Iran name Clemente as coach
Iran on Thursday named Spaniard Javier Clemente as their new national football coach, ending months of uncertainty over who would take charge of one of the sport's powerhouses in Asia.
Clemente, who was sacked as Serbia coach last month after failing to lead the team to the Euro 2008 finals, was awarded a three-year contract through to 2011.
"Clemente has signed a three-year contract with the federation and based on the contract he will be Iran's national team coach until 2011," Iranian Football Federation (FFI) official Mehdi Taj was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
"He will be in Tehran on January 30 to observe the Iranian side taking on Costa Rica and probably will stay for Iran versus Syria," Taj said in reference to Iran's preliminary match for the 2010 South Africa World Cup.
Taj, who confirmed that the Spaniard would receive a salary of around 30,000 euros a month, said the appointment was made solely on experience.
"We had three criteria in mind: the coach must have managed a team in the World Cup, secondly coached a high-ranking national team and thirdly a world-class club. Clemente has all three qualifications."
In addition to having coached Serbia, Clemente led his former club Athletic Bilbao to two Spanish La Liga titles and manager of Spain during both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and during Euro 1996.
Iran have been in lacklustre form since being bundled out of the 2006 World Cup in the first round, despite boasting stars who play in European leagues.