Al-Mayahi narrates to “Sky News Arabia” the identical details between the atmosphere of today’s match, and what it was like in the nineties of the last century, saying: “Exactly as today, all residents of Iraqi cities were heading to gather in public cafes, because the match was taking place in the Qatari capital, Doha, After Iraq was deprived of playing matches on its soil and among its fans.
He added: “The 1993 match against Iran was an exceptional opportunity for the Iraqis to recover from their wounds, by feeling lonely during that match against Iran, against which Iraq had fought a bloody war in the eighties, and the football confrontations between the two countries took a political character and an exceptional competition. I remember Alaa Kazem’s winning goal against Iran, and how all of Baghdad caught fire بغداد with weddings and Zagarid, and like all Iraqi cities, after long years of division and sorrows, hopes have risen to qualify for the finals. Cup of the Year which took place the following year in the United States of America.
Iraq leads the third group of these qualifiers, with a total of 17 points, ahead of Iran by two points, and this match is the eighth and last in this group, and thus needs Iraqi national team Either to win or draw in this confrontation, to ensure qualification for the Asian Cup and the final Asian qualifiers for the World Cup.
As in the match of the nineties, this meeting takes on a character and political sensitivity, due to the internal political conflict in the country Iraq, as Iran is accused of supporting Iraqi armed factionsWhich is working to suppress the demonstrations that erupted nearly two years ago, and stir up strife in the country.
Many Iraqis on social media see this match as a symbolic restitution for the millions of young Iraqis involved in this popular uprising.
The Iraqi sports critic Jaafar Essawi explained in an interview with “Sky News Arabia” the merits of this football confrontation, saying: “The football confrontations between the two teams of Iraq and Iran It takes a special character, similar to the Clasico matches that take place between the strongest clubs, as the Iraqi and Iranian teams have been the strongest in the West Asian region for decades, and each of them served as a barrier to the other in qualifying for the world championships.
Issawi added, “This does not negate the existence of political influences and cultural sensitivities due to the neighborhood and the turbulent political relations between the two countries for decades until now. In the 1990s, the two teams faced each other three times, one in the World Cup qualifiers and two in matches. Asia CupAnd the three matches are stuck in the collective memory of the Iraqis, because of the mass enthusiasm they witnessed in various regions of Iraq, although they took place outside Iraq, due to the political sanctions on Iraq at the time, and that was an additional factor for the enthusiasm, just like now.
And the expectations of observers went to balance the technical energies of the two teams, with relative superiority for the Iranian national teamAnd this was confirmed by the Slovenian coach of the Iraqi national team, Srečko Katanic, who said in a press statement: “We are waiting for an important and fateful match in the last round against Iran to resolve the top of the third group,” relying on the capabilities of the players Tariq Hammam, Alaa Abdel-Zahra and Muhannad Ali, as they face Iranian players Professionals and at a high level of team play, such as Mahdi Tarmi, Waheed Amiri and Karim Ansari.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, directed Monday, to provide all forms of support to the Iraqi national team, as the Iraqi youth minister and the famous former player in the Iraqi team, Adnan Darjal, is with the Iraqi team’s delegation in the Bahraini capital, Manama, to support the players.
وعلى Social media Many analyzes and betting groups spread about the outcome of the match, and turned into an arena for discussion and how to provide support and support to the Iraqi team, while voices opposed to diverting the course of encouragement and support to any sectarian or ethnic discourse raised the football competition from its framework and sports space.