Iran appoints Afshin Qotbi as new head coach
( dpa ) - The Iranian Football Federation (FFI) has appointed Iranian-American Afshin Qotbi as new head coach for Iran's national football team, state television reported Friday.
Deputy FFI president Mehdi Taj told state television that Qotbi, trainer of Persepolis Tehran, has prevailed over four other local contenders for the post.
The 45-year-old Qotbi will head the national team in the first round of the World Cup qualification games against Kuwait, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, Taj said.
In case of success, the 45-year-old would also take the team into the second round and eventually to the games in South Africa, Taj added.
Iran, which had been the only national side in Asia without a head coach since last July, started its World Cup qualification games with a disappointing goalless draw against Syria earlier this month. The second game will be against Kuwait next month.
Qotbi, 45, is an electrical engineering graduate from the United States, who however soon turned to his real passion which was football.
He has strong coaching credentials, including a spell at Korean side Samsung and was technical assistant to South Korea under Dutchman Guus Hiddink.
Football observers in Iran consider Qotbi as a much better option than second-hand foreign coaches.
The FFI had in the recent weeks tried to employ Portuguese Artur Jorge and Spanish Javier Clemente but both efforts failed, especially with Clemente who had even signed a contract but his main demand not to live in Iran permanently was eventually rejected by the Iranian side.