Saturday, August 13, 2022

Iran’s coach Skocic to players: Stay away from sideline issues

Iran’s national soccer squad’s head coach Dragan Skocic has thanked the players for launching a campaign to support the Croatian coach amid reports that discussions are underway to replace him, but asked the national soccer team (Team Melli) players not to focus their attention on off-the-field controversies.

The plea came after several Iranian payers, including Sardar Azmoun, Shoja’ Khalilzadeh, Alireza Biranvand, Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan, and Sadegh Moharami expressed their support for Skocic and asked officials to postpone any change until after the 2022 World Cup slated to be held in Qatar.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are other players, including Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi, Saeed Ezatollahi and Morteza Pourali Ganji who are critical of the current conditions of Team Melli and therefore, did not lend support for the pro-Skocic campaign.

The Iranian Sports Ministry has reportedly held talks with the football federation’s technical committee to change the head coach of Team Melli ahead of the World Cup games.

There are conflicting reports that the sports ministry is planning to hire former Portuguese head coach of Iran’s national team Carlos Queiroz.

However, a spokesperson of the football federation announced on Friday that the board of directors had not reached an agreement on the issue, and that Skocic will continue to be at the helm, Mehr News Agency reported.

The reports of changing the head coach spread after the Iranian national team’s poor performance during World Cup qualification and preparation games.

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