Breaking: IPL most decorated coach Amir Ghalenoei turns 57
TEHRAN – Amir Ghalenoei, who turned 57 on Saturday, may not be the biggest coach in Iran, but his importance in the football cannot be ignored.
As an 18-year-old player, Tehran-born Ghalenoei started his career in Rah Ahan in 1981 and joined Shahin just after a year to pave the way for his future successes.
After five years, he was transferred to Qatari club Al Sadd and returned to his homeland in 1989 to join Esteghlal. He became a legendary player after helping the Blues win Iranian league in1990 and Asian Club Championships in 1991. Ghalenoei’s successes continued as a coach in domestic football.
The title “General” was bestowed upon him by the Esteghlal fans due to his outstanding skills in leading their team during his career at the club.
He started his coaching career with Keshavarz in 1999 and took four years to be appointed as head coach of his most coveted team Esteghlal.
He led Esteghlal to three Iran leagues (2006, 2006 and 2013). He also won Iran league twice with Sepahan in 2010 and 2011.
Ghalenoei was appointed as Iran national team coach in July 2006 as Branko Ivankovic’s successor and coached the Persians in the 2007 Asian Cup with a golden generation of the Iranian players like Mehdi Mahdavi Kia, Javad Nekounam, Fereydoon Zandi, Ali Karimi, Andranik Teymourian and Jalal Hosseini but lost to South Korea in penalty shootout in the quarterfinals. It could be a turning point for Ghalenoei but the coach missed the golden chance.
Ghalenoei was sacked following the poor performance in Asia and took charge of Mes Kerman.
He has also coached Tractor and Zob Ahan and currently leads Gol Gohar in Iran league. However, Ghalenoei, as the most decorated coach in Iran Professional League, has not won a cup since 2013.
Ghalenoei could have achieved more but for the General it’s never too late.
In the recent years he has made controversial comments which damaged his reputation BUT Ghalenoei was born to win.