What happened next: Hossein Kaebi – YouTube star, Leicester City nightmare and a political protest

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Leicestershire Live – LEICESTERSHIRE, A look back at the Foxes career of Kaebi and what happened after he left the East Midlands.

After a 19th-placed finish in the Championship during the 2006-07 season – and two managers to boot – MK Dons boss Martin Allen was appointed Leicester City manager in May 2007.

While the refusal to sign Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink caused controversy, Allen did bring in 12 permanent additions he hoped could propel the Foxes up the table.

One of those was Iran international Hossein Kaebi.

City fought off competition from several Premier League clubs to sign the 21-year-old right-back from Iranian club Persepolis.

He penned a two-year deal…

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN HE SIGNED

Lauded on his arrival for YouTube footage of him with a crunching, but well-timed, tackle on Portugal’s Luis Figo at the 2006 World Cup, Allen could not hide his delight at getting the deal done.

Following the arrivals of Sergio Hellings, Bruno N’Gotty, Ricky Sappleton, Carl Cort, Radostin Kishishev, Jimmy Nielsen, James Chambers and Jon Hayes, Kaebi was next through the door.


“This is a very important signing,” said Allen. “He is someone the chairman made me aware of soon after I arrived.

“From where I had been before, I did not have too much knowledge about him. However, after watching videos and hearing recommendations, it was quite obvious he is a very good player.

“We thought the deal might have gone dead. There was Premiership interest, but I had an agreement with him just before I went away that he would come.

“For the last couple of days it was a case of getting him quietly into the country and up here without anyone else hijacking the deal, and stopping him getting to any of the Premiership clubs who probably thought he was still back in Iran.

“The chairman has pulled off a wonderful move, and a bit of espionage, to get him here. It is a relief that we have got him.”

WHAT KAEBI SAID WHEN HE ARRIVED

The defender turned down offers from elsewhere to sign a deal with the Foxes, and was looking forward to immersing himself in the English culture.

“I am determined to do well at Leicester and one of the important things for me to do when I join the club is to learn to speak English,” said Kaebi, through an interpreter in Farsi.

“I am getting an English teacher and the manager will also give me a helping hand. Hopefully, I will be able to speak it well enough after three months.”

He added: “I had other offers from clubs in Portugal and Germany, but I felt that the deal offered to me at Leicester had the best terms.

“I have played with a lot of good teams, but this will be a big challenge to play in England and I have a lot of motivation to do well.

“Life in Europe is tough. I don’t like living in exile and I always like to be in Iran, and that was mainly the reason I chose UAE.

“But now I have decided to move to Europe and I am here until I become successful.”

HIS TIME AT THE WALKERS STADIUM

A sought-after up-and-comer … but this is where it all went downhill for Kaebi.

The right-back was left out of the squad for the opening two Championship games against Blackpool and at Crystal Palace.

A bedding-in process, perhaps, but the Iran international made his debut in the next outing at home to Watford and it was a debut to remember.

Despite only playing the last 11 minutes, Kaebi made his Leicester bow when they led the Hornets 3-0, and then teed up Mark de Vries to fire in number four and secure a 4-1 victory – Allen’s first since taking charge.

But it would be another four months until Kaebi next made a senior appearance for the Foxes.

Within that time, Allen had left his position by mutual consent after growing tensions with Milan Mandaric, and Gary Megson had been appointed.

Kaebi saw no action under Megson, who left after just nine League matches in charge to join Bolton Wanderers.

Ian Holloway was named successor on November 22.

“My agent is set to come to England to talk to Leicester officials,” Kaebi told Iran media about his lack of game time. “If my time on the bench continues then I will consider leaving City.

“Although I say it again, leaving Leicester City is the last option, and I hope to find my spot in the starting 11.

“Also considering Holloway was previously QPR coach, a team that the Iran national team played a friendly against, he may know me better.”

It seemed those words rang true as Kaebi made back-to-back starts in December against Ipswich Town and Hull City.

He played the full 90 in the 3-1 defeat at Ipswich and was hooked at half-time of the 2-0 loss at Hull. That would be the last time City fans saw Kaebi.

Eight days after that Hull defeat, he was placed on the transfer list by Holloway, and when Kaebi couldn’t secure a move away in the January window, he was released by mutual consent in February 2008.

Seven months and three appearances after joining – the sought-after Kaebi was no longer a Fox.

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN HE LEFT

Holloway had expressed a frustration with Kaebi’s poor English, and he was one of seven players to be released be the club after being told he was surplus to requirements.

“I feel for them,” Holloway said at the time.

“They need to get on with their lives. They did not have a future here and I wish them the best of luck.

“I have sent them away from now until the transfer window opens so that they can try to get themselves fixed up with moves or trials at other clubs.”

LIFE AFTER LEICESTER

It’s fair to say Kaebi never really settled at another club, as he didn’t in the East Midlands, after leaving the Foxes.

He returned to Iran, winning the country’s top flight with Persepolis, before spells at Saipa, Steel Azin, Rah Ahan, Sanat Naft, Esteghlal Khuzestan and Sepidrood.

However, it wasn’t matters on the pitch that caught the attention of the media back in England – as the former City defender was involved in a political protest…

POLITICAL PROTEST

And here we go with it.

In June 2009, Kaebi was part of the Iran side that travelled to Seoul to take on South Korea in a World Cup qualifier.

Kaebi was one of four players who wore green wristbands during the game. Not so much in that, you would think, given Iran’s shirt is white and green.

However, the wristband colour was that of defeated opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, which was used by those who believed a political election earlier that month had been stolen.

According to pro-government newspaper Iran, Kaebi, along with Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Vahid Hashemian were “retired” from the sport due to the gesture.

Kaebi went on to have a further eight caps for his country.

HOW HE’S DOING NOW

A 16-year playing career came to an end at the back end of last year.

Kaebi announced his retirement in December 2018 and the 33-year-old took up a coaching role at Iran Pro League side Sepidrood.

He retired with 84 international caps during an eight-year spell – but just three appearances during that forgettable stint in the East Midlands.


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