Iran’s New Coach is a Moustachioed Portugueezer
Strange things are afoot in Iranian football. Sepp Blatter recently threatened to tear up Iran’s FIFA membership for failing to properly separate the football federation from the government, a threat which disappeared when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad withdrew the conservative candidate he was promoting as the head of Iranian football. That crisis averted, the next step was a new coach for Team Meli, and yesterday we learned that Portugueezer Artur Jorge, of giant moustache fame was the man for the job. Jorge won three Portuguese titles and the European Champions Cup (the Champions League before it got bloated) with FC Porto in the late ’80s, but his record at international level is not so glamorous.
His two short spells in charge of Portugal saw the team fail to qualify for Euro ‘92 or World Cup ‘98, he coached Switzerland to the bottom of Group A at Euro ‘96 and recently failed to get Cameroon to World Cup 2006. Not particularly inspiring stuff. But now Jorge has talent like Mehdi Mahdavikia and Ali Karimi at his disposal, and one of Asia’s top teams. His immediate job will be to restore some confidence and then get Iran through the fairly easy first stage of World Cup 2010 qualifying, against Syria, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
UPDATE: Iran decided not to offer Jorge the job when it emerged supporters didn’t want him.
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