Iran coach Clemente says sole focus is on soccer, not politics

Newly appointed Iran coach Javier Clemente said he is not concerned with the country's political situation, and that his sole aim is to get the team to qualify for the World Cup. "Russians, Chinese, communists, capitalists, blacks or whites are all the same to me. I'm a soccer coach and I don't understand, nor want to understand, anything else," Clemente was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of Spanish sports daily AS. "I'm going there to try to qualify Iran for the 2010 World Cup and I couldn't give a hoot about anything else." Clemente announced the agreement with the Iranian soccer federation late Monday from the northern Spanish city of Bilbao, close to the town of Zarautz where he lives. No financial details were disclosed. Clemente coached Spain from 1992-1998 and Serbia during the past two years. He left the Serbia post last December after failing to qualify for the European championship. With Iran, he replaces Amir Ghalenoei, who led the team until it was eliminated from the Asian Cup quarterfinals in July. Iran is in a World Cup qualifying group with Kuwait, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.