Publishe Date: 11:56 AM - 3/2/2018 | Print

Looking Iran’s Soccer With Schäfer’s Eyes; Victorious Derby Man

Culture - Farhad Eshvandi: Winfred Schaefer, the victorious Derby man, says his team was struggling with stress otherwise they could have beaten Persepolis with more differences. He who was blamed at the time of his arrival for aging and accused of not having enough motivations, now breathtakingly has made a revolution in Esteqlal team. I asked him some questions about his Derby victory which you read.

It’s your second experience in Derby. For the first one you wasn’t in harmony with the team and players, you have promised the next Derby will be different and now it was really different. Talk about your triumph

I was in harmony with the players, we just had only two, three weeks of training, we just got started. This derby showed we’re on a very good way and made already important steps. It was the performance of a brave, skilled and passionate football team. And the wonderful truth is, it’s still only the beginning, we could be even better if we would have more time in the future.


These days you are exciting your players with “you and us together”. In these weeks Esteghlal plays really differently from the past. Fans are so hopeful for the future. Can you get the revenge of the last Derby? Because your team has lost Persian Gulf Cup. Derby will be the best gift that you can give to fans.

You always need to see were you started, to judge success. This is, beside of Thiam the same team that you saw six month ago, when everybody was very disappointed. Now all of Asia writes about the spirited, wonderful new style of Esteghlal. We’re number one in our champions’ league group. In Europa people suddenly talk about us. We’re number three in the league and we’re in the cup final. That’s great and I know the fans are happy about that.


In the history foreign coaches were not successful in Esteghlal. Many of the critics believed you are not like your past. You are not excited as past. But now you made changes and your team play very well. How you see your future in Iran and Esteghlal?

I think many of my critics didn’t follow my work. Where ever I worked, my team development was outstanding and my staff and I improved the team in a way that nobody expected. In Jamaica, my last team before Esteghlal, we won the Caribbean Cup and were runners up in the Gold Cup, the equivalence to Asian Cup. Jamaica a country with three million people kicked out the USA in the USA. The heads of UEFA and AFC congratulated us personally. My players were hired by top clubs and we were featured by the FIFA as an example for best development and improvement. As I said, I can’t take this criticism serious. My future will be wonderful. I’ll work with a great staff and I’ll play great football with a great team. Will that be in Iran? I don’t know yet.

 

During these days you endured a lot of hardship. Financial problems, the accident for the Ghaedi and the last one was the injury for Padovani. But the team still goes in the way. I want to know your opinion about all this problems.

We work under very though conditions, that’s true. It’s not easy, it cost incredible amounts of time and it’s frustrating sometimes, but we keep fighting and we never give up. It’s just the way it is. Could things be better? More professional ? Of course, but many things must change to make a difference and it seems we don’t have enough time now. Beside of the many problems, we witnessed also these two personal tragedies. Please understand, we’re all very close, team and staff are very close, like a family. I hope and I pray that both Ghaedi and Pado get better, that’s most important. The situation with Pado reminded me of my player Vivian Foe. It was a shock again and I’m so thankful that it turned out better than back then.


After that the club was not successful to sign with new players, you were almost disappointed. But now you have Thiam in your squad and players like Daryoush, Farshid, Roozbeh, Server and… are shining again. It’s your effect on the team?

It’s the result of our hard work. We were shining before Thiam and now Thiam helps to improve the players even more. That’s why I refused to get just some mediocre player. Esteghlal needs very good players, to help the other players, our very talented players to show their potential.
 

When you signed as the manager, team was full of many challenges. The challenge between Rahmati and Jabbari with the club or Farhad Majidi’s Criticisms out of the team. How you managed all these challenges?

I’m honest, I work hard and I have the best staff possible. Not only Sascha, Jiri and Miguel, but also Bijan, Ashkan, Mohammad Zarandi and for example our massage therapist Amir who now also substitutes very well as fitness coach.

 

You were a popular person for fans from the first day. Your acts during coaching your team or your connections with them in social media; they can be the reasons of your connection with fans. You weren’t afraid that it could hurt the connection?

I’m honest and I believe in transparency. It is important for the fans to be close to us and I want to give them that. I would even want to explain more to the fans, but it’s difficult with this club.


And my last question is about Branko. During the season you were angry about his words about djebarov. You didn’t expect him. Is it true?

I wasn’t angry I was disappointed.
 

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