List of Iran national football team managers

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Carlos Queiroz, the current manager of Iran.

The role of an Iran national football team manager was first established in January 1941 with the appointment of Hossein Sadaghiani.[1] Forty-six men have occupied the post since its inception; six of those were in short-term caretaker manager roles: Jalal Cheraghpour (four games in charge), Nasser Ebrahimi (eight games), Homayoun Shahrokhi (five game), Mansour Ebrahimzadeh (three games), Erich Rutemöller (one game) and Ali Reza Mansourian (one game). In comparison, Sadeghiani held the position for the longest to date with a tenure of 10 years. However, Branko Ivanković led the team in 52 matches. The most successful manager is Heshmat Mohajerani, winning the 1976 AFC Asian Cup, Quarter Finalist of 1976 Summer Olympics and Qualification for the 1978 FIFA World Cup.[2] Hungarian coach József Mészáros became the first foreign manager of the team in 1959.



The Iran manager's role means he has sole responsibility for all on-the-field elements of the Iran team. Among other activities, this includes selecting the national team squad, the starting team, captain, tactics, substitutes and penalty-takers.

The manager is given a free hand in selecting his coaching ("back room") staff. For example, in 2011 Carlos Queiroz appointed two Portugalians (António Simões as assistant coach and Dan Gaspar as goalkeeping coach), two Iranians (Omid Namazi as assistant coach and Markar Aghajanian as scout).[3] and one British (Mick McDermott as fitness coach).


The process of appointing a new Iran manager is undertaken by an FFIRI committee, which is composed of board members and other high-ranking FFIRI officials.


Hossein Sadeghiani[edit]

Hossein Sadaghiani, managed Iran from 1941 to 1951

Sadaghiani was the first manager of Iran national team appointed in 1941. He led the team in only three matches with two wins and one loss. His assistant, Mostafa Salimi, was also his successor. Sadeghiani was returned to the coaching staff in 1958 for coaching the team in two matches. He was also the first Iranian that played for foreign clubs, playing for R. Charleroi S.C. and Fenerbahce SK.

Mahmoud Bayati[edit]

A former Taj player and head coach, Bayati was appointed as head coach of Iran national football team in 1967 and led the team in the 1968 AFC Asian Cup. Iran won the title without any loss or draw. He resigned after the tournaments in protest to the then President of Iran Football Federation and was succeeded by Zdravko Rajkov. He was returned to the national team after four years and was re-appointed as head coach in 1972 after the resignation of Mohammad Ranjbar. Bayati led the team in the 1972 Summer Olympics with bad results and was unable to qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup. He was sacked as national football team head coach in 1974.

Parviz Dehdari[edit]

He was appointed as head coach of national football team in 1971. He coached the team in Olympic Games in Munich. The team was able to successfully enter the Olympic competition but Dehdari resigned before the tournament. He resigned because of differences he had with his assistant, Mohammad Ranjbar. He was re-appointed as head coach of national team in 1986. He led Team Melli in 1986 Asian Games and 1988 AFC Asian Cup. Team Melli won third place in the 1988 Asian Cup and Dehdari was sacked on 22 January 1989.

Mohammad Ranjbar[edit]

Ranjbar began his coaching career as manager of Iran national under-20 football team in 1968. He was selected as assistant coach of the national football team in 1970 and was again selected as this position in 1971 by Parviz Dehdari. After Dehdari's resignation in 1972, Ranjbar was appointed as caretaker manager of the national team, which he led to the final victory in 1972 AFC Asian Cup.[4] After the team's success with Ranjbar, Iran Football Federation appointed Ranjbar as the team's head coach and signed a two-year contract with him, but he resigned after two months.

Heshmat Mohajerani[edit]

Heshmat Mohajerani managed Iran from 1975 to 1978

Mohajerani began his coaching career in 1971; he started his coaching career as the Iran U-23 National Team Coach. During his years as coach, he gave numerous opportunities to youths from cities other than the capital and many of those youths, including Nazari, Barzegari, Ghasempour and Pezeshkar found their way into the Team Melli.

Under his coaching and management, Iran won the Asian Youth Championship for 4 consecutive years, while before his time the Youth Team had never won the Asian Championship. This achievement is a record that no other coach has been able to match. After this brilliant record with the youth team, Mohajerani was appointed as assistant coach to Irishman Frank O'Farrell.

Mohajerani's first major achievement was winning the 1976 Asian Cup when his team beat Kuwait 1–0 in the final at Azadi Stadium.

