List of Iran national football team managers
The role of an Iran national football team manager was first established in January 1941 with the appointment of Hossein Sadaghiani. 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. Hungarian coach József Mészáros became the first foreign manager of the team in 1959.
- 1 Position
- 2 History
- 3 Statistics
- 4 References
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). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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
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 was the head coach of the Iranian national team during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. 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, but returned to lead the team again during 2000 Asian Cup in Lebanon. He resigned after Iran's elimination in the tournament.
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. 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.
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. He remained the coach of the national team until the end of 2002, when he was replaced by Homayun Shahrokhi.
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.
Ivankovic led Iran to 2004 AFC Asian Cup third place. They lost only to the hosts, China, in penalties in a very controversial match in which the Chinese luckily avoided multiple red cards.
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. This in turn resulted a FIFA suspension for Iran's football due to political interference.
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.
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", 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.
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. This resulted in the IRIFF forcing Mayeli Kohan's resignation as manager of Team Melli. A week later, Afshin Ghotbi agreed to succeed Mayeli Kohan as head coach of the Iranian national team. 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."  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.
On 4 April 2011, Carlos Queiroz agreed to a two-and-a-half-year deal to coach the Iran national football team until the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil alongside goalkeeping coach Dan Gaspar and assistant coach Omid Namazi. Iran, under Queiroz, began their World Cup qualification campaign successfully, defeating the Maldives 4–0 in the first leg of their second round of qualifiers. After winning 5–0 on aggregate, Iran advanced to the third round of qualifiers, where they were drawn with Indonesia, Qatar and Bahrain. Iran highlighted their position at the top of their group by defeating Bahrain 6–0 at home in the Azadi Stadium, as well as inviting former German youth international, Ashkan Dejagah, who scored twice on his debut against Qatar. After a 4–1 win at Indonesia, Iran qualified for the final round of direct qualifiers, the fourth round. In the fourth round, Iran was drawn with South Korea, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Lebanon in their group. Queiroz made new foreign-based additions to his squad, adding players such as Reza Ghoochannejhad to his team. Iran started their fourth round of Asian qualifiers with a 1–0 win in Uzbekistan. Team Melli then drew Qatar and lost in Lebanon before defeating South Korea at the Azadi on 16 October with a goal from captain Javad Nekounam. After a 1–0 loss in Tehran against Uzbekistan, Iran defeated Qatar 1–0 in Doha and Lebanon 4–0 at home. In their last qualification match, Iran defeated South Korea 1–0 in Ulsan Munsu with a goal from European-based Ghoochannejhad, resulting in their qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners with 16 points. Thus, Iran became the third team that Queiroz has managed to qualify for the World Cup, having reached the 2002 edition with South Africa and the 2010 edition with Portugal, leading the latter to a knockout stage finish. Iran continued their winning streak, securing qualification to the 2015 Asian Cup months later as the highest ranked seed.
Since Queiroz's role as manager of the Iranian national team, he has been renowned for introducing players from the Iranian diaspora to the national squad. These players include German-Iranians Daniel Davari and Ashkan Dejagah, Dutch-Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad, Swedish-Iranian Omid Nazari, and Iranian-American Steven Beitashour among others.
Iran qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners and competed in Group F alongside Argentina, Nigeria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 1 June 2014, Queiroz announced his 23-man squad. Prior to the tournament, they founded the Central Asian Football Association. In the opening match of the tournament on 16 June, Iran drew Nigeria 0–0, making it their first clean sheet of the FIFA World Cup. In their next match, Iran was defeated by Argentina 1–0 with a late goal from Lionel Messi, and received praise after holding Argentina for 90 minutes while creating some attacking opportunities of their own. Iran was eliminated from the tournament in their next game, a 3–1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Iran's lone goal was scored by Reza Ghoochannejhad. After the tournament, Queiroz extended his contract until the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Iran qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as group winners, where they were the highest ranked seed. Iran faced Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE in Group C. With the second highest number of fans in the tournament after hosts Australia, the Iranians defeated Bahrain 2–0 with limited preparations. A defensive minded Iran then defeated Qatar 1–0 thanks to a Sardar Azmoun goal before defeating the UAE by the same scoreline to reach the top of their group. In the quarter-finals Iran faced rivals Iraq, who they had beaten weeks prior in a friendly match. Having received a controversial red card in the first half from referee Ben Williams, Iran led a valiant effort with ten men, scoring two goals late in extra time to draw the match 3–3. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Iran lost 7–6 in sudden death.
Iran began their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign with friendly matches against Chile and Sweden in March 2015. Queiroz resigned from his managerial post thereafter due to disagreements with the Iranian Football Federation. On 14 April 2015, Iran were drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and Guam in the second round of qualifiers. On 26 April, Queiroz announced that he will continue as the manager of Iran for their 2018 World Cup campaign.
