Qotbi: S. Africa will host Iran

PTV - Iran's newly-appointed soccer manager Afshin Qotbi has said South Africa should prepare itself to host Iran in the 2010 World Cup.

"South Africa should prepare itself to host the Iranian soccer squad," Qotbi said in an interview with Fars news agency.

"I will do my best to fulfill my ambition to take Iran to the 2010 World Cup," he added.

"I hope I could be a soldier for Iran," the 45-year-old Iranian American coach explained.

According to Iranian media, the former Persepolis manager will have an Iranian and two Dutch assistants.

Qotbi is expected to arrive in the Iranian capital Tehran on Thursday to steer the Iranian team.

Ghotbi has extensive national team experience as an assistant coach with the United States and South Korea, where he worked under Dutch coaches Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and Pim Verbeek.

He has coached the Iranian team Persepolis and was second in charge of Los Angeles Galaxy and South Korea's Suwon Bluewings.

On Tuesday, Iran's Football Federation (IFF) appointed Qotbi to replace Mohammad Mayelikohan who resigned from his post as Iran's manager over the controversies he caused by writing an open letter scornful of Iranian football figures.

Iran's former manager Ali Daei was sacked after his side suffered a 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia at Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

Iran, which is in Group B of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers along with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the UAE and North Korea, will clash with North Korea in its next match on June 6.

South Korea currently leads the group on 11 points, one point ahead of North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Iran sits fourth with six points, while the UAE is at the bottom of the group with only one point.

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