Shortly, the team was qualified for the Montreal Olympic games and for the first time in Iran's history, the team qualified for the next round. The pinnacle of Mohajerani's achievement, however, was the first ever advancement of the Iran national football team to the World Cup finals in Argentina in 1978.

Under his astute coaching, Iran managed to draw against Scotland, while performing gallantly against eventual runner-up Holland.

In one of the most intriguing encounters and as a sign of the deep trust in youth, Mohajerani challenged the Kuwaiti Team, under the management of Carlos Alberto and Mario Zagalo, on their home turf in the last match of the World Cup preliminary game. Although Iran had already qualified, it was a matter of honor to keep the unbeaten record of the team. Mohajerani fielded a youth team against the full strength Kuwait and still managed to beat them 2–1 in a historic match.

Ali Parvin[edit]

In late 1989 Parvin (or Sultan as many call him) became the Iranian national team manager. He had already gained experience managing Tehran powerhouse Persepolis FC. At first his popularity grew even more as the team won the 1990 Asian Games football gold medal, but early elimination from the 1992 Asian Cup and failure to qualify for World Cup 1994 cost him his job. He was fired in 1993 and replaced by Stanko Poklepovic.

Mohammad Mayeli Kohan[edit]

After good results with national futsal team, he was elected as manager of Iran national football team after Stanko Poklepović's resignation. He coached the team in 1996 AFC Asian Cup and was ranked in third place. He invited players such as Farhad Majidi, Khodadad Azizi and Ali Daei to the national team; they became Iran's best players in the next years.

Jalal Talebi[edit]

He was the head coach of the Iranian national team during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[5] Prior to the tournament, he was appointed to replace Tomislav Ivic after Iran lost 1–7 to A.S. Roma in a warm up friendly match. He had held the position of technical director before he was named coach. He stepped down as head coach after the 1998 FIFA World Cup on 20 August 1998,[6] but returned to lead the team again during 2000 Asian Cup in Lebanon. He resigned after Iran's elimination in the tournament.[7]

Miroslav Blažević[edit]

Well known throughout the football world for his 1998 World Cup sensation, Ćiro accepted an offer to lead the Iranian national team midway through the 2002 World Cup qualification process. Coming in ahead of the final qualifying round, he quickly developed a following among many of the Iranian fans. Ćiro kept the 3–5–2 formation that Iran had played with previously in the 96 Asian Cup, in which Iranian national team had won third place. He also introduced new players to Team Melli such as Rahman Rezaei, Javad Nekounam, and Ebrahim Mirzapour. Known as a loudmouth and showman, Blažević stayed true to form by claiming he would hang himself from the goalposts if Iran failed to beat Ireland in the deciding qualification playoff for the 2002 World Cup.[8] Ireland won 2–1 on aggregate, the defeat that marked the end of Blažević's time in Iran as his assistant Branko Ivanković took over.

Branko Ivanković[edit]

Ivanković was appointed to the head of the Iranian team on 29 January 2002. Under Ivanković, Iran's U23 football team won the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan.[9] He remained the coach of the national team until the end of 2002, when he was replaced by Homayun Shahrokhi.[9]

Ivanković had become very popular in Iran and the public media demanded a contract renewal, but the Football Federation was initially reluctant to appoint him as the head coach. Finally, after a period of negotiations he was reappointed as the head coach of Iran on 3 October 2003.[9]

Ivankovic led Iran to 2004 AFC Asian Cup third place.[10] They lost only to the hosts, China, in penalties in a very controversial match in which the Chinese luckily avoided multiple red cards.[citation needed]

Ivanković also led Iran to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, the third time in the country's history (they had previously been eliminated in the first round in 1978 and 1998).[10]

Despite him being the most successful coach of the Iranian National Team in terms of winning percentage, Ivankovic was not liked by the Iranian government who deliberately tried to replace him with a native coach.

The Ministry for Physical Education, which is a governmental watchdog on sports, tried to replace the coach before the World cup in Germany. However the Football federation of Iran resisted the pressure and kept Ivankovic for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Iran, at their opening game at the World Cup, showed a scintillating first half performance against Mexico, but conceded two goals. The second match against Portugal was not successful either, with Iran conceding two late goals to lose 2–0 and being left without any chances of advancing to the second stage of the tournament. Mexico drew against Angola on the previous evening and left Iran at an unreachable four points behind. So, the third group match against Angola became insignificant for Iran. Angola put themselves into the lead with the opening goal after one hour of playing. The Iranians managed to equalise fifteen minutes later, eventually scoring their only point at the 2006 World Cup since the match ended in a 1–1 draw. This point was, however, only enough for Iran to occupy the last place in their group.

