On 2 March 2008, Iran ended their lengthy search for a new manager with the surprise appointment of international football's all-time leading scorer Ali Daei. Although he presided over only 24 matches, he is sixth in the list of Iran's longest-tenured managers.
Daei's appointment came as part of Iran's efforts to replace their longest-tenured manager Branko Ivanković, who coached the team for 42 matches, winning 29. Although the Croatian was popular with fans for his success, he was not favored by the Iranian government, who preferred to have an Iranian national in the position. So when the government eventually succeeding in removing Ivanković, along with the head of the Iranian football federation, after the 2006 World Cup, they went through three other Iranian-born managers before eventually picking Daei in 2008.
At the time of his selection, Daie, who had scored a world-best 109 international goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006, was in his second season in charge of Iranian club Saipa FC. He finished that season out for Saipa while taking on the additional responsibility of managing Iran.
Ironically, Daie's national sides had difficulty scoring, resulting in their failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. That resulted in his removal from the post after just over one year, despite a record of 16 wins and 6 draws in 25 matches. His win record of 64% is the best percentage among Iranian managers with more than 10 matches in charge.