Sepahan F.C.

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Sepahan F.C.
باشگاه فوتبال فولاد مبارکه ی سپاهان اصفهان
Sepahan New Logo.svg
Full name Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan
Nickname(s) Yellow Lions
Asia's Yellow Storm
Champions
Founded October 1953; 61 years ago (1953-10)
Ground Fooladshahr Stadium, Isfahan
Ground Capacity 12,000
Owner Mobarakeh Steel Company
President Mehrzad Khalilian
Manager Hossein Faraki
League Iran Pro League
2013–14 Iran Pro League, 4th
Website Club home page
Current season

Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال فولاد مبارکه ی سپاهان اصفهان‎) commonly known as Sepahan is an Iranian football club based in Isfahan, Iran.[1] They compete in Iran's top-level league known as Persian Gulf Pro League and hold most of the records in the IPL under their belt.[citation needed] In 2002–03 season, they became the first non-Tehran based team to win the Iranian League title. Sepahan is the current champion of IPL in 2011–12 season, reaching the record of four championships in the eleven-year IPL history. They are also the first and the only Iranian football club who won three consecutive titles in Iranian Football League history.

Sepahan have been the most successful football club in Iran since the establishment of Iran Pro League in 2001, with four IPL championships and four Hazfi Cup titles. They are also the first Iranian club who reached the AFC Champions League final in 2007 and qualified to play in the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup at the same year.

Sepahan Football Club is usually known for its successful and consistent management in Iranian football system. By winning multiple tiles since 2003, they have succeeded to end the complete dominance of two famous clubs, Persepolis and Esteghlal, in Iranian football system. The Club is the football division of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club and is owned by Mobarakeh Steel Co..

Club history[edit]

Pre Revolution[edit]

Shahin Isfahan Club

In 1953, with the help of Mahmoud Hariri, the Shahin Isfahan club was created. This club was one of teams attached to the more popular and successful Shahin F.C. of Tehran. In 1967 due to the problems that arose in the Shahin F.C. organization in Tehran, the Isfahan branch was forced to cease operations. The club changed its name to Sepahan. The club participated in Takht Jamshid Cup league since 1974 to 1978.

Post Revolution[edit]

After the Revolution, they played in the local Isfahan leagues for many years until 1993. That year the club was purchased by the Siman-e-Sepahan (Sepahan Cement) factory of Isfahan. It participated in the Azadegan League until the year 2000, when Foolad Mobarekeh (Steel Mill of Mobarekeh Isfahan) bought the team from the Siman factory. The team now plays under the name of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan, and enjoys very good support by the club board, and has been able to attain a respectable fan base in its hometown.

Success years[edit]

The club was able to demonstrate its worth when it captured the league title in the 2002–03 season of the IPL, and qualified for the AFC Champions League tournament with Farhad Kazemi. It also won the Hazfi Cup in 2004 and was able to qualify for another season of the ACL competition, though the club did not have much success in the continental tournaments of ACL 2004 and 2005.

Sepahan in match against Homa during 1975-76 season

With Luka Bonačić, Sepahan was able to once again win the Hazfi Cup on 22 September 2006. With this win, they gained Iran's final and second spot in the AFC Champions League 2007. They were impressive in continental stage as they finished top of their group and defeated Kawasaki Frontale of Japan and Al Wahda of the UAE to reach the final of the newly established continental tournament for the first time. Although they lost the final to Urawa Red Diamonds on aggregate, by reaching the final, Sepahan became the first Iranian club to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.

In the opening match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2007, Sepahan defeated Waitakere United of New Zealand to reach the quarter-final where they met Urawa Red Diamonds for a spot in the semifinal match against AC Milan. Urawa Reds managed to defeat Sepahan for the second time in just one month, reaching the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup.

By winning the Hazfi Cup once again in 2007, Sepahan also qualified for the AFC Champions League 2008, but could not repeat their success of 2007.

Sepahan has qualified for the AFC Champions League for the third consecutive time in 2009, coming as the Runners-up in Persian Gulf Cup 2007-08. Sepahan lost the title by only one point to Persepolis F.C., who beat them 2–1 in the last match of the season with a winner six minutes into second half injury time. They tried to improve the team where they sacked the Brazilian coach Viera and replaced him with the German coach Firat but they had a difficult season where they could not win anything in 2008–09 season and changed the coach for 3 times.

