Reuters: Prospective national coach Javier Clemente is expected to set up a home in Iran after the Islamic State’s soccer federation rejected his suggestion that he would commute there from his native Spain ahead of matches.
TEHRAN, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Prospective national coach Javier Clemente is expected to set up a home in Iran after the Islamic State’s soccer federation rejected his suggestion that he would commute there from his native Spain ahead of matches.
“I will live in Iran and have no problems about it,” the former Spain and Serbia coach was quoted as saying in a report published in Iranian daily Kayhan International on Monday.
“But I will go back to Bilbao in Spain when the team does not need me,” he said in the report attributed to Iran’s Press TV satellite station.
Last week, Clemente signed a contract to take charge of the three-times Asian Cup winners for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
However. soccer federation head Ali Kafashian said Iran did not want a “remote control coach” after Clemente told a Spanish daily he would continue to live in the Basque Country and only travel to the Islamic State to prepare for matches.
Kafashian last week said the Iranian side had yet to sign the contract and it had added a paragraph under which Clemente, 57, could travel to Spain twice a year.
Clemente was sacked by Serbia in December after failing to steer the team to this year’s European Championship finals which are being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
He faces the enormous task of transforming the Iranian team into a respectable force and living up to fans’ expectations.
Iran got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a disappointing start when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Syria last Wednesday. Iran and Syria contest the all-Middle East Group Five with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Clemente managed Spain from 1992-98 and has coached several clubs, including Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. (Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by John O’Brien)