AFP: Iran on Wednesday warned its choice as new national football coach, Javier Clemente, it would look for other candidates if the Spaniard insisted on only spending a minimal amount of time in the country.
TEHRAN (AFP) Iran on Wednesday warned its choice as new national football coach, Javier Clemente, it would look for other candidates if the Spaniard insisted on only spending a minimal amount of time in the country.
Clemente, who has already signed his contract with the Iranian football authorities, has reportedly said he only wants to come to Iran ahead of games and will not live in the Islamic republic.
“We do not accept a coach who just flies in-and-out. If he does, then the contract will be anulled,” said Iranian vice-president and Physical Education Organisation head Mohammad Ali Abadi, according to the ISNA news agency.
“It is not acceptable for us. A coach who is only here four or five days before a match will not reach his goals,” he added.
The new wrangle — when it appeared Clemente’s contract was finally agreed — signals that the months-long process to find a new coach for the embattled Team Melli is not over.
The national side, one of the heavyweights of Asian football, suffered a major embarrassment last week when it could only draw with minnows Syria in a performance that betrayed the effects of the lack of a coach.
“Though Clemente has signed a contract, we have not signed it yet,” the head of the Iranian Football Federation (FFI) Ali Kafashian was quoted as saying by ISNA.
“We do not accept that our coach sits in Spain and only watches video recordings of Iranian league games.”
“We have added an article in his contract which stipulates that he can go back to Spain twice a year. If wants to go more then he has to ask for permission,” he said.
If Clemente does not accept the terms “we will study other choices,” he added.
Iran’s lively sports papers ridiculed Clemente for comments he reportedly made to the Spanish press that he could coach Iran by watching videos from his home in Spain.
The sports paper 90 headlined: “Clemente: I will take Iran to the World Cup from my private villa in Spain.”
The Goal daily’s headline read: “I will only go to Tehran for matches and I will live in Bilbao not there.”
Conflicting statements from Iranian officials also indicated disagreements at the top of the Iranian Football Federation, which itself was without a chief for months amid a row about government interference in the game.
Iranian Football Federation official Mehdi Taj was quoted as saying a day earlier that Clemente had signed a contract until the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Clemente coached the Spanish national side in two World Cups but was available for the Iran job after Serbia sacked him for failing to lead the team to the Euro 2008 finals.
Despite boasting stars like Bolton Wanderers midfielder Andranik Teymourian and Eintracht Frankfurt winger Mehdi Mahdavikia, the national side has underperformed after being dumped out of the 2006 World Cup in the first round.