Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C.

Esteghlal Khuzestan Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال استقلال خوزستان, Bašgâh-e Futbâl-e Esteqlâl-e Xuzestân), commonly known as Esteghlal Khuzestan, is an Iranian football club based in Ahvaz, Iran. The club currently competes in the Azadegan League after being relegated from Persian Gulf Pro League in the 2018–19 season.

Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C.
Esteghlal Khuzestan FC logo.png
Full nameEsteghlal Khuzestan Football Club
Nickname(s)Âbihai-ye Jinub (Southern blues)
Founded2011; 12 years ago (2011)
GroundTakhti Stadium (Ahvaz)
OwnerIran National Steel Industrial Group
ManagerSirous Pourmousavi
LeagueAzadegan League
2021–22Azadegan League, 13th
WebsiteClub website
Current season

This football club is different from Esteghlal Ahvaz.[1] In 2011 they bought Esteghlal Jonub's licence to compete in the Azadegan League. They finished 2012–13 season in 2nd place of their group and qualified to the promotion play-off. However, they were awarded the direct promotion IRIFF after group's winner, Shahrdari Tabriz's relegation due to match-fixing. They won the Persian Gulf Pro League title in 2015–16 season.


Founding and early yearsEdit

Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C. was established just before the start of the 2011–2012 season by acquiring the license of Esteghlal Jonub Tehran F.C. who has just been promoted to the Azadegan League (Iran's 1st division). After an average 6th-place finish in the team's inaugural year in the Azadegan League in 2011–2012, the next season (2012–13) turned out to be a different year, with a 2nd-placed finish in group B, the club was promoted to the Iran Pro League for the first time in their history.

Promotion to the Pro LeagueEdit

In Esteghlal Khuzestan's first year in the top flight, it finished 12th, escaping relegation play-off by better goal difference. In the Hazfi Cup Esteghlal Khuzestan exited the competition in the Round of 32 after a shock defeat to Azadegan League side Alvand Hamedan. Esteghlal finished the 2014–15 season 14th, meaning it would have to play in a relegation play-off against the winner of the Azadegan League promotion play-off winner. Esteghlal Khuzestan defeated Mes Kerman 3–0 on aggregate meaning it had secured a spot in the 2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League season.

2015–16 seasonEdit

Esteghlal Khuzestan players celebrating after winning league title in 2015–16 season

Before the start of the 2015–16 season Esteghlal Khuzestan signed many of Foolad Novin's players and was a major surprise, as it started well in the season. Esteghlal Khuzestan had four consecutive winning streak at the 12th week, which made Esteghlal Khuzestan finished champion of the first half of the season.[2][3] After a great result with Abdollah Veisi, Esteghlal Khuzestan managed to keep its shape at the second half of the season. On January 1, 2016 Esteghlal Khuzestan lost to Persepolis which made the race tighter for first place, and also made Esteghlal Khuzestan fall to second place, Esteghlal became first after 17th week. The head coach Abdollah Veisi later said that their main goal was to take place at AFC Champions League.[4] Esteghlal Khuzestan qualified to the AFC Champions League on 8 May, for the first time in its history. Esteghlal Khuzestan won the league title on 13 May after a 2–0 win over Zob Ahan.


Following a poor start to the following season, 6 points were deduced from Esteghlal Khuzestan by FIFA. Dariush Yazdi was sacked and Karim Boostani replaced the coach. Results ultimately did not improve under Boostani and he was replaced with Mohammad Alavi. Esteghlal Khuzestan were relegated from the Persian Gulf Pro League to Azadegan League on 3 May 2019, after a 4–2 loss to Esteghlal.


After the takeover of the club in 2011, the club played its home matches in Ahvaz's Takhti Stadium. After the club promoted to the Iran Pro League, it was decided that club continuing to play at Takthi, while big games like Persepolis, Esteghlal and Foolad playing at newly built Ghadir Stadium. In 2015, the club moved to Ghadir permanently, as city rivals Foolad set to move to its private ground.


The team competes in Ahvaz derby against two-times Iran Pro League winner Foolad. The teams play against each other usually two times a year. The first time the teams met each other was in season 2013–14 which Esteghlal Khuzestan lost that game.

