Foolad F.C.

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Foolad
فولاد
FooladKFC.svg
Full name Foolad Khuzestan Football Club
Nickname(s) Foolad Mardan (Men of Steel)
Founded 2 March 1971; 46 years ago (1971-03-02)
Ground Ghadir Stadium
Ground Capacity 38,900
Owner Foolad Khuzestan Company
Chairman Alireza Ajdarizadeh
Head Coach Naeim Saadavi
League Persian Gulf Pro League
2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League, 12th
Website Club home page
Current season

Foolad Khuzestan Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال فولاد خوزستان‎‎) is an Iranian football club, based in Ahvaz, Khuzestan that plays in Persian Gulf Pro League. Foolad F.C. was founded in 1971 and is owned by Foolad Khuzestan Company. It was named Foolad partially because it is funded by the industry in Khuzestan.

The club have won Iran Pro League twice, including a championship in the lower division, Azadegan League. In the 2004–05 season, Foolad became the champion of the fourth newly founded Iran Pro League (IPL), gaining a total of 64 points over 30 league matches that is the highest point for a leader since 2001. After several successful seasons and what at one point seemed to be the emergence of a new pole in Iranian football, Foolad lost many of its key players through transfers and internal problems and also displayed a poor performance in the 2006 AFC Champions League. The club was subsequently relegated to the Azadegan League, second highest division in Iran at the end of the 2006–07. Fortunately however, Foolad was able to return to the IPL starting from the next season, 2008–09 Iran Pro League and has been turning out relatively well in the current standings. Foolad won its second championship in 2013–14 season.

Foolad's home kit is red and yellow shirts, with the same color for shorts, accompanied by red socks. The colors used in clothing, is derived from the symbol of the club. Uhlsport are the kit manufacturers, the main sponsor is the club's ownership company. The club is the fifth most supported in Iran, after Persepolis, Esteghlal, Tractor Sazi and Sepahan.[1]

Club history[edit]

Establishment and first years (1971–1995)[edit]

Ali Akbar Davar, founder and the first president of Foolad Khuzestan Company

Foolad Khuzestan Football Club was founded on 2 March 1971 in Ahvaz, Iran by at that time, President of the Foolad Khuzestan Company Ali Akbar Davar. Foolad was a team that no one knew anything about until the dissolution of Jonoub Ahvaz in 1996. Foolad won the Ahvaz City Championship in 1991, and entered the 2nd division of the Khuzestan football league two years later.

Foolad won the first group in its debut season and was promoted to the Ahvaz's first league which they won in their debut season as well. This meant they would be promoted to the Khuzestan Provincial Leagues.

Road to the Highest Division (1995–2001)[edit]

In 1995, which was Foolad's second year in the Khuzestan's Second Division, they became provincial champions. That same year Jonoub Ahvaz, was contracted and Foolad took their place in Iran Football's 2nd Division. In 1996, with Homayoun Shahrokhinejad as manager, the team was promoted to the 1st division. It was an amazing run, considering that the team began in the 4th division of the Ahvaz City League in 1986.

Frančić era (2004–2006)[edit]

Ever since their promotion, the club has introduced very talented young footballers to Iranian football. The team was eventually bought by the Ahvaz Steel Mill, this helped the team's financial situation improve. The team was finally able to use its massive potential and win the IPL in the 2004–05 season but due to some ensuing internal problems and coaching difficulties could not perform well in the 2006 Asian Champions League. Their star player, Iman Mobali was loaned and eventually transferred to Al-Shabab of the UAE Pro League.

ACL and relegation (2006–2007)[edit]

After a mediocre 2005–06, Foolad started the 2006–07 season with former Iranian national team coach Mohammad Mayeli Kohan, but he resigned half way through the season as Foolad had achieved poor results. Youth club coach Nenad Nikolić temporarily replaced him and soon after Portuguese manager Augusto Inácio was named head coach. Foolad went through a terrible 2006–07 season finishing 15th and being relegated to the lower Azadegan League.

Return to First Division and Jalali years (2007–2012)[edit]

Foolad start the 2007–08 season at Azadegan League and won the playoff spot despite their strong leadership until the last weeks. In the playoff, they drew with Payam Mashhad in a two-leg matches and missed the promotion via away goal. A few weeks later they bought the right to play in Persian Gulf Cup from Sepahan Novin and promoted to IPL. Then Majid Jalali was announced as the club's head coach with signing a three years contract where they had an average season with ending the season in the 7th place.

