News ID: 324369
Published: 1028 GMT October 01, 2022

Nekounam rules out joining Queiroz staff for World Cup

Nekounam rules out joining Queiroz staff for World Cup

Sports Desk

Foolad Khuzestan head coach Javad Nekounam dismissed joining Iran’s coaching staff for the FIFA World Cup – starting Nov. 20 in Qatar.

When Carlos Queiroz took over from Croatian Dragan Skocic on Iran’s bench in early September – three years after parting ways with the country – he made it clear that his only choice for the Iranian assistant role would be Nekounam, who played as the team captain under the Portuguese during his previous eight-year spell.

Mehdi Taj, the president of the Iranian Football Federation, also said he would be looking to appoint Nekounam as the head coach for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, once Queiroz’s temporary contract ends by the end of the tournament in Qatar.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Persian Gulf Pro League encounter against Mes Kerman, the 42-year-old manager said he would prefer to see out his contract at the southern Iranian club.

“I signed a two-year extension with Foolad last year and I want to stay committed to my deal,” said Nekounam, who has a record 151 caps for Iran under his belt.

“I’ve had offers from other teams before but I feel indebted to Foolad. I have an unbreakable bond with the fans here and I’m not going to upset them,” added Nekounam.

The Iranian was still full of gratitude for Queiroz for offering him the job.

“When a great manager speaks highly of you and even chooses you as his assistant, it brings you a lot of credit in world football,” said Nekounam, who was part of Queiroz’s staff during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“Working alongside him is like learning coaching lessons at the best universities. I’m so grateful to him and can only wish him the best of success [at the World Cup].”

Iran opens its campaign in Qatar against England on November 21 before taking on Wales and USA in Group B.


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