After the World Cup, MPE removed the Head of the Football federation of Iran, replacing Branko Ivanković with Amir Qalenoei.[11] This in turn resulted a FIFA suspension for Iran's football due to political interference.[12]

Amir Ghalenoei[edit]

Ghalenoei was appointed as manager of the Iran national football team on July 17, 2006, to succeed Branko Ivanković. After a quarterfinals finish during the 2007 Asian Cup, Ghalenoei was on the outs as Team Melli manager late in the year. Iran lost out to South Korea in a penalty shoot-out. Ghalenoei was after the game heavily criticized for substituting the goalkeeper just prior to the shoot-out.

Ali Daei[edit]

On 2 March 2008 IRIFF officially appointed Ali Daei as Team Melli's new head coach. Despite admitting that his appointment as manager of the Iranian national team was a "surprise",[13] Daei refused to leave his current coaching job at Saipa F.C., therefore taking on dual managerial careers until after Saipa had entered the Asian Champion League quarterfinals, after which Daei left Saipa by mutual consent. While Daei guided Iran to a respectable 16–6–3 mark, his third loss on 28 March 2009 to a Saudi Arabian team that was down 1–0 to Iran in Tehran proved to be the final straw. During his tenure as the National Team coach, the Iranian team managed the weakest World Cup Qualification results in its history with only one win out of 5 WCQ games. After the loss in the 2010 World Cup Qualifier, Daei was fired as head coach after the match. While introducing many new players such as Gholamreza Rezaei, and Ehsan Hajysafi, Daei's squad was often in flux as to who would be invited to a fixture. As well, many critics pointed towards the failures of Daei's team to score and an unsolved weakness in the central defense as causes for his downfall.

Afshin Ghotbi[edit]

After just three weeks after being announced as manager, Mayeli Kohan became the spearhead of a heated dispute between himself and Esteghlal F.C. manager Amir Ghalenoei.[14] This resulted in the IRIFF forcing Mayeli Kohan's resignation as manager of Team Melli.[14] A week later, Afshin Ghotbi agreed to succeed Mayeli Kohan as head coach of the Iranian national team.[15] After this appointment, Ghotbi said in an interview "A life dream, a longtime ambition and a journey written in the stars is about to be realized I have to thank all the people around the world who have cheered, supported and inspired me to have this opportunity." [16] However, under Afshin Ghotbi, Iran failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This was in spite of the team's reasonable performance, gaining 5 points from 3 games. His contract has now been renewed to continue coaching Team Melli. He continued to coach Team Melli in 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification where he won 3 matches out of 4 and lost the other one to Jordan Away, in which the team earned 13 points and qualified as the group leaders. But he had some results in the friendlies (such as winning against Bosnia-Herzegovina and China and South Korea in their land), which surprisingly caused a lot of criticism and even some people in IRIFF decided to replace him as Iranian coach and journalists could not accept an American-Iranian success over Team-melli. However, after a few days his job was secured and the Iranian Federation decided to keep him at least up to 2011 Asian Cup. He had poor results in the friendlies at the beginning and then was able to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and slowly improved the results. In 2010 his team was able to win 8 matches in a row and gain trust. Later on he finished second in West Asian Football Federation Championship 2010. His team won all three matches in the group stage of 2011 Asian Cup, but got knocked out after the extra time goal against Korea Republic and this finished his era.


