Unsuccessful Portuguese coaches in Iran football

Unsuccessful Portuguese coaches in Iran football

When it comes to the playing style in world football, Portugal is considered one of the most influential countries in football history.

However, most of the Portuguese coaches, who managed teams in Iranian football, have underperformed at both club and national team levels.

Ricardo Sa Pinto, current head coach of Esteghlal club, is the latest unsuccessful Portuguese coach in Iran. Sa Pinto took charge of the Iranian giants in June 2022 but has failed to live up to expectations. He is now on the verge of being sacked by the club directors.

Carlos Queiroz is the most famous name among the Portuguese coaches who have worked in Iran. He led Iran's national team in two stints, from 2011 to 2019 when he was sacked by the Iranian football federation and then was rehired by Iran ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He led Iran to two straight World Cups (2014 and 2018) but in general failed to make splash as Team Melli coach. Iran, under his tutelage, failed to qualify for the group stage in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, 2018 in Russia, and 2022 in Qatar.

The Portuguese coach also was unsuccessful in two rounds of the 2015 and 2019 AFC Asian Cups in Australia and the UAE.

Queiroz recorded the worst defeat in the history of Iranian football in the 2022 World Cup against England.

Among the Portuguese coaches who have managed Iranian clubs we can refer to these names:

Tony Oliveira (Tractor), Jose Alberto Costa (Sanat Naft), Acácio Casimiro (Sanat Naft, two spells), Manuel Jose (Persepolis), Augusto Inacio (Foolad), Nelo Vingada (Persepolis, Iran U23 team) and Paulo Sergio (Sanat Naft).

Tony Oliviera sat on the bench of tractors at two stints and created good memories for the football fans in Tabriz. He put the Tractor team on the verge of winning the Iran Professional League, but he lost the cup on the last matchday, due to strange events. Oliveira also awarded a Hazfi Cup trophy to Tractor fans to become one of the most popular coaches in Tabriz's football history.

But most of the above-mentioned coaches had not a successful record in Iranian clubs.

Ricardo Sá Pinto and José Morais were appointed as coaches of Esteghlal and Sepahan respectively at the beginning of this season.

The pair certainly brought a wealth of international experience from their careers. Sá Pinto has worked in Serbia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Poland, Brazil, and Turkey, as well as coaching Sporting, Braga, Belenenses, and Moreirense in his homeland. Sá Pinto only won the Belgian Cup with Standard Liege in 2017/18.

Morais has enjoyed spells as Mourinho’s assistant at Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Chelsea, while his solo ventures have taken him to Germany, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Yemen, Turkey, Greece, England, Ukraine, and South Korea, where Morais won the K-League back-to-back with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The 56-year-old also won trophies in Saudi Arabia, as well as lifting the Tunisian title with Espérance Tunis in 2009.

Not everyone’s belief in Morais has gone so far in the Sepahan club, but things didn’t go quite as well as expected at Esteghlal for Sa Pinto and he has already been added to the collection of “the unsuccessful Portuguese coaches” in Iran.