AFC – TEHRAN, Star striker Mehdi Taremi is confident Dragan Skočić can lead Islamic Republic of Iran to success in the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Taremi, who plies his trade with Portuguese side FC Porto, believes Skočić’s knowledge of Iranian football is a huge advantage in leading Team Melli in their bid to qualify for a third consecutive FIFA World Cup.
After coaching stints in Croatia, Slovenia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Skočić moved to Iran in 2013, where he took charge of Malavan.
“Skočić has worked in Iran for many years and has a great knowledge of the Iranian players,” said Taremi to local media.
“Skočić is a coach who knows the Iranian players, their personality, behaviour, games and performance well, and has plans for each and every national team player to play and their type of performance.
“As I talked with Skočić, I realised that he was hard at work analysing and planning. I hope he succeeds, because his success brings with it the success of the Iranian national football team, and I, in turn, will spare no effort for the success of Iran.”
Since Skočić’s appointment in February, Team Melli have only played one match, a friendly against Uzbekistan that saw Sardar Azmoun and Taremi finding the back of the net in a 2-1 win.
With the Asian Qualifiers set to resume next year, Taremi is hopeful Iran can qualify for the third round with the Central Asians sitting third in Group C with six points from four matches.
Only the group winners are assured of a place in the third round of the Asian Qualifiers and Iran have it all to do in their remaining four matches, which Taremi believes is possible.
“Unfortunately, we lost to Bahrain and Iraq (in the Asian Qualifiers). I think Skocic will be successful in Iran since he knows the players very well and is a skillful coach.”