As of 18 November 2014
Name Nat From To P W D L Win% Honours
Hossein Sadaghiani Iran 15 January 1941 5 March 1951 5 2 0 3 40.00
Mostafa Salimi Iran 5 March 1951 2 April 1952 5 2 2 1 40.00 Silver Medal at 1951 Asian Games
József Mészáros Hungary 5 December 1957 18 December 1959 6 3 1 2 50.00
Hossein Fekri Iran 1 June 1961 16 March 1966 7 2 3 2 28.57 Qualification to 1964 Summer Olympics
György Szűcs Hungary 10 September 1966 24 November 1967 7 4 0 3 57.14 Silver Medal at 1966 Asian Games
Hossein Fekri Iran 24 November 1967 26 November 1967 2 1 0 1 50.00
Mahmoud Bayati Iran 26 November 1967 7 March 1969 4 4 0 0 100.000 Winner of 1968 Asian Cup
Zdravko Rajkov Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 7 March 1969 17 September 1970 5 4 0 1 80.00
Igor Netto Soviet Union 4 November 1970 10 September 1971 3 0 1 2 00.00
Parviz Dehdari Iran 10 September 1971 7 May 1972 2 1 0 1 50.00 Winner of 1971 Cyrus International Tournament
Mohammad Ranjbar Iran 7 May 1972 25 June 1972 9 5 1 3 55.56 Winner of 1972 Asian Cup
Mahmoud Bayati Iran 26 June 1972 17 January 1974 9 5 2 2 55.56
Danny McLennan Scotland 17 January 1974 3 September 1974 2 1 0 1 50.00
Frank O'Farrell Republic of Ireland 3 September 1974 10 August 1975 9 7 0 2 77.78 Gold Medal at 1974 Asian Games
Winner of 1974 Iran International Tournament
Qualification to 1976 Summer Olympics
Heshmat Mohajerani Iran 10 August 1975 6 September 1978 28 15 7 6 53.57 Winner of 1976 Asian Cup
Quarter Finals of 1976 Summer Olympics
Qualification to 1978 WC
Hassan Habibi Iran 12 March 1979 25 February 1982 12 9 2 1 75.00 Qualification to 1980 Summer Olympics
Third place at 1980 Asian Cup
Jalal Cheraghpour* Iran 1 March 1982 25 November 1982 4 2 0 2 50.00
Mahmoud Yavari Iran 7 August 1984 1 December 1984 6 6 0 0 100.000
Nasser Ebrahimi* Iran 1 December 1984 16 February 1985 8 2 4 2 25.00 Fourth place at 1984 Asian Cup
Fereydoun Asgarzadeh# Iran 11 February 1986 21 February 1986 2 2 0 0 100.000 Winner at 1986 Fajr International Tournament
Parviz Dehdari Iran March 1986 22 January 1989 20 10 6 4 50.00 Third place at 1988 Asian Cup
Reza Vatankhah Iran 22 January 1989 17 March 1989 3 3 0 0 100.000
Mehdi Monajati Iran 30 May 1989 22 July 1989 3 2 0 1 66.67
Ali Parvin Iran 1 November 1989 28 October 1993 34 15 11 8 44.12 Gold Medal at 1990 Asian Games
Winner of ECO Cup 1993
Stanko Poklepović Croatia 3 October 1994 26 April 1996 4 1 2 1 25.00
Mohammad Mayeli Kohan Iran 26 April 1996 7 November 1997 38 23 9 6 60.53 Third place at 1996 Asian Cup
Valdeir Vieira Brazil 16 November 1997 28 November 1997 3 0 2 1 00.00 Qualification to 1998 WC
Tomislav Ivić Croatia 28 November 1997 22 April 1998 5 1 2 2 20.00
Jalal Talebi Iran 3 June 1998 13 October 1998 4 1 0 3 25.00
Mansour Pourheidari Iran 3 June 1998 13 October 1998 17 9 5 3 52.94 Gold Medal at 1998 Asian Games
Jalal Talebi Iran 22 March 2000 1 January 2001 4 1 0 3 25.00 Quarterfinals at 2000 Asian Cup
Winner of 2000 WAFF
Ademar Braga Brazil 1 January 2001 19 January 2001 3 3 0 0 100.000
Miroslav Blažević Croatia 24 April 2001 6 February 2002 19 10 4 5 52.63
Branko Ivanković Croatia 6 February 2002 4 February 2003 10 4 4 2 40.00 Gold Medal at 2002 Asian Games
Homayoun Shahrokhi* Iran 4 February 2003 26 September 2003 5 1 1 3 20.00
Branko Ivanković Croatia 26 September 2003 21 June 2006 42 29 6 7 69.05 Winner of 2004 WAFF
Third place at 2004 Asian Cup
Qualification to 2006 WC
Amir Ghalenoei Iran 8 August 2006 22 December 2007 17 10 6 1 58.82 Quarterfinals at 2007 Asian Cup
Parviz Mazloomi# Iran 16 June 2007 24 June 2007 4 3 1 0 75.00 Winner of 2007 WAFF
Mansour Ebrahimzadeh* Iran 10 January 2008 20 March 2008 3 0 3 0 00.00
Ali Daei Iran 20 March 2008 28 March 2009 24 15 6 3 62.50 Winner of 2008 WAFF
Erich Rutemöller* Germany 28 March 2009 22 April 2009 1 0 1 0 00.00
Afshin Ghotbi Iran 22 April 2009 22 January 2011 30 16 6 8 53.33 Quarterfinals at 2011 Asian Cup
Ali Reza Mansourian* Iran 22 January 2011 4 April 2011 1 1 0 0 100.000
Carlos Queiroz Portugal 4 April 2011 Present 42 21 14 7 50.00 Qualification to 2014 WC
* Served as caretaker manager.
:# Coached Iran B team.