With relations between Western powers and Iran currently shaky at best, you’d figure few Europeans willing to take employment in the Moslem country – but don’t count Memi Becirovic, former coach of Slovenia youth teams, Team Slovenia’s 2010 FIBA World Championship entry and Unicaja Malaga, among ‘em. Becirovic will head up the Middle East country’s squad beginning in April; Team Iran experienced a bit of a backslide in 2011, when the side could not threepeat its run of biennial FIBA Asia Championships.
Official story from FIBA follows.
(FIBA) – Iran will look to make it back to the top in Asian basketball with former Slovenia coach Memi Becirovic.
Champions in 2007 and 2009, the national side came up short in its bid to win a third straight FIBA Asia title last summer when it was upset by Jordan in the quarterfinals. The federation then parted ways with coach Veselin Matic.
Iran, who confirmed the new coaching appointment on their federation website, played at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
“I accepted the offer of Iran because I found it very interesting,” Becirovic said in remarks on the Slovenian Basketball Federation website.
“I know the team because we played it twice in 2010”: Becirovic coached Slovenia against Iran at the World Championship, a game the European side won in Istanbul, 65-60.
“Asian basketball is being developed with big steps, and Iran has good conditions for training,” he said.
Becirovic is expected to leave for Iran in April.