Tag: Sadegh Moharremi

Team Melli complexion is changing rapidly.

After the transfer of Sepahan’s and Team Melli Captain Ehsan Hajsafi to AEK Athens, Iran has just five players playing in the domestic Persian Gulf league. That puts Iran among the group of countries whose majority of the national team players play abroad. These countries, including World Cup holder France and FIFA Top ranking team Belgium, have only a few footballers that are based at home.

With the conclusion of the 2020/21 season of the Persian Gulf League in which Persepolis won the title for the fifth time in a row, 3 significant transfers were confirmed. Hossein Kanani from Al Ahli of Qatar from Persepolis, Payam Niazmand to Portimonense of Portugal, and Ehsan Hajsafi to AEK Greece from Sepahan, the last 23-man squad of Team Melli home-based players reduced to five only,

Vahid Amiri,  Milad Sarlak, Ahmad Nourollahi, Mehdi Torabi (all Persepolis), and Mehdi Ghaedi (Esteghlal) are the only players present in the World Cup qualifiers who are based in Iran. As for the latter player, Mehdi Ghaedi, his suitors have increased since his brilliant performance in AFC Champions League. Farhad Majidi announced a while ago, that he will not stop Ghaedi from seeking his fortunes in other pastures to improve his standard, which means the possible transfer of the best current talent in Iranian football to a foreign club.

The full list of Team Melli with 19 players

Team Melli legionnaires also include the following players who were not part of the squad for the return legs of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, who could be possibly invited to the next stage of qualifiers. These 6 players are as follow

In total 25 (83%) players are legionnaires out of 30

It is quite possible that under these circumstances, Iran will probably not have any players from domestic league playing for the country in the national team for several years to come, and there will be no trace of the old superiority and total control of Team Melli squad by the to poles of Iran football, Esteghlal, and Persepolis.

Several years ago, at the time of the decline of the domestic leagues of France and Belgium, all the players of these two powerful national teams were players working outside the domestic leagues. It seems that no player from the Belgian league was in the Red Devils’ starting line-up at Euro 2020 this year, and that was the case in France before the re-emergence of Paris Saint-Germain in France as one of the top teams in Europe.

The standard of Iran’s domestic league has fallen quite badly in the last few years due to several factors. Total government hegemony on clubs, chronic incompetent management, nepotism, poor coaching, politics, lack of resources, favoritism, corruption, and exceptional indiscipline have all resulted in a league that is relegated in the AFC Asian ranking to mid tables.

Iranian clubs have never won the AFC Champions League and the last time a club from Iran won a trophy was back in 1990/91 when Esteghlal won the Asian Club Championship, the predecessor of Champions League.

Iran to play a friendly against Syria

 As customary, Iran Football Federation has failed  to have more than one friendly match for Team Melli in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers , and this time it will face Syria without the presence of the legionnaires.

Team Melli will play a friendly match against the Syrian national team in Tehran on 30th March ,  to fill the gap of the postponed qualifiers against Hong Kong and Cambodia.

Due to the late cancellation of the World Cup qualifiers, the Football Federation could not coordinate more than one match for the national team. As a result, Team Melli, as in previous months, instead of utilizing maximum time allowed and arranging at least two training matches, still misses part of the days called “FIFA Day” for arranging friendly and official matches.

* Iran plays without legionnaires

The match between the two teams Iran and Syria is to be held on the 29th of March, which occurs outside of the FIFA Day , a period which the international ruling body has earmarked from  18th to 26th March 2021. Most of the national teams arrange friendly international matches in this period.  Team Melli is not allowed to use its legionnaire players because the friendly arranged with Syria is outside of the FIFA Day !!

Although Iranian clubs are sacrificing their interests for the sake of the national team, there is no news of the presence of legionnaire players in this match, and Skocic will have to send his team to face Syria  without all his key players.

The absence of players such as Tarmi, Azmoun, Beiranvand, Milad Mohammadi, Saeed Ezatollahi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Amir Abedzadeh, Sadegh Moharremi, Kaveh Rezaei, Ali Gholizadeh, Karim AnsariFard, etc. is in a situation which translates to what is a Team Melli without all of its key players, renders the friendly against the Syrians as a nothing more than a formality and hardly constructive for the Team and Skocic.

If the Iran-Syria match was held inside FIFA Day, it could be a special help to the Iranian national team. It remains to be seen whether Skocic can convince European and some Arab clubs to release their Iranian international  for  three to four days .

It is probable that he will generally restrict the presence of the legionnaires in the Nowruz 1400 camp, which begins on the 23rd of March, in order to participate in training only for three or four days.