Although football is just a popular match, maybe an absorbing, enjoyable hobby in your country, it gives Iranians a sense of identity! And by identity, I mean as an Iranian I have a known religion, a country, I accept a political party and and finally I am a specific team’s supporter, either from a domestic football team, or a European one. As Iranians we must have an opinion about the best football player or last TV show that has recently interpreted a football match! Otherwise we have a very dark evening among friends or cousins.
Mentioning this brief introduction, you might now figure out the attempts of Iranians for disrupting their opponents’ sleep before the game in Saransk during world cup 2018. Or find out why when a match is taking place, no matter in the center of a European developed country, or an extremely remote island in Africa, you could observe thousands of fans chanting Iran’s name over and over again.
While football itself has a history for centuries, it was first trained for the first time in 1921 in Iran but considering this much of enthusiasm, I sometimes feel that they were Iranians who standardized this game!
A motivation for nationalism
In fact not only football, but also every single sport that is played at national/international level and it can remind us that we could be a united nation, have a very noticeable effect on us, even if it’s wrestling or Wheelchair Fencing during Paralympics Games.
Taking a look at Iran’s history highly clarify that Iranians have gone through a rough patch during the last century. Different political conflicts have arisen from suppression and regime changes throughout history. Especially after revolution, serious difference of opinions has emerged over governing the country, so sports at national level are golden opportunities to forget about all unnerving experiences and feel that they are just like other ordinary people around the world. In fact, when the national interests flag up, the majority of Iranians around the world prefer to forget policy and focus on the country, itself.
In such a condition, with such a background, if we win, we are on the clouds and if the team loses, we are all depressed for days!
Although all international sporting competitions are important to us, it seems that football is counted as our reputation and losing a match equals to losing our public reputation. That’s why during derbies –specifically- between Esteghlal and Persepolis, hundreds of policemen surround the Azadi Stadium. Just imagine if one of the rivals loses his reputation! Ouch! Nobody would like to see those tear-stained faces on the one hand and the grinning ones who express arrogance on the other hand.