Karimi's farewell, Iran's hangover
IranSportsPress.com: It’s the end of the wizard’s era. Mark your calendars, autographs and Bayern Munich’s jerseys as Ali Karimi bids farewell to Iran National football team, but not without controversy. He had hoped to say farewell to the national team after Iran’s qualification to the 2010 World Cup, but he was deprived of serving for his country, as he shook few people’s seats in charge of Iranian football.
While Japanese officials always set up National team performance Commission after each World cup and major tournament to ratify the flaws and shortcomings of the Japanese team, Iranian football officials not only try to justify the shortcomings on opponent teams, but will punish anyone, even national team’s valuable and experienced players, to keep the criticisms of their mismanagement flaws under control at any cost.
It is surprising as pointed out but Ali Karimi himself, that Javad Nekounam, Rahman Rezaei, Mehdi Mahdavikia and even Ali Daei have all heavily criticised the Iranian Football Federation for failing to arrange enough friendly games, yet Ali Karimi was harshly ejected from the squad simply by pointing out the same flaws as everyone else in the team has brought up in the past. Former Asian footballer of the year, Iran’s player of the year with his dazzling performance in Asian Cup 2004, and one of Iran’s most effective midfielders on the pitch for years, was always one of the first players to join up with the squad during his career, but all this dedication was quickly forgotten, simply because Iran football officials believe they should be unquestionable, regardless of how much their ejection will cost Iran national team at this stage of qualifying games.
Is Ali Karimi too far off in pointing out Iranian team’s football downfall in the past decade, while Iranian team is at its lowest point for years? Has it ever happened that Iranian team be in danger of early elimination from World Cup Qualification in the first round group stage, prior to even getting drawn against the likes of Japan, South Korea, and Australia? Didn’t Iranian team stop Australia in an away match to qualify to world Cup 1998? Didn’t the Iranian team get passed Japan, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar to qualify to World Cup 2006? Then how come Iran national team has worsened so much that they fail to beat the likes of Syria at home or Kuwait away from home, teams that are well below the strength level of Japan, Bahrain and Qatari teams?
One may question the timing of Ali Karimi’s criticism of Iran Football Federation officials at such crucial stage, but someone has to point the finger to the main reasons behind Iranian team’s decline before its too late, isn’t it? Would it be any worthy if Ali Karimi criticizes Iranian team preparation after Iran’s possible elimination from World Cup Qualification games?
Iranian football officials’ insecurity and totalitarianism in reaction to Ali Karimi’s criticisms stems from the fact that they know they are the ones at fault for the Iranian football decline; from causing Iran’s suspension by FIFA, to constant delays in setting up Football Federation Elections. The Iranian football officials are fully aware that they are responsible for months of delay in finding a coach for the nation team, and they are aware of empty promises made to Ali Daei, and millions of fans for strong friendly opponents to help the struggling Iranian team get together prior to the UAE clash. While the likes of Scotland, Uruguay, Colombia, Mali, Ecuador, Egypt, and Turkey, were promised, instead Iran ended up playing Zambia, which by no means was a challenging opponent for the Iranian team, and they just proved so on Sunday May 25th.
While lining up a simple friendly game is only fulfilled when the Physical Education Organisation (PEO) approves the budget and the friendly opponent, and when PEO and IFF clearly do not distinguish the huge difference between the Uruguay and Zambia, how do Iranian football fans expect to witness any slight improvement in the struggling Iranian team to make up for the lost points in the remaining games?
And last but not least, should Iran fail to qualify to 2010 World cup in this round or the next round, whom can PEO-IFF blame for the national team’s failure? Ali Karimi’s criticisms? lack of players’ effort? wrong referee calls? or the inexperienced coaching team they selected themselves? Will they ever point to their own substantial share of management and accountability failures? The answer is anything but positive.