The derby became more Serious after Esteghlal Khuzestan finished on top of the league in 2015–16 half season in a big surprise for all teams and the week performance of Foolad. Because of Foolad fans as they were worried about becoming the second team of Ahvaz and since then the derby is more important than it used to be.


Domestic competitionsEdit




The table below shows the achievements of the club in various competitions.

Season League Position Hazfi Cup Asia Notes
2011–12 Azadegan League 6th Round of 32 Did not qualify
2012–13 2nd Round of 32 Promoted
2013–14 Persian Gulf Pro League 12th Round of 32
2014–15 14th Round of 16 Relegation play-off
2015–16 1st Round of 16 Super Cup
2016–17 7th Round of 32 Round of 16
2017–18 12th Semi-Final Did not qualify
2018–19 16th Round of 8 Relegated

Continental recordEdit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2017 AFC Champions League Group B   Al-Fateh 1–0 1–1 2nd
  Al-Jazira 1–1 0–1
  Lekhwiya 1–1 2–1
Round of 16   Al-Hilal 1–2 1–2 2–4


First-team squadEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   IRN Mohammadreza Ghavidel
2 DF   IRN Jalal Abdi
3 MF   IRN Alireza Daghagheleh
4 DF   IRN Mohammad Bakhtiari
6 MF   IRN Hossein Bahrami
7 MF   IRN Milad Safaei
8 MF   IRN Masoud Asadi
9 FW   IRN Ramin Davoodi
10 FW   IRN Farshad Janfaza (Captain)
14 DF   IRN Mohanad Heydari
15 FW   IRN Amir Hossein Navaei
No. Pos. Nation Player
17 MF   IRN Behrouz Barani
21 MF   IRN Sajad Khaledi
23 DF   IRN Hassan Moavei
28 DF   IRN Ali Khanifar
36 DF   IRN Behrouz Afshar
40 DF   IRN Ali Helichi
66 MF   IRN Ali Badavi
77 FW   IRN Hassan Nemati
78 MF   IRN Reza Marvani

For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers winter 2018–19.


Coaching staffEdit

Staff[5] Name
Head coach   Amir khalife asl
Assistant coach   Behrouz Makvandi
Goalkeeping coach   Karim Boostani
Fitness coach   Rafael Bispo
International manager   Behdad Bayat
Doctor   Jalal Heydari
Physiotherapist   Sadegh Norouzi
Analyzer   Habib Eslami
B Team Manager   Behrouz Makvandi
Team Manager   Afshin Komaei

List of managersEdit

Period Name G W D L GF GA GD Honours
2011–2013   Majid Bagherinia 52 22 15 15 52 41 +11 Promotion to the Persian Gulf Cup
2013–2016   Abdollah Veisi 132 55 47 30 142 131 +21 Azadegan League
Persian Gulf Pro League
2016–2017   Sirous Pourmousavi 30 10 11 9 36 34 +2
2017–2018   Abdollah Veisi 30 8 10 12 29 36 -7
2018   Dariush Yazdi 12 2 4 6 8 18 -10
2018–2019   Karim Boostani 8 0 2 6 5 11 -6
2019   Karim Ghanbari (caretaker) 4 1 0 3 3 6 -3

2020 |  Amir khalife asl (caretaker)

Players in International TournamentsEdit

Players who were a member of their national team at International Competitions while playing for Esteghlal Khuzestan.

Cup Players
  2015 Africa Cup of Nations   Soumbeïla Diakité

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ اهواز صاحب دومین استقلال شد/ امتیاز استقلال جنوب به اهواز انتقال یافت (in Persian). 2011-07-31. Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  2. ^ "استقلال خوزستان چگونه قهرمان نیم فصل شد؟".
  3. ^ "استقلال خوزستان قهرمان نیم فصل شد". 18 December 2015.
  4. ^ "ویسی: طالب لو فوق العاده بود".
  5. ^ "اعلام رقم قرارداد بازیکنان و کادر فنی استقلال خوزستان". 22 July 2014.

External linksEdit