On September 1, 2009, Seifollah Dehkordi was elected as the club's president after previous president Masoud Rezaeian resigned from his position. At that time, Dehkordi was Foolad's vice president and Ahvaz's Football Association president. After the election of Dehkordi, Majid Jalali left the club despite good results. Luka Bonačić was named as Jalali's successor but he could not please the club as he was not able to win a single match in first eight weeks and the club decided to bring Majid Jalali back where they finished the league 10th. At the Jalali's final year as Foolad manager, the club ended the season at the 14th place, the worst since their promotion back to the league.

League success under Faraki (2012–2014)[edit]

Foolad players celebrating winning their second IPL title in 2014

After Jalali's contract was not renewed, Naft Tehran manager Hossein Faraki was named as the club's new head coach. He led Foolad to the 4th rank in his first season as the club's manager, gaining a AFC Champions League spot for the second time in the Foolad's history. In the 2013–14 Iran Pro League season, Faraki led the club to their second Iran Pro League title, his team finished with 57 points after defeating Gostaresh on the final match day with a goal from Mehrdad Jamaati in the 37th minute. They finished 2 points clear of second place Persepolis. Five days later, Foolad advanced to the Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League for the first time after they defeated El-Jaish of Qatar. Although Foolad lost to Al Sadd on away goals, they remained the only team in the competition not to lose a game.

On 23 May 2014, Faraki resigned as the manager of the club, due to knee problems, despite two good seasons with Foolad. Dragan Skočić was named as his successor on the following day.

Reserve Team[edit]

Main article: Foolad Novin F.C.

Foolad Novin is the reserve side of Foolad, it is one of the best reserve teams in the country. In 2014 they were promoted to the Azadegan League for the second time in their history. Foolad Yazd is not Foolad's reserve team, but is a feeder club, they also compete in the Azadegan League.

Youth academy[edit]

Main article: Foolad Youth Academy

In April 1999, Foolad formed a youth academy and today over 400 players play in Foolad's youth system. Players such as Iman Mobali, Arash Afshin, Bakhtiar Rahmani, and Kaveh Rezaei are products of the youth system. Along with Sepahan, they have one of the best youth systems in Iran.

Kit[edit]

Three Foolad players (Arash Afshin, Bakhtiar Rahmani and Chimba) wear the shirts for 2012–13 season

The name and symbol of the club adapted from its founder and owner company, Foolad. Its symbol means that is related to steel production process. The club's logo repeatedly changed but the overall layout is preserved. The overall look of the upper half, the logo is now fully visible in the lower part of the nature of the sports clubs mentioned. The only major change that has been applied during the club's icon, name engraved on it at first and now Foolad FC is FC Foolad. After Foolad's league title in 2006, club added a golden star above the team logo etched into the club's shirt, but this was not accepted by the Football Federation of Iran. So there is not any star on the club's official logo.

Foolad began playing in red, yellow and black, but then changed the yellow to white since 1999. The kit has been made by Nike until 2002. Then Merooj and Daei Sport were the club's kit manufacturers. Uhlsport is the current kit manufacturers, made the kits from past four years. The club currently doesn't have any official sponsor as the club's company name is inserted on the shirts.

Years Manufacturers Sponsors
1985–02 None None
2002–06 Daei
2006–07 Tefal*
2007–08 None
2008–09 Merooj
2009–11 Daei
2011– Uhlsport
  •  – Tefal was the sponsor of the team in only some matches not full season.

Rivals[edit]

The team competes in Ahvaz derby against Esteghlal Khuzestan which is a new born club. The teams play against each other usually two times a year. The first time the teams met each other was in season 2013–14 which Esteghlal Khuzestan lost that game.

The derby became more Serious after Esteghlal Khuzestan finished on top of the league in half season in a big surprise for all teams and the week performance of Foolad. Because of Foolad fans as they were worried about becoming the second team of Ahvaz and since then the derby is more important than it used to be.

