AP – Carlos Queiroz is ready to sign a new contract with Iran until the end of the 2019 Asian Cup, providing he receives an assurance of full support from the country’s soccer federation.
The former Real Madrid head coach took control of Iran in 2011 but since just missing out on the second round of the 2018 World Cup, a first successive appearance at the tournament in the country’s history, the two parties have been unable to agree a new deal.
“During this period, I have had a number of opportunities from around the world but I never closed the door on Iran,” Queiroz, who was linked to various national team jobs including South Korea, Algeria and Mexico, told Associated Press. “I need to be sure that the federation will fully support preparation for the 2019 Asian Cup.”
Iran is Asia’s number one ranked team according to FIFA but has not been continental champion since 1976. With the tournament taking place in United Arab Emirates in January, Iran is regarded as a front-runner and has been drawn with Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen in Group D.
“I am going to Tehran on Friday according to previous conversations which said that the conditions will be in place for the Asian Cup, “Queiroz added. “If I didn’t believe all would be ready then I would not travel but I trust I can sign a new contract.”
“My specific conditions are guaranteed financial support and total commitment to Asian Cup preparations. We can’t make the mistakes as in the past.”
During his seven-year tenure in Tehran, Queiroz has repeatedly voiced his dissatisfaction over a lack of training camps and friendly games.
The Portuguese tactician believes that had preparations for the 2018 World Cup had been better then Iran would have collected more than four points against Morocco, Spain and Portugal, thereby progressing to the second round.
“Everyone has a clear image on our strong performances in Russia,” said the 65 year-old. “Few however know the difficulties we faced, the games that were canceled and that we started our preparation camp with no players. I can’t pretend this didn’t happen.”
“We were a small step from the second round, and I can feel in my stomach that the difference between where we finished and the second round was exactly that camp and the three friendly games that did not happen.”
Any deal would likely be only until the end of the 24-team competition on Feb.1. “The future is not what concerns me. I could have signed four year contracts with others teams,” the former Portugal boss added. “I want to win the Asian Cup but it will not be easy. It will be a big challenge and we all need to work together.”