With Quieroz as head coach, Iran unfolded new levels in the footballing industry.
Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz has emerged as a potential candidate to replace Felix Sánchez as manager of Qatar’s national football team, reports said.
Though no details have been provided, the move was first reported by Al Kass, citing sources, and was later reported by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
It came as the Qatar Football Association confirmed it came to a mutual decision with Sanchez to not renew his contract following Al Annabi’s early exit from the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Qatar lost all three matches, playing against Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands. The team became the first host nation to become the first team to exit the tournament.
“QFA and Mr. Felix Sanchez have decided together not to extend into a new contract,” the statement, titled ‘Thank You Sánchez’ said.
“After his contract finishes on December 31st, both coach Felix and the QFA have jointly decided this is a good moment to begin a new chapter,” the statement added.
QFA added it would decide on a replacement to lead the next phase of the national team shortly, however, it is unlikely that an announcement will be made prior to the conclusion of the Gulf Cup, the semi-official Iranian Tasnim News Agency and Qatari state-run Alkass Sports reported.
Sanchez held his position as manager of the Qatari team since 2017 and led Al Annabi to a historic Asian Cup win in 2019.
Who is Quieroz?
The Portuguese coach began his managing career with the Portuguese Under 20 team, which went on to win the FIFA World Youth Championships in 1989 and 1991.
Quieroz served as the manager of renowned European teams like Real Madrid and as the assistant manager of Manchester United.
He also led various international football teams, including Portugal, South Africa, Colombia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.
During his stint in Iran, Quieroz helped Team Melli qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2015 AFC Asian Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as the most recent FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
With nearly eight years under his belt between 2011 and 2019, Queiroz is the Iran national team’s longest-tenured manager and is the only coach in Iranian history to have guided the squad to three straight World Cups.
The Portuguese manager returned to Iran for a second time to lead the Persian Leopards less than three months prior to Qatar’s World Cup.
With Quieroz as head coach, Iran unravelled new levels in its footballing record, becoming the first ranked team in Asia before dropping down a position after this year’s FIFA World Cup.
Since taking over as the national team manager of Iran, Queiroz has gained a reputation for introducing players from the Iranian diaspora to the national team, including star players Ashkan Dejagah and Iranian-Dutch Reza Ghoochannejhad.
He has emerged as an unexpected unifying figure in Iran at a time of extreme conflict and turmoil. Among the Iranian players and journalists that cover the team, Queiroz has evoked a certain degree of devotion and adoration.
At Qatar 2022, Quieroz made global headlines and earned respect in Iran for his bold statements to western media outlets at press conferences.
Iran’s national team coach responded to an ‘accusatory’ question from a UK-based reporter with a reminder of his own country’s human rights violations.
During a press conference in Qatar ahead of the World Cup kick-off, a Sky News reporter asked Queiroz if he is “okay representing a country like Iran at this World Cup that represses the rights of women?”
“How much you pay me to answer to that question?” Queiroz responded, asking the reporter to identify his employer.
As he stood up to exit the presser, Queiroz gave a last minute clap back telling the journalist to focus on the UK migrant crisis. “I think you should start to think about what happened with the immigrants in England also,” the Portuguese manager said.
The European manager has also, on multiple occasions, defended his players in a formidable manner.
Queiroz confronted a BBC journalist at the World Cup in Qatar and questioned why Gareth Southgate, his English counterpart, is not asked questions about issues like Afghanistan, after an Iranian player was badgered with political questions about the ongoing protests back home.
“I’m asking you one thing now: Why don’t you ask questions to other coaches? That’s only fair,” Queiroz was heard saying amid a crowd of reporters, directly asking BBC Persia reporter Shaimaa Khalil.
“Why don’t you ask Southgate: ‘What do you think about England and the United States that left Afghanistan and all the women alone?’”
Iran has been rocked by protests for months-long protests that were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in police custody, shifting global focus away from its performance at the World Cup.