In the next season sepahan hired Turkish and former Iran's assistant coach Engin Firat, but he was fired after getting poor result in the league, and Hossein Charkhabi who was Sepahan Novin head coach at that time replaced Firat. Despite getting good result with team Charkahbi was replaced once again with Farhad Kazemi who won the league title with Sepahan in 2002–03 season. Finally Sepahan finished 4th in the league and qualified for 2010 AFC Champions League Group stage. In the next season club hired former's Iran & Esteghlal head coach Amir Ghalenoei, at the helm of Sepahan's 2010 Season, the club sealed a championship title two weeks before the end of the season with a 2–2 tie against F.C. Aboomoslem.[2]

In 2010–11 Persian Gulf Cup, Sepahan dominated the league after a slow start and practically won the title 2 weeks before the season end. They also advanced to the knock out stage of the ACL competition, after finishing on top of the table in the group stage. Their group was arguably the group of death, consisting of Al-Hilal, Al Gharafa and Al-Jazira. They won their third championship and became the most successful team in Iran Pro League.

Kranjčar Era[edit]

They also repeated their league title in 2011–12 season, this time with Croatian manager, Zlatko Kranjčar. Sepahan also made it to the quarter-finals of 2012 AFC Champions League after defeating the fellow Iranian club Esteghlal.

In 2013 however, Sepahan was placed in Group C of the 2013 AFC Champions League and was unable to get past 2013 AFC Champions League group stage. Being placed in the same group as Al-Gharafa Sports Club of Qatar, Al-Ahli SC of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates' Al Nasr SC, they were unsuccessful to qualify as one of the top two teams of their group. Sepahan started the 2013 AFC Champions League with a great win at home against Al Nasr SC, however heading for an away game against Al-Gharafa Sports Club in Qatar, Sepahan only returned home humiliated by the Qatari team in a 3–1 lost game. That was not the end of Sepahan's poor performance in the AFC Champions League. About three weeks after their loss in Qatar, Sepahan hosted Al-Ahli SC at Foolad Shahr Stadium, losing poorly once again but this time with a score of 4–2. Sepahan still had a chance after those two losses, but all hopes were lost once they lost in front of the Saudi giants again, this time with a score of 4–1 thus having them bid farewell to the 2013 AFC Champions League.

In the 2013–14 Iran Pro League season, Sepahan finished 4th. Thus missing out on the AFC Champions League for the first time in five years. At the end of the season, Croatian manager Zlatko Kranjčar announced that he would not be returning for the 2014-2015 season. Sepahan also struggled in the Champions League as well, failing to make it past the group stage with a 1–0 loss to Al Hilal on the final match day. After originally announcing he was leaving the club, Sepahan announced that they had extended the contract of Kranjčar for another season.

Sepahan started 2014–15 season with three wins in a row. However, Sepahan not won any match in their next four matches. Kranjčar resigned on 8 September 2014 and was replaced with former Foolad manager Hossein Faraki.

Reserve team[edit]

Shir-Sepahan.jpg

Sepahan is also one of the clubs in Iranian football to have a senior reserve team, Foolad Sepahan Novin F.C., that as of the 2007/08 season, participates in 3rd Division and the Hazfi Cup. The reserve team was promoted to the Iran Pro League from the Azadegan League, but was not allowed to participate due to Fifa's regulations about two teams from the same club playing in the same league.

Rivalries[edit]

Isfahan Derby[edit]

Main articles: Isfahan Derby

The Nagsh-e- Jahan derby is a football match played annually in of Isfahan, Iran, between the two rival professional teams of the city: Zob Ahan F.C. and Sepahan F.C.. Naqsh-e Jahan is an important square in old centrum of Isfahan.

According to Iranian football journalist Afshin Afshar, the competition is one of the most popular annual football events in Iran.[3] Isfahan derby goes back to the 1970s, when Zob Ahan F.C. and Sepahan F.C. faced each other in Takht Jamshid Cup seasons(1974/75, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1977/78). Their rivalry resumed in the 1990s when they faced each other in Azadegan League seasons (1993/94, 1996/97, 1997/98) and from then on the two met each other twice a year.

Other rivalries[edit]

Main articles: Esteghlal–Sepahan rivalry
Main articles: Persepolis–Sepahan rivalry

Esteghlal–Sepahan and Persepolis–Sepahan rivalries are the two important Iran Football Rivalries played between Sepahan and two Tehran based football clubs: Esteghlal and Persepolis.

Stadium[edit]

The Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Isfahan, Iran that is home ground of Sepahan. It is currently used for football matches. The stadium was built in 2003 and holds 45,000 in a three-tier configuration. It is currently used by Sepahan, an Iranian football team in Iran's Premier Football League.The first phase finished in 2003 and they have decided to finish the second phase which is the first floor of the stadium. It was started in 2007 and has been going on but meant to finish by 2008 and is still going on till summer 2014. The final capacity in of the stadium will be 75,000. Sepahan's second home ground is Foolad Shahr Stadium that is home ground of Zob Ahan F.C. too. Some of matches of Sepahan are held in that stadium.

Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium will be the second biggest stadium in Iran after the Azadi Stadium.

