Branko Ivankovic linked with Team Melli [Report]

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Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Branko Ivankovic has been reportedly linked with a move to Iran national football team as a replacement for Marc Wilmots, who is in danger of losing his job after a string of poor results with Team Melli.

The 65-year-old Croat had recently said he would prefer to work as a club coach but the Iranian football federation has reportedly agreed with Ivankovic.

The Iranian delegation will travel to Zagreb on Monday to hold meeting with the former Persepolis coach.

Under guidance of Wilmots, Iran have suffered back-to-back defeats against Bahrain and Iraq in the 2022 World Cup qualification.

Team Melli sit in third place in Group C with six points, five points adrift of leaders Iraq.  

Iran will entertain Hong Kong on March 26, 2020 and meet Cambodia in an away match five days later.

Iran national football team will also have two tough matches against Bahrain and Iraq in June.

Team Melli must win all four matches to book a place in the 2022 World Cup qualification final stage.

Likewise, the fact Wilmots has three years to run on his contract is a major factor given he will be entitled to a huge cash settlement if he is sacked and the Iranian federation has a difficult task ahead.  

Ivankovic led Persepolis to the Iranian domestic treble last season but left the team after they failed to pay him his salary and his condition to return to Iran is to receive his wages in full.

The 65-year-old coach led Iran to gold medal in the 2002 Asian Games and won a bronze medal with Team Melli in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup in China.

The Croat coached Iran at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where the Persian failed to qualify for the next stage after losing to Mexico and Portugal. Team Melli drew with Angola in the competition.

In an interview with Tehran Times, Ivankovic said that he doesn’t know anything about the ongoing situation.

But a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia Mohammad Reza Sadegh has fueled rumors of a possible return to Iran.

The spokesperson of football federation has also neither confirmed nor denied the media reports.


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