Former TM forward Bayatinia hits out at FFIRI over apparent sacking of Skocic

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Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Former Iran national football team player, Mohsen Bayatinia, hit out at Iran football federation officials for sacking Iran head coach Dragan Skocic.

The Iranian national team are experiencing sporting problems less than five months before the start of the World Cup in Qatar after the federation announced the dismissal of the Croatian coach.

The Technical Committee of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) found Skocic ineligible to lead Iran at the 2022 World Cup.

“What was wrong with Skocic?” asks Bayatinia in his interview with Tehran Times.

“Why did they suddenly attack and criticize him? Why did federation sack him?”

“You never see a similar thing in any other country in the world that they fire the head coach of a national team with no apparent reason just a few months before the World Cup.

“He took the responsibility of coaching the team in a very critical situation and led Iran to the World Cup with outstanding results. Skocic’s numbers had been positive during his short campaign. It was and still is his right to sit on the bench of the Iranian team in Qatar 2022,” added the former player of Esteghlal.

Skocic arrived in early February 2020 to replace the Belgian coach Mark Wilmots.

The 53-year-old coach won 15 of the 18 games on the bench, making it through the second round of Asian qualifiers and the final stage to lead Iran to their sixth World Cup (third in a row).

“If Skocic is not on Iran’s bench, then the head coach of the National Team should be an Iranian coach and no one else,” the former Esteghlal forward stated.  

“I’ve heard the names of the candidates proposed for leading the national team through the media. I think that Javad Nekonam, Ali Daei, and Amier Ghalenoi are good coaches, and there is not much difference between them to replace Skocic,” Bayatinia concluded.

Iran football team are pitted against England, Wales, and the U.S. in Group B. The ‘Persian Leopards’ will make their World Cup debut on Nov. 21 against England.

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