Iran General NewsQotbi becomes third Iran coach in one month

Qotbi becomes third Iran coach in one month

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ImageAFP: Iranian-American Afshin Qotbi became Iran's third coach in a month on Wednesday when he was named as successor to Mohammad Mayelikohan whose reign lasted just two weeks, the ISNA news agency reported.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian-American Afshin Qotbi became Iran's third coach in a month on Wednesday when he was named as successor to Mohammad Mayelikohan whose reign lasted just two weeks, the ISNA news agency reported.

Mayelikohan resigned on Tuesday over a row which erupted after a match between his former club Saipa and another Tehran side, Esteghlal.

Mayelikohan was appointed to try and revive Iran's faltering 2010 World Cup finals qualifying campaign after former coach Ali Daei was sacked following the team's defeat against Saudi Arabia in an Asian qualifier on March 28.

"As our most crucial priority in the football federation, we have appointed Afshin Qotbi. He will coach the team in its three remaining (qualifying) matches," Mehdi Taj Iran's football Federation official was quoted as saying.

"A Dutch trainer will assist him," he added without naming him.

With Qotbi as a coach, Persepolis were Iranian premier league champions last year.

Qotbi previously worked with the US national team and football academy before a long stint assisting successive Dutch coaches Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and then Pim Verbeek at the South Korean national side.

Despite spending most of his life in the United States, Qotbi has insisted he is first and foremost an Iranian.

"If you are born in a country and spent your childhood there you are from that country. I am always an Iranian," he told AFP in June.

Iran are trying to reach their fourth World Cup finals, but they are currently in fourth place in Group B qualifying.

South Korea top the pool with 11 points from five games, followed by their northern neighbour on 10 points from six games with Saudi Arabia in third, also on 10 points from six games.

Iran are fourth with six points from five games after only one win and three draws.

Team Melli has uphill road in securing a place in the South Africa's finals, two away matches in South and North Korea and a home match with the UAE, but it is banking on Qotbi's tenure with Koreans to make it through.

Asia has four automatic berths in the finals in South Africa in 2010 while the third-place teams in the two final Asian qualifiers will play each other for the right to take on Oceania zone victors New Zealand for a place in the finals.

Iran have appeared in the 1978, 1998 and 2006 World Cup finals. Team Melli's best results in the World Cup was in France 98 when they beat archfoe the United States 2-1.

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