Afshin Ghotbi to be Unveiled as New Iran Head Coach
TEHRAN- (IranSportsPress.com): Afshin Ghotbi is to be named as the next head coach of Iran national football team on Saturday.
Reports from Tehran suggest that Afshin Ghotbi has been picked as the next coach of Iran, and he will be officially unveiled by the head of Iranian Football Federation, Ali Kafashian, on Saturday.
Ghotbi has beaten off competition from Amir Ghalenoei, Majid Jalali, and Mohamad Mayeli Kohan, and the announcement will bring an end to a long running soap opera which has lasted well over six months.
Ali Kafashian announced on Friday that "the new coach will be named on Saturday, after a meeting of IFF board members". He added that Clemente is now out of the running. "Clemente was expected to visit Iran embassy in Spain on Thursday, to hold further talks. We had even made arrangements for lunch, but he contacted us and said he can't come to the meeting, so we will not be thinking about him anymore".
Members of the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) had reviewed a short list of five local coaches last week, and a decision was expected on Monday, but a last minute attempt to bring Clemente to Iran meant that the announcement had to be put on hold until now.
The appointment of Ghotbi would be a popular decision among the fans, as many see him as a breath of fresh air, compared to other Iranian coaches. In a poll of over 800,000 fans on 90 football show this week, Ghotbi received 70% of the votes.
Ghotbi only moved to Iran in July 2007 to take charge of Perspolis, after leaving his job as an assistant to Pim Verbeek in South Korea national team.
Ghotbi is a former assistant coach for the US national team and Los Angeles Galaxy. He also worked for Korea national football team under Dutchman Guus Hiddink from December 2000 till July 2002 as a technical analyst and under Dick Advocaat from October 2005 until July 2006.