis of the team. Nothing but “We are sorry”, They move on to the next failure.

It is the Asian Games next. The Omid team has already flown to China for their first match against Saudi Arabia on 19th September 2023 in Linping Sports Centre Stadium.

full schedule :

19-Sep-202319:30 (15:00 Iran time)Saudi Arabia – IranLinping Sports Centre Stadium
21-Sep-202319:30 (15:00 Iran time)Iran – VietnamLinping Sports Centre Stadium
24-Sep-202319:30 (15:00 Iran time)Iran – MongoliaShangcheng Sports Centre Stadium

Omid team starts the long march against Hong Kong.

Iran’s Omid Team (U23) and also the Olympic team is embarking on a long journey for qualification to the Olympics Games Paris 2024 with a game against Hong Kong.

This match is in the qualification rounds for AFC U23 Championship in which the top 4 teams qualifies for the Olympics. Host Uzbekistan will be the most serious opponent of this group that includes Afghanistan as well.

Under a relatively inexperienced coach, Reza Enayat’s Omid Team is hoping once again to break the long tradition of failures to qualify for the Olympics since 1980. These failures occur even with the availability of quality players under this age bracket. Many Omid teams had Team Melli players, but still failed to qualify with the team falling at different hurdles.

Reza Enyati, the former Team Melli striker, will hardly set the football world alight with his resume and experience in coaching. His short career started in 2019 with Qashqaei and then in the same season, Havadar before moving on to Naft Masjed Soleiman, all teams at the lower end of the tables or in lower tier of football in Iran.

Yet, Enayati, a demanding character, has managed some respectable results with the team so far. He will undoubtedly have a hard and testing times against better. more prepared and organized teams not to mention much experience coaches. It is remains to be seen if Enyati can stand up to the challenge by boosting his players and cover technical and tactical deficiencies by utilizing individual skills and solid defense the team is well capable of.

In toddy’s match , Reza Enayati, the starting lineup against Hong Kong as follows: Mohammad Reza Khaledabadi, Saman Touranian, Hossein Goudarzi, Amin Hizbavi, Mohammad Javad Hosseinnejad, Yasin Salmani, Aria Yousefi, Amir Jafari, Mohammad Ghorbani, Mehdi Hashminejad, Mohammad Reza Bardbar.

The match starts at 15:30 ,(Iran Time) at Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent. This meeting will be held in the first stage of the Olympic qualifiers.

WAFF U23 2023

Omid team to meet host Iraq in the final of WAFF U23 Cup.

Omid Team (Iran U23) defeated Jordan in a penalty shootout to book a place in the final match against host Iraq.

The match was a dour affair with neither of the teams impressing in a match that only saw two serious attempts at scoring. The extra time was not played as usual as after the goalless draw the match went directly to penalty Shootouts which ended 4-3 in favor of Iran.

Reza Enayati, the head coach of the Omid team said: “As of now, our celebration and joy period happiness is over and we are only thinking about the final.” said in the press conference after the win against Jordan and advancing to the finals of the West Asian Under-23 Championship ” Jordan is a good team and we had a tough game. I have to thank the players of the team who showed zeal and were able to achieve this result.”

He continued:” Now the joy of winning in the semi-final is over and we should only think about the final. It doesn’t matter to us whether the opponent is Iraq or Oman. We strive for success. In response to a question about the physical pressure on the team’s players at the end of the second half, Enayati said: This was predictable because we play every other day. Of course, our players managed the game well in the second half. He added: ” We went through difficult training conditions. We had to practice in Karbala from 5 to 6 o’clock, which caused a lot of physical pressure. In the matter of recovery, there was also a problem of compression of matches.”

Iran Omid Team led by the brilliant Yasin Salmani, is looking to take back the trophy last won by an Iranian team 14 years ago in Amman.

Host Iraq narrowly defeated Oman 1-0 to set up the final on Tuesday in Karbala at 21:30 local time.

Omid Team in WAFF Semi-Finals

The lineup for the semifinals of the 2023 WAFF U-23 Championship is complete after Iraq, Oman and Iran won their respective groups and Jordan joined them as the best second-placed team of the round.

The semifinals of the three-group, nine-team tournament — organized by the West Asia Football Federation — will be played on Sunday with Iraq facing Oman and Jordan taking on Iran.

In Group A, hosts Iraq cruised to a 3-0 win over the UAE to finish top of the standings with four points, ahead of runners-up Jordan only on goal difference.

Group B saw a dramatic end as Palestine led Iran 1-0 deep into stoppage, a scoreline that would have ensured progress to the last four with a maximum of six points from two matches. However, Iran equalized through Arya Barzegar in the 97th minute to break Palestinian hearts and finish top of the group instead.

Despite still claiming four points and second place, the Palestinians missed out on a semifinal spot as Jordan — who also finished with +1 goal difference — had scored more goals in Group A.

Meanwhile, in group C, Yemen defeated Lebanon 2-1 in what turned out to be a dead rubber as both teams were eliminated. Oman had already guaranteed the top spot with six points from their two matches.

18-June-2318:00IRAN U23JORDAN U23
18-June-2321:00IRAQ U23OMAN U23

All times GMT + 3

Al-Madina International Stadium, Baghdad