Panoramic view from the Foolad Shahr Stadium

Season-by-season[edit]

For details on seasons, see List of Sepahan F.C. seasons

Club honours[edit]

Winners (4): 2002–03, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
Runner Up (1): 2007–08
Winners (4): 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2012–13
Runner Up (1): 2007

Players[edit]

Updated 15 July 2014.[4][5]

First-team squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Iran GK Rahman Ahmadi
4 Iran MF Moharram Navidkia (captain)
5 Iran DF Hadi Aghili (vice-captain)
6 Iran MF Mohammad-Ali Ahmadi
7 Iran MF Hossein Papi
8 Iran MF Rasoul Navidkia
9 Iran MF Mohammad Reza Khalatbari
10 Iran DF Abdollah Karami
12 Iran MF Ali Karimi U23
14 Albania FW Xhevahir Sukaj
16 Iran FW Erfan Maftoolkar U23
No. Position Player
18 Iran DF Hossein Moradmand U23
20 Iran FW Mehdi Sharifi U23
21 Iran MF Vouria Ghafouri
23 Iran MF Amin Jahan Alian
28 Iran MF Ehsan Hajsafi
29 Brazil FW Luciano Pereira
33 Iran DF Saeed Ghaedifar U23
35 Iran GK Shahab Gordan
37 Iran FW Hossein Fazeli U23
99 Iran MF Amir Hossein Karimi U23

Reserves and Academy[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
17 Iran MF Milad Sarlak U21
19 Iran DF Ali Gholami U21
24 Iran DF Armin Sohrabian U21
25 Iran DF Mohsen Aghaei U21
No. Position Player
26 Iran GK Mehdi Sedghian U21
27 Iran GK Mehdi Amini U21
39 Iran DF Mohammad Roshandel U21
53 Iran FW Mehdi Alimoradi U21

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Iran FW Ali Choupani (at Padideh)
No. Position Player
Iran MF Yaghoub Karimi (at Esteghlal)

For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers winter 2014–15.

Former players[edit]

For details on former players, see Category:Sepahan players.

Managerial staff[edit]

Current managerial staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head coach Iran Hossein Faraki
Assistant coach Iran Mahmoud Karimi
Assistant coach Iran Majid Basirat
Assistant coach Iran Ghasem Zaghinejad
Goalkeepers coach Iran Ahmad Sajjadi
Fitness trainer Iran Ahmad Khodadad
Analyzer Iran Manouchehr Rezaei
Doctor Iran Mohammad Rashadi
Physiotherapist Iran Ali Khorami
Administrative manager Iran Reza Fatahi
Executive manager Iran Rasoul Khorvash

Head coaches[edit]

Below is a list of Sepahan coaches from 1953 until the present day.[6][7][8]

  • * = Caretaker manager

Club officials[edit]

Position Name
President Mehrzad Khalilian
Vice President Masoud Tabesh
Chairman of the Board Bahman Masoudi
Treasurer Ali Reza Shafiei
Trade and Marketing Manager Hamidreza Keshavarzian
Supreme Advisor Morteza Lachiani
Media and International Officer Hamed Asfa
Public Relation Hamid Bagheri
Academy manager Mohmammad Faramarzi
Media presenter Morteza Ramazani

Sponsorship[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Sponsor
2007–09 Uhlsport Mobarakeh Steel Company
2009–13 Lotto Sport Italia Mobarakeh Steel Company
2013– Uhlsport Mobarakeh Steel Company

List of Sepahan records[edit]

FIFA Club World Cup participation[edit]

FIFA Club World Cup History
Year Round Score Result Scorers
2007 Play-off Sepahan 3 – 1 New Zealand Waitakere United Win Emad Mohammed Goal 3'4'
Abdul-Wahab Goal 47'
2007 Quarterfinals Sepahan 1 – 3 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds Loss Karimi Goal 80'

Top scorers in Iran Pro League[edit]

Top scorers by season[edit]

Players on international cups[edit]

Cup Players
Argentina 1978 FIFA World Cup Iran Ali Shojaei
Iran Bahram Mavaddat
Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup Iran Moharram Navidkia
Iran Rasoul Khatibi
IndonesiaMalaysia 2007 AFC Asian Cup
ThailandVietnam
Iran Hadi Aghili
South Africa 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Iraq Abdul-Wahab Abu Al-Hail
Iraq Emad Mohammed Ridha
Qatar 2011 AFC Asian Cup Iran Ehsan Hajsafi
Iran Hadi Aghili
Iran Jalal Hosseini
Iran Khosro Heydari
Iran Mehdi Rahmati
Iran Mohsen Bengar
Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Iran Ehsan Hajsafi
Iran Rahman Ahmadi

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Fan club site[edit]