- As of 16 June 2015
|Hossein Sadaghiani||15 January 1941||5 March 1951||3||1||1||1||33.33|
|Mostafa Salimi||5 March 1951||2 April 1952||5||2||2||1||40.00||Silver Medal at 1951 Asian Games|
|József Mészáros||5 December 1957||18 December 1959||6||3||1||2||50.00|
|Hossein Fekri||1 June 1961||16 March 1966||8||1||4||3||12.50||Qualification to 1964 Summer Olympics|
|György Szűcs||10 September 1966||24 November 1967||7||4||0||3||57.14||Silver Medal at 1966 Asian Games|
|Hossein Fekri||24 November 1967||26 November 1967||2||1||0||1||50.00|
|Mahmoud Bayati||26 November 1967||7 March 1969||4||4||0||0||100.00||Winner of 1968 Asian Cup|
|Zdravko Rajkov||7 March 1969||17 September 1970||5||4||0||1||80.00|
|Igor Netto||4 November 1970||10 September 1971||3||0||1||2||0.00|
|Parviz Dehdari||10 September 1971||7 May 1972||2||1||0||1||50.00||Winner of 1971 Cyrus International Tournament|
|Mohammad Ranjbar||7 May 1972||25 June 1972||9||5||1||3||55.56||Winner of 1972 Asian Cup|
|Mahmoud Bayati||26 June 1972||17 January 1974||9||5||2||2||55.56|
|Danny McLennan||17 January 1974||3 September 1974||2||1||0||1||50.00|
|Frank O'Farrell||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||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||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*||1 March 1982||25 November 1982||4||2||0||2||50.00|
|Mahmoud Yavari||7 August 1984||1 December 1984||6||6||0||0||100.00|
|Nasser Ebrahimi*||1 December 1984||16 February 1985||8||2||4||2||25.00||Fourth place at 1984 Asian Cup|
|Fereydoun Asgarzadeh#||11 February 1986||21 February 1986||2||2||0||0||100.00||Winner at 1986 Fajr International Tournament|
|Parviz Dehdari||March 1986||22 January 1989||20||10||6||4||50.00||Third place at 1988 Asian Cup|
|Reza Vatankhah||22 January 1989||17 March 1989||3||3||0||0||100.00|
|Mehdi Monajati||30 May 1989||22 July 1989||3||2||0||1||66.67|
|Ali Parvin||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||3 October 1994||26 April 1996||4||1||2||1||25.00|
|Mohammad Mayeli Kohan||26 April 1996||7 November 1997||38||23||9||6||60.53||Third place at 1996 Asian Cup|
|Valdeir Vieira||16 November 1997||28 November 1997||3||0||2||1||0.00||Qualification to 1998 WC|
|Tomislav Ivić||28 November 1997||22 April 1998||5||1||2||2||20.00|
|Jalal Talebi||3 June 1998||13 October 1998||4||1||0||3||25.00|
|Mansour Pourheidari||3 June 1998||13 October 1998||17||9||5||3||52.94||Gold Medal at 1998 Asian Games|
|Jalal Talebi||22 March 2000||1 January 2001||4||1||0||3||25.00||Quarterfinals at 2000 Asian Cup
Winner of 2000 WAFF
|Ademar Braga||1 January 2001||19 January 2001||3||3||0||0||100.00|
|Miroslav Blažević||24 April 2001||6 February 2002||19||10||4||5||52.63|
|Branko Ivanković||6 February 2002||4 February 2003||10||4||4||2||40.00||Gold Medal at 2002 Asian Games|
|Homayoun Shahrokhi*||4 February 2003||26 September 2003||5||1||1||3||20.00|
|Branko Ivanković||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||8 August 2006||22 December 2007||17||10||6||1||58.82||Quarterfinals at 2007 Asian Cup|
|Parviz Mazloomi#||16 June 2007||24 June 2007||4||3||1||0||75.00||Winner of 2007 WAFF|
|Mansour Ebrahimzadeh*||10 January 2008||20 March 2008||3||0||3||0||0.00|
|Ali Daei||20 March 2008||28 March 2009||24||15||6||3||62.50||Winner of 2008 WAFF|
|Erich Rutemöller*||28 March 2009||22 April 2009||1||0||1||0||0.00|
|Afshin Ghotbi||22 April 2009||22 January 2011||30||16||6||8||53.33||Quarterfinals at 2011 Asian Cup|
|Ali Reza Mansourian*||22 January 2011||4 April 2011||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Carlos Queiroz||4 April 2011||51||27||16||8||52.94||Qualification to 2014 WC
Quarterfinals at 2015 Asian Cup
- Hossein Sadeghiani, First Iran national team head coach
- Heshmat Mohajerani
- Omid Namazi joined to the Queiroz staff
- Ranjbar, Mohammad
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- 'Central Zone' gets thumbs up from Tajikistan
- Iran 0-0 Nigeria: Super Eagles play out World Cup's first goalless draw
- Argentina 1–0 Iran
- Reza makes Charlton history at World Cup
- Queiroz ends contract saga by signing Iran deal
- "Hosts Australia top seeds for 2015 Asian Cup". Reuters. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- Iranian crowd sets Asian Cup standard
- Queiroz: Iran victimised by Fifa sanctions
- #teammelli: Social media helps Iranian fans defy censorship of images from Asian Cup matches in Australia
- Iran 1-0 UAE: Ghoochannejhad strikes late as Queiroz's men win Group C
- Iraq beat Iran on penalties to settle classic Asian Cup encounter
- Iranian women stand united in protest and hope at Asian Cup
- Former Socceroos blast referee Ben Williams for 'embarrasing' send-off in Iran's Asian Cup loss to Iraq
- Iran 2-0 Chile
- Ibra silences raucous Iran fans to give Sweden 3-1 win
- Regimkritiska budskap på Friends kan ge böter
- Queiroz quits as Iran coach
- Asian draw throws up derbies and drama
- U-turn as Carlos Queiroz stays as Iran coach