AFP: Spanish coach Javier Clemente is being courted a second time as Iran continue their search for a national team coach, according to press reports Thursday. MADRID (AFP) Spanish coach Javier Clemente is being courted a second time as Iran continue their search for a national team coach, according to press reports Thursday.
“Iran pulls out all the stops in its bid to lure Clemente,” claimed Marca sports daily.
Its rival paper AS echoed that line, adding that Clemente, who recently rejected an offer to coach the Asian heavyweights after a row over his insistence on living at home in Spain rather than in the Islamic republic, was now in fresh talks with the federation.
Federation chief Ali Kafashian said Sunday that with qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup already underway, pressure of time meant that employing a domestic coach was now the only answer.
“We will appoint an Iranian coach who has work experience and the outlined criteria,” Kafashian said.
Iran on Wednesday then denied having approached Italian coach Giuseppe Materazzi, who was quoted as saying a day earlier that he was asked by top Iranian football officials if he was available and that he had agreed.
“We had no talks with the Italian coach and it appears that he is saying it to make a name for himself,” retorted Mehdi Taj, the Iranian football federation’s spokesman, according to the Fars news agency.
Iran has conducted a months-long search for a new football coach in a saga that has seen a dozen top foreign names mooted, two trainers seemingly appointed before being rejected and a plethora of contradictory statements.
Iranian officials have said they will now appoint a home grown coach from around five candidates, including the Iranian-American coach of top Tehran side Persepolis, Afshin Qotbi.