The welcomed guest
IranSportsPress.com: The trees are blooming, the spring wind is blowing. A welcomed guest is arriving. Excitement is running through the veins, and the smile is back on faces.
As poetic as it sounds, this is what the atmosphere is like in Iran these days. It was an unexpected turn of event when Carlos Queiroz, the prominent Portuguese coach penned a 3-year contract on Monday. Officially binding himself in the premise of taking Iran national team to the much forgotten-among sceptics anyways- World Cup 2014 games.
As always Iranian politicians interfered in high-level football decisions and in an unparallel move made former Portguese National team manager sign his contract in Iran Sport ministry’s office. “It is a protocol that needs to be followed,” they explain.
Despite the usual politics, nothing can change the current positive mood among formerly depressed Iranian fans. Apparent in their 17,000 text message/minute rush to vote for “90” program’s question of the week-the possibility of Iran national team’s qualification to World Cup 2014 with Carlos Queiroz- 80% of Iranian fans are now in optimist side of the border. For now I would add. 20% of fans remain sceptical of Iran’s chances, despite securing a world class coach.
However, vote results and positive moods do not mean much to guarantee a smooth ride in Iran for the former Manchester United Assistant manager. After all, the same media, fans, local coaches and football officials, are guilty of quick mood change-all the way from hardcore fans to frenzy enemies- regarding former managers. Blazevic, Ivic, and Ivankovic were all at beginning a nation’s sweethearts, but soon were bashed with the harshest personal criticisms.
Initially, everything is rosy, sweet, perfect. Then as soon as the first national team squad list is announced, first and foremost club coaches jump on bandwagon and criticize the manager if there are too many players called-up from their team, and also if there are very few. Thereafter, it is fans and media’s turn to question the coach’s judgment and knowledge when their favourite players are missing from the list.
This story continues, until the national team is hit with few stalemates and losses along the way, and Iran football officials jump on the swinging rope and make the final cut to the coaching team. Oh haven’t we all witnessed these scenarios over and over?
It is an overly emotional and over-reactionary mentality that has gripped Iranian national team over the years. To the extent that in terms of coaching instability, Iran is almost getting in-par with Saudi Arabia’s sacking record. Hand in hand, this Iranian mentality -shared between all fractions of the society and government- has made this great football land, a living hell for top coaches.
It is never too late though. We can start over the chapter and write a different story this time. Or maybe the same wishful story but with a more pleasant ending. However we write it, let’s hope Carlos Queiroz does not leave in the middle of our story.