I had some free time this week and I went to Glendale to have lunch with Garnik Mehrabian and Karo Haghverdian.
Garnik is a former manager of Ararat Tehran, Machine Sazi, and Iran U20. Karo played for Ararat Tehran under the guidance of Mehrabian and Karo made a name for himself playing for Taj (Esteghlal) and Team Melli in the 1970s.
It was great to catch up with Garnik and Karo because it is always fun learning more about Team Melli history.
From 1969 to 1970, Iran was coached by Zdravko Rajkov, a former Yugoslavian footballer who played in the 1958 World Cup.
Rajkov is credited with changing Iranian football because he helped develop famous Iranian footballers such as Nasser Hejazi and Hassan Rowshan.
The Yugoslav footballer of Serbian origin also brought different techniques to Iran as well as different formations.
I did not know much about Rajkov before meeting with Garnik and Karo, but it was cool learning how Rajkov helped Iranian football coaches with player development and this is something that cannot be ignored when talking about the history of Iranian football.
Zdravko Rajkov was also manager of Taj from 1969 to 1976 and he had a close bond with Karo Haghveridan.
Rajkov passed away in 2006 at the age of 78.