From “Guerlain” Lyon to “Al Thumama” Doha. Iran-USA match anniversary
Today, Tuesday, November 29, we are going to a great and historic sports event, the Iran-USA match! This event reminds me of the match between these two countries in the World Cup (June 21) 1998 at Guerlain Stadium in Lyon, France.
And that match, which was called “the mother of all matches” and “the most political match in the history of the World Cup”, ended with a 2-1 victory for Iran and it was the first victory of this national team in the history of the World Cup.
The story of my memory is that during the years of my cultural mission in Qatar (1997-2003), many great and historic cultural events took place in various fields, one of which was the invitation and hosting of “Seyed Mohammad Hossein Tabatabaei”, an Iranian child teacher and Hafiz Qur’an, and the second was that soccer match, which happened to coincide with us.
The first event was one of the unique events that took place in the field of religious relations and interaction with the states of the Persian Gulf. Muhammad Husayn was a six-year-old child at that time, i.e. 18 Muharram 1419. His arrival came with many problems. Because of his youth, his parents had to accompany him. Father has imposed difficult conditions for his presence and participation, and of course he is right. In the end, all conditions were accepted after intensive negotiations.
According to the agreement, he was officially invited by the famous Qatari sports club Al-Arabi, which was the largest sports club in Qatar, and it also had an important cultural department.
At the beginning, the members of the Doha Youth Association, who did not believe in the existence of such a phenomenon, were told about Muhammad Hussein’s personality, stature, age and technical abilities, but in the end, due to their trust in me, they agreed to my proposal and the invitation was extended. and Muhammad Hussein came to Qatar to stay there for an exciting week.
From entry to exit, it was the first news of the Qataris. Newspaper headlines were devoted to him even before his arrival in Doha: “The great pride of Iran soon in Doha (Al-Sharq)”, “Welcoming the Iranian child prodigy at the airport in Doha” (Al-Raya); “Iran’s child prodigy has arrived in Doha” (Al Sharq); These words and addresses continued even after he left Doha. He was greeted by a crowd of people at the Qatar airport. The entire transport system in the city was disrupted. Even Qatari officials discussed the plans and programs of its activities.
Of course, the sporting aspect of this event was more colorful due to the location and prestige of the host institution.
In one of his programs, which was held in the sports hall of the Arab Club, in addition to the stands, chairs were also arranged on the floor of the hall, which was filled, and the program was organized as a day for women. and a day for men. Since its inception, the place has never seen such a crowd!
Mr. Al-Enezi, the famous captain of the Qatar national football team, as (Ali Dayi) was the captain of our country’s national team in those years, also came to the hotel where this child was staying and presented him with the shield of the Al-Rayyan club and a jersey with the number 9 Qatar national teams as well as a special gift. After this meeting, the first sports news in the newspaper was titled “Miracle and Al-Anzi” and “Al-Anzi went to meet Dr. Muhammad Hussein (child prodigy) at the hotel where he was staying.”
But that was not the whole story!
The important thing about this event is that long before the match between Iran and America, there was a wide enthusiasm for this game among Iranians living in Qatar, Qataris themselves and Arabs in the region.
An unprecedented atmosphere was created around this sporting event. This match became a kind of honor for Iran and America, and fans of the Islamic Republic of all political, religious and ethnic persuasions were very worried about the outcome of the match and the possible defeat of the Iranian team. They wished for the victory of the national team of our country, for them it was not only a sports problem, because the victory or defeat of the Iranian national team would not affect the conditions in which the national team of Qatar and other Arab national teams play, but they saw the problem in the context of the conflict between the Islamic Republic and the United States American States. In fact, this fever and anxiety was rooted in everyone’s hatred of America. The atmosphere was so heavy and full of incitement that at the first press conference of Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Tabatabaei, who attended the Iran-USA match, journalists asked him to speculate on the outcome of the match.
Muhammed Husein, whose answers were always from the Qur’an, and reciting verses only from the words of God, his immediate answer was the verse “The Romans are defeated”!
This response became the headline of most Qatari newspapers the next day. And for the people of that region, considering their acquaintance with Muhammad Hussein, this answer was very reassuring for them.
On the day of the match, the city was locked down, vehicle traffic on the streets was significantly reduced, and the calmness of the city due to the football match was visible and noticeable. During the match, Dr. Hamad Al-Kuwari, who was an influential cultural figure in Qatar and was the Minister of Culture in that country for many years, and is now the Minister Advisor and head of the National Library of this country, and we had some good friendship, called me on the phone. The result of the match up to that moment was tied with a goal for both teams! Very upset and worried, he said, “Dr. Abbas! The outcome of this game is not important. What should we do if this game goes against the saying ‘child prodigy’?”
Al-Kuwari continued anxiously: Abbas, tell me what to do? He was very concerned about the failure of Muhammad Hussain’s prediction and the negative effects of this possible failure. I hesitated to answer and said, “No! God willing, we will get the desired result!! You pray.” He also said that we should all pray and pray. We finished the match in a tense atmosphere due to the serious conflict between Iran and America and against the backdrop of Muhammad Hussein’s predictions, and Iran won 2-1. This victory and the realization of Syed Muhammad Hussein’s prediction made the “child miracle” even more of a “miracle”.
Jaber Al-Harami, a journalist for the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan, addressed this issue in an article entitled “The Romans are outnumbered.” When he was asked what his expectations were for the outcome of the Iran-American match, he immediately replied: “The Romans won.” When asked who are the Romans? He replied: America.. When will this rum finally be defeated? And break her thorn? Has her authority disappeared?
Al-Harami continues: “Yesterday’s edition of the newspaper described the match as a victory (of the underdog) over (the Great Satan), indicating the public enmity and hatred of the Arab and Islamic nations towards the Great Satan, i.e. America.”
At the same meeting, answering a question about the US occupation of Iraq, Alam Al-Huda described America as the Great Satan and called on the Palestinians to continue on the path of uprising. Newspapers quoted these statements about him in various headlines.
In any case, Iran’s victory disrupted the city’s conditions, and Iranians living in Qatar took to the streets and began carnivals and joyous celebrations with trumpets and Iranian flags. The Qataris were also looking forward to this carnival on the street, and their youth joined the Iranians and there was double happiness and joy in the city.
We hope that this very resonant and enthusiastic movement will be repeated, as well as in the virtual space, tomorrow with the great efforts of our players in “Al-Thumam” in Doha and with the encouragement, prayers and supplications of our compatriots, so that this impressive result will remain forever recorded in the history of our country.
Written by Iranian academic and researcher Dr. Abbas Khamat Yar