Iran pick Ghalenoei to lead team into Asian Cup, starting with Russian friendly on March 23

March 14 – After months of speculation, Iran have named Amir Ghalenoei (pictured) as the successor to Carlos Queiroz to lead Team Melli until the 2023 Asian Cup that will be played in Qatar next January.

“Based on the technical and expert review and the agreement made, Mr. Amir Ghalenoei, the valuable coach of our country is selected as the head coach of the national football team,” Iran’s Football Federation said in a statement.

Ghalenoei is a club coach at Gol Gohar, but will return for a second spell with Team Melli after managing Iran from 2006 to 2007 when the team were eliminated from the Asian Cup by South Korea following a penalty shootout in the last eight.

The most successful coach in Iranian Premier League history with five titles, three times with giants Esteghlal FC and two with Sepahan, Ghalenoei`s main task will be to deliver a credible continental performance at the Asian Cup. On March 23, Ghalenoei will get his new stint underway with a friendly against Russia, banned by UEFA, in Tehran.

In 2019, the Iranians exited the Asian Cup in the UAE in the semi-finals following a 3-0 defeat to Japan, lengthening the long wait for the three-time champions who last won the title in 1976.

After the 2022 World Cup, Queiroz departed Iran. His team failed to progress from a group with England, the United States and Wales in a campaign that was overshadowed by the nationwide protests back home.

It led to a team under huge pressure and an agitated coach. After the England match, Queiroz, who consistently steered away from taking a political side, said: “You don’t know what these kids have been living the last days just because they want to express themselves as players. Whatever they do or say, they want to kill them. Let them represent the country and play for the people. Everybody represents the people here.”

“Everybody knows the circumstances, the environment of my players is not ideal in terms of commitment and concentration, and they are affected by the issue. They are human beings.”

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