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

Foolad players before match against Esteghlal, 22 April 2016

As of August 20, 2016[2]
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 Mehrdad Tahmasbi
2 Iran DF Mojtaba Najjarian
3 Iran FW Sasan Ansari
4 Iran DF Ayoub Vali
5 Iran DF Mohammad Ahle Shakheh
6 Iran DF Abdollah Karami
7 Iran MF Bakhtiar Rahmani (Captain)
8 Iran MF Hamid Bou Hamdan
9 Iran MF Meysam Doraghi
10 Iran FW Esmaeil Sharifat
14 Cameroon FW Ernest Webnje Nfor
15 Cameroon MF Mathias Chago
16 Iran DF Aref Aghasi U21
17 Iran MF Milad Pakparvar U23
18 Iran MF Sina Moridi U21
No. Position Player
20 Iran MF Ahmad Abdollahzadeh
21 Iran FW Bahram Rashidi Farrokhi
22 Iran GK Ehsan Moradian U23
26 Iran FW Bahman Jahantigh U23
27 Iran DF Reza Ahmadi
29 Iran MF Ali Sina Rabbani
31 Iran GK Farzad Tayebipour U21
32 Iran MF Hadi Habibinejad U21
40 Iran DF Yousef Vakia U23
77 Iran DF Abdollah Nasseri
88 Iran MF Mahmoud Motlaghzadeh U23
99 Iran GK Vahid Talebloo

Loan list[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 DF Soroush Saeidi (at Fajr Sepasi until 30 June 2017)
Iran DF Reza Moradi (at Fajr Sepasi until 30 June 2017)
Iran MF Shahab Karami (at Malavan until 30 June 2017)
No. Position Player
Iran MF Meysam Shah Makavandzadeh (at Moghavemat Tehran until 30 June 2017)
Iran MF Mostafa Mahi (at Fajr Sepasi until 30 June 2017)

For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers summer 2016.

Retired number(s)[edit]

12 – Club Supporters (the 12th Man) [3]

Notable players[edit]

Players on international cups[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Current technical staff[edit]

Naeim Saadavi, current head coach of the club
Name Position
Head coach Iran Naeim Saadavi
First team coach Iran Gholamreza Baghabadi
Assistant coach Iran Mousa Savari
Assistant coach Iran Aziz Farisat
Goalkeeping coach Iran Jahanbakhsh Darabpour
Fitness coach TBD
Team doctor Iran Akbar Moradi
B team manager Croatia Nenad Nikolić
Team manager Iran Hossein Ebneghasem

Management[edit]

Position Staff
President Alireza Ajdarizadeh
Honorary President Masoud Rezaeian
1st Vice-president Mohammad Ali Farhadzadeh
2nd Vice-president Ali Salimi
Secretary of the Board Mohammad Ali Khazari
Director of the Social Area Mohammad Rezaei

Recent seasons[edit]

The table below chronicles the achievements of Foolad in various competitions since 1997.

Year Division Position Hazfi Cup ACL Notes
1997–98 Azadegan League 10th Not held Did not qualify
1998–99 Azadegan League 7th
1999–00 Azadegan League 10th
2000–01 Azadegan League 8th 1/8 Final
2001–02 Pro League 3rd Quarter-final
2002–03 Pro League 7th
2003–04 Pro League 3rd 1/8 Final
2004–05 Pro League 1st
2005–06 Pro League 8th 1/16 Final First round
2006–07 Persian Gulf Cup 15th 1/8 Final Did not qualify Relegated
2007–08 Azadegan League 1st Semi-final Promoted
2008–09 Persian Gulf Cup 7th Quarter-final
2009–10 Persian Gulf Cup 10th 1/16 Final
2010–11 Persian Gulf Cup 6th Semi-final
2011–12 Persian Gulf Cup 14th Quarter-final
2012–13 Persian Gulf Cup 4th 1/16 Final
2013–14 Persian Gulf Cup 1st Semi-final Round of 16
2014–15 Persian Gulf Pro League 5th Round of 32 Group Stage
2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League 12th Round of 16 Did not qualify

Stadium information[edit]

Main article: Ghadir Stadium

The club plays their home games at the 38,900 seat Ghadir Stadium in northern Ahvaz since 2012. Before this, the club played originally at the Takhti Stadium until 2012. The club plans to move in 2017 to the under-construction New Foolad Stadium which will have 27,501 seat capacity. The stadium is supposedly the most modern stadium in Iran.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Regional[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "خبرگزاری مشرق". mashreghnews.ir. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  2. ^ "فولاد خوزستان". Ffiri.ir. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  3. ^ "باشگاه فرهنگی ورزشی فولاد خوزستان". Fooladfc.ir. